Indiscipline among England players is becoming a concern for Gareth Southgate.
“We’ve had an incredible chain of things to deal with,” Southgate said, reflecting on the challenges after an unwelcome landmark night in the team’s history.
Harry Maguire being red carded during the game and Reece James being dismissed for dissent after Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to Denmark meant that two England players were sent off in the same game for the first time in the team’s 148-year history.
On-field misconduct brought an end to a third consecutive gathering of the England squad and that has left Southgate grappling with off-field issues.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it took almost 10 months for the squad to gather again — and Maguire never even got to check in to the hotel.
On a farcical day at the end of August, Maguire was selected by Southgate for last month’s UEFA Nations League games even as the Manchester United captain was being tried in absentia in Greece after a holiday melee.
However, once the verdict came in hours later — he was found guilty of assaulting a police officer and attempted bribery — Maguire was dropped from the England trips to Iceland and Denmark.
It was meant to put England players on notice of the standards expected of them, but the message did not get through to Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood, who celebrated making their England debuts in Iceland by meeting up with women at their Reykjavik hotel.
Medical precautions forced Southgate to send Foden and Greenwood home — they were dropped for this month’s triple header.
Maguire’s second rash challenge, which came in the opening 30 minutes against Denmark, left England having to play most of the match with 10 players.
There was sympathy, not scorn, from Southgate.
“He is having a difficult period and in these periods, you learn a lot about yourself, you learn a lot about other people,” Southgate said. “You learn who is there for you in those difficult times. He will come through it. He will be a better player and a stronger man for it. He knows there will be criticism after this and you have to accept that.”
Neither has Maguire had an easy start to the season at Manchester United, where the world’s most expensive defender was in the lineup that lost 6-1 to Tottenham Hotspur before the international break.
Maguire must await the outcome of an appeal process against the conviction and a suspended 21-month sentence in Greece.
“He has got a little spell at the moment, where a lot of things are going against him,” Southgate said. “But he has got to show the resilience I know that he has to come through that.”
It is only a month until England plays another three games in this congested pandemic-hit season. It is an opportunity for the squad to regain its self-control.
Taiwanese swimmer Eddie Wang on Saturday broke the 200m short course butterfly world junior record at the opening meet of the International Swimming League season in Budapest, Hungary. The 18-year-old, who was representing the Cali Condors, a San Francisco-based professional swimming club, finished third in 1 minute, 50.79 seconds. Wang finished behind winner Tom Shields of the LA Current (1:50.43) and runner-up Chad le Clos of Energy Standard (1:50.48). Wang’s time broke the 2012 world junior record of 1:51.30 set by former Japanese national team captain Daiya Seto. It also broke his national record of 1:52.38, set at the 2018 FINA World Cup meeting
A team made up mostly of Guatemalans who live and work in Taiwan were on Sunday crowned winners of the women’s Copa America Taiwan soccer tournament after defeating a Paraguayan team in the final in New Taipei City. Guatemala defeated Paraguay 3-1 in a final that kept hundreds of spectators on the edge of their seats at Fu Jen Catholic University Stadium. The two teams attacked at will early in the match as both looked to take an early lead, but it was Paraguay who went in front after a cleverly worked free-kick was headed into the net. In the second half, Guatemala
GOOD NIGHT’S WORK: Cody Bellinger not only hit the go-ahead homer, he also snagged the final out when Julio Urias got Austin Riley to fly out to center field Cody Bellinger on Sunday belted a go-ahead home run and Mookie Betts made another eye-popping catch as the Los Angeles Dodgers advanced to their third World Series in the past four years with a 4-3 win over the Atlanta Braves in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series. Bellinger blasted the eventual game-winning homer in the seventh inning and Enrique Hernandez smacked a pinch-hit home run in the sixth as the Dodgers clawed their way back to win the final three games after being down 3-1 in the series. “I tried to stay within myself and I got a pitch I
Mathieu van der Poel on Sunday took the Tour of Flanders honors for the Dutch cross-code rider’s first win in one of cycling’s so-called “Monuments.” The race was overshadowed by world champion Julian Alaphilippe’s heavy fall after colliding with a motorcycle. Van der Poel had slipped away from the peloton with his great Belgian rival Wout van Aert, who like him is a three-time cycle cross world champion, and Alaphilippe forming a three-man breakaway. However, Alaphilippe crashed out of contention, leaving the duo to fight it out in a pulsating finish. “The world champion was taken to the hospital where the X-rays showed fractures