England manager Gareth Southgate will once again read the riot act about on-field discipline among his players when they get together as a group for the first time on Saturday.
It emerged after Wednesday night’s game against Austria that Tyrone Mings had been incredibly lucky not to be sent off – or at the very least concede a penalty – in the opening exchanges.
TV replays clearly show the Aston Villa defender end the run of Sasa Kalajdzic in uncompromising fashion with either an elbow or a forearm block as the Austrian looked to make a run on goal.
Luckily for the friendly international there was no VAR, but that sort of incident in the tournament could have resulted in having to play most of the match with 10 men and a possible two-match ban for an influential player.
“Certainly we have to make sure we keep 11 men on the field at all times, because that’s been a downfall in the past,” Southgate said.
“So that’s something we’ve always discussed and it will be no different over the coming weeks.”
In actual fact the conversation will go deeper than that with so many of England’s rivals adept with set-pieces around he penalty area.
“We talk a lot about avoiding giving free-kicks away full-stop really,” Southgate added.
“You know, when you go into major tournaments, teams are so dangerous from set-plays, you have to compete. But you’ve got to make sure we avoid giving fouls away.”
Southgate will meanwhile wait until after Sunday’s game against Romania to select his final squad member after Trent Alexander-Arnold was sent home with a torn thigh muscle.
Scans showed a “grade two quad tear” in the Liverpool defender’s left thigh that will keep him out of for up to six weeks.
He has already returned to Merseyside for rehabilitation but because it is a new injury that occurred after the June 1 deadline to name the final 26-man squad, manager Gareth Southgate is allowed to draft in a replacement.
However, with the fitness of Harry Maguire, Jordan Henderson and Kalvin Phillips also in doubt – all with pre-existing injuries that would mean no replacement would be possible – Southgate will leave it until the last possible moment to make his selection.
With all changes required to be made by the start of the tournament, practically that means Sunday’s game will be a final trial for one lucky player to join the party.
MORE ENGLAND NEWS…
Liverpool star Henderson slammed over ‘selfish’ Euro 2020 decision
Jack Grealish eager to emulate David Beckham for England at Euro 2020
Eriksson surprised by one omission from Southgate’s England squad
Jesse Lingard, who was impressive against Austria, and James Ward-Prowse are the obvious front-runners.
But with so many defensive players struggling with fitness, Ben White would come into the reckoning after an impressive debut cameo as a substitute.
On the flip side, England’s toothless display may nudge Southgate towards adding Ollie Watkins to his available firepower.
Either way, it is a sad end to what had been a difficult three months for Alexander-Arnold since he was left out of the international get-together in March.
Since then, there had been intense speculation over whether the 22-year-old would make the final squad in the first place.
However, after getting the nod, in the final minute of the first warm-up game against Austria on Wednesday night, he pulled up after making a clearance and needed to be helped round the pitch and down the tunnel at the Riverside.
Harry Maguire is now part of the England set-up after the Manchester United players finally joined up after being given a break following the Europa League final and will continue to be assessed.
Additionally, Liverpool captain Henderson is causing growing concern after a set-back prevented him from playing even as a substitute against Austria.
With Kalvin Phillips also a concern it will be a nervous few days in the camp as even the specially-extended 26-man squads allowed by UEFA to combat the strains of two intense back-to-back seasons mean England are already beginning to look short of options in key areas with the opening game against Croatia at Wembley in just nine days’ time.