‘He knows he made an error that shouldn’t have happened’: Gareth Southgate uses Kyle Walker’s red card against Iceland to send a message to England squad… and admits Man City defender has ‘competition’ to reach his 50th cap
- Gareth Southgate warned England stars he will not tolerate lapses in discipline
- His comments followed Kyle Walker’s red card against Iceland in Nations League
- He was as distraught as Southgate was angry after being shown a second yellow
- Walker now may miss out on his 50th cap with right-back competition tough
Gareth Southgate has warned England’s players he will not tolerate any further lapses in discipline after Kyle Walker received the first red card of his reign.
The Manchester City defender admitted after the 1-0 win in Iceland that he feared for his future in the squad. He was as distraught as Southgate was angry after he was shown a second yellow card for a reckless challenge midway through the second half.
Southgate will not close the door permanently on Walker, 30, who apologised to the team in the dressing room and is suspended for Tuesday’s Nations League fixture in Denmark, but he would not offer him any guarantees for the long term, given the competition at right back is so intense.
Gareth Southgate has warned England’s players he will not tolerate any lapses in discipline
His comments followed Kyle Walker’s red card against Iceland in Nations League victory
Walker will not face any financial punishment for the sending-off — England’s first since Raheem Sterling was dismissed against Ecuador in June 2014 — but Southgate will use the incident to educate his group about how costly errors of judgement can be.
‘We wouldn’t have brought Kyle back into the squad if we didn’t think he could do the job,’ said Southgate. ‘His club form has been very, very good. But he knows he made an error that shouldn’t have happened.
‘He’s been very open and honest, holding his hands up to that. He’s still a very experienced player but there is competition for places.’
Whether Walker, who called his sliding challenge ‘unacceptable’, will get the chance to secure his 50th cap remains to be seen.
Walker will not face any financial punishment for the sending-off but may miss 50th cap
There had been 15 months between his 48th and 49th appearances and the form of Atletico Madrid’s Kieran Trippier, Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool and Manchester United youngster Aaron Wan-Bissaka illustrates the size of the task he faces.
Southgate said: ‘I think Kieran Trippier did an excellent job at left back. He was defensively very solid, used the ball securely and allowed us to keep our midfield players a bit higher and our wingers wider. So, yes, there are other players in those positions. I’m certainly not going to rule Kyle in the long term on that one moment.
‘It’s the first time we’ve had a red card in the four years and it makes the game so difficult. We got away with it but it’s something all of the players know. It’s a good way to learn, to still win the game but we have to hammer those points home because it’s critical.’
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