Gareth Southgate: Media put England at 'disadvantage' by publishing team sheet

England training

Who would you pick in your XI to face Panama

Southgate has reportedly been considering whether to rotate his team for the Panama match, but England have gone to great lengths to try to ensure their preparations for their World Cup opponents remain secret.

Southgate has an injury doubt over attacking midfielder Dele Alli, who picked up a thigh injury against Tunisia.

The first rule of any press conference is that the last question is often the most unsafe and, boy, was England manager Gareth Southgate served up a curveball in front of a room full of reporters and broadcasters.

Defender John Stones says England have done their homework on Panama and says it is clear where the biggest area for improvement needs to be. "I enjoy working with all of them and I'm intrigued to find out how far they can go and how well they can play".

"Being more clinical", he told reporters, "I think we know how the games are going to play out now and who we are going to play", he said.

"After you've been away a while, you're a little bit sick of certain people and less so with others".

The media scrutiny on the England team is unlike the coverage of most other teams at the World Cup and if Southgate chose to take the focus away from the players or any negative takeaways from Monday's victory over Tunisia by instructing his assistant to give photographers at the open training session a glimpse of his notes, then it could well prove to be a masterstroke.

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

"It was a bit of banter, we move on and are looking forward to the game now".

He then doubled down by claiming, "Our media has to decide if they want to help the team or not". They also appeared to show that Raheem Sterling would make way for Marcus Rashford.

"Obviously any time, if we were to give the opposition the opportunity of having our team it's a disadvantage to us", the England boss said, insisting that the piece of paper wasn't actually the starting line-up.

So he knows how Holland will be feeling right now. "The pic of the England team was taken in an OPEN training session in which photographers and cameramen are invited to take pictures".

"I was where Steve Holland was 4 years ago and you feel like you've let your team / coaching staff down", he added.

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