England’s Kyle Walker smiles as he takes part in a training session for the England team at the 2018 soccer World Cup, in the Spartak Zelenogorsk ground, Zelenogorsk near St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, June 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

After World Cup lineup photographed, England urges media to help team

Now the England camp is actually asking media: Are you with us or against us?

A photo of a scribbled team lineup, spotted in the hands of an assistant coach, threatens to sour the unusually cordial World Cup relations between the England team and its travelling media pack.

Four years after the team leadership banned reporters for snooping on closed training sessions in Brazil, the latest prying took place in open training. While counterparts had their lenses tracking the players before Sunday’s game against Panama, the London Evening Standard newspaper’s Jeremy Selywn snapped a piece of paper in the hands of Steve Holland showing players in formation.

Now the England camp is actually asking media: Are you with us or against us?

“Try to keep it to yourself and don’t bring it out to the world, because it’s not going to help us come the later stages of the tournament,” defender Kyle Walker said Friday. “You guys have to do your little bit. So if you could just please help us with that, it would be polite.”

Holland apologized to the squad at training on Friday in Repino, near St. Petersburg.

“We had a bit of banter with him about, and that was it,” Walker said. “We knocked it on the head at that.”

READ MORE: FIFA World Cup weekly roundup

The revelation was the first indication the squad had that Raheem Sterling could be dropped after struggling to make an impression in the opening win against Tunisia on Monday and Marcus Rashford could lead the attack with captain Harry Kane.

Southgate, though, wasn’t planning to disclose the starting XI until Saturday when England flies to Nizhny Novgorod to play Panama the following night.

“Obviously any time, if we were to give the opposition the opportunity of having our team, it’s a disadvantage to us,” Southgate told Talksport radio station. “So of course our media has to decide whether they want to help the team or not. Given that was just a squad list, it doesn’t make any difference to us really.”

In keeping with his relaxed persona, Southgate went on to emphasize that the incident was “no drama.”

A former England defender, Southgate has tried to reduce the friction between reporters and players by giving more access to players — even after news conferences. The squad and journalists have been competing at pub sports in Russia. That continued on Friday , with striker Jamie Vardy taking on a reporter at pool, even as the media defended the right to publish Holland’s handwritten notes.

“Let’s just be clear on one thing,” tweeted Matt Law, a football writer for the Daily Telegraph newspaper. “The pic of the England team was taken in an OPEN training session in which photographers and cameramen are invited to take pictures. You may not agree with it being published, but there was certainly no hiding in bushes.”

At the 2014 World Cup, some reporters did find vantage points in Rio de Janeiro to watch private training sessions, which irritated the then-England coaching staff, including Gary Neville.

The publication of the lineup at this tournament — even without the need for spying “undermines the relationship and trust with the team,” according to Neville, who is working in Russia as a TV pundit.

Rob Harris, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Vernon Vipers edge out Trail Smoke Eaters

Trail’s season came to an end as the Vernon Vipers won Game 7 5-2

SPCA seizes 54 animals from Vernon property

Animals weren’t receiving adequate care

Vernon politicians not all happy about possible OD prevention site

Possible Overdose Prevention Site to open in the summer of fall of 2019

Animals seized from North Okanagan property

Animals to be seized not yet confirmed

Vernon eco-friendly home tour builds support for students

Canadian Federation of University Women host fifth annual fundraiser

VIDEO: The ‘most cosmopolitan’ of butterflies could migrate to B.C.

The painted lady butterfly will likely arrive this summer from Southern California

West Kelowna acquires land for Rose Valley Water Treatment Plant

The city has acquired 24 acres on Bartley Road

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Indecent caller handed 18-month conditional sentence

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

RV lifestyle comes to the Okanagan

BC Interior RV Show returns to Penticton for the eighth year

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

Most Read