England's players will be reminded of their off-field responsibilities after spate of incidents

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England players will be reminded of their off-field responsibilities amid a growing list of incidents involving Gareth Southgate’s stars.

Three Lions boss Southgate is scheduled to name his squad for the forthcoming friendlies against Switzerland and Ivory Coast on March 17, the squad’s first get together since clinching World Cup qualification in November.

Next month’s camp will provide Southgate and his staff the opportunity to reinforce the importance the England boss places on player behaviour away from the field. 

England's players will be reminded off their off-field responsibilities after a spate of incidents

England’s players will be reminded off their off-field responsibilities after a spate of incidents

Southgate expects the highest standards of conduct, a stance he has reiterated during his reign and will do so again when his squad reconvene.

It remains to be seen if the recent spate of incidents involving his players forces Southgate into specific action regarding discipline, nevertheless it is likely to be addressed heading into next month’s international fixtures.

The news comes after footage of Phil Foden involved in a violent altercation went viral on social media on Saturday night.

The video, claimed to be filmed during the boxing clash between Kell Brook and Amir Khan, sees England and Manchester City star Foden react furiously after his mother was struck in the face by another man. 

Phil Foden was involved in an incident in which his mother was punched over the weekend

Phil Foden was involved in an incident in which his mother was punched over the weekend

It is, of course, difficult to pin much blame on Foden for his reaction. He responded in the manner you’d expect from any man faced with seeing his mother being punched.

It does, however, carry a cautionary tale for all footballers.

Modern society dictates that there will always be a trouble maker looking to goad footballers into unfavourable reactions – even better if they can record it on their phone to gain online notoriety.

Foden fell for it hook, line and sinker. Of course, Foden should be entitled to a night out with his family without the prospect of being wound up.

But, unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen. So why not take yourself out of that situation completely?

It is, obviously, a depressing thought that a high-profile footballer can’t leave the house without the fear of provocation. 

Jack Grealish was filmed coming out of a nightspot amid claims that he was intoxicated. City and Grealish strongly deny he was

Jack Grealish was filmed coming out of a nightspot amid claims that he was intoxicated. City and Grealish strongly deny he was

But ask yourself this: would you catch Harry Kane in the same situation Foden found himself?

People are different; some can’t resist a night out, others understand the benefits of taking themselves out of the limelight.

As the footage emerged of Foden’s scuffle, you’d imagine the brilliantly gifted forward wished he’d done the latter.

And in a World Cup year, the growing number of incidents involving England players is something Southgate can really do without.

It is unlikely the England boss will conclude that Foden was in the wrong when he reflects on Saturday night’s episode.

Equally, however, Southgate will be steadfast in the belief that his players don’t need any distractions with Qatar 2022 on the horizon.

When the England boss and the FA’s former technical director Dan Ashworth decided to scrap the players’ code of conduct, it was done so with a view to placing trust on footballers to behave.

Effectively there is no threshold to warrant punishment for the behaviour of an England footballer. That is totally correct; no two incidents are ever the same and are invariably differentiated by a myriad of circumstances. 

Manchester United's Mason Greenwood was arrested on suspicion of rape and assault

Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood was arrested on suspicion of rape and assault 

But what it does mean is that Southgate must look at each instance on its own merits and decide for himself whether it’s worthy of punishment.

Having put the onus on his players to behave, it’s a headache the England boss can do without quite frankly.

The issues are mounting, too. Southgate won’t select Mason Greenwood next month following his arrest on suspicion of rape and assault.

In November, midfielder Kalvin Phillips suffered a head injury that required hospital treatment following a Leeds players’ night out.

Manchester City forward Jack Grealish, who attended the boxing on Saturday night, was videoed coming out of a nightspot earlier this month amid claims he was intoxicated – though City and the player himself are adamant he was not drunk.

Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, who was also at the boxing, was reportedly at the centre of a pub brawl after allegedly being taunted by revellers in a pub.

The legal ramifications of Harry Maguire’s infamous fight in Mykonos in 2020 continues to hang over the defender.

All the aforementioned incidents found there way into the public domain.

The behaviour of football players is always going to be newsworthy; only last week the front page of The Sun carried a story about a Premier League footballer, who isn’t an England international, being arrested over an attack on his girlfriend.

Like it or not, footballers – now more than ever – are front and back page news. They will do will to remember that. 

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