They are some of the fittest, most valuable players in the game expected to perform in high-pressure situations, but could English football’s elite cut it in the Royal Marines?
The Three Lions’ preparation for Saturday’s World Cup qualifier against Scotland took a surprise twist at the weekend, when manager Gareth Southgate arranged a trip to a Commando Training Centre in Devon.
Twenty England players were taken out of their comfort zones in a 48-hour boot camp designed for marine recruits.
“We wanted to come and put the guys into a different environment, something they weren’t expecting,” Southgate told the FA website.
“The Marines talk about a dislocated expectation, and that was part of the theme of the camp – how will we be adaptable in moments of difficulty for us as a team?
“There were some team objectives around pushing themselves beyond where they thought they could go and knowing you don’t want to let any of your team-mates down.
“We wanted to expose the guys to an elite environment with one of the elite forces in the world. We wanted them to see that there’s another world out there.”
The weekend’s trip included a night camping under the stars on Woodbury Common.
“These guys represent Queen and country, and we do the same – but the consequences of failure for the Royal Marines are far higher,” added Southgate.
“That gives us a good context and comparison.”
England’s players will return to training at St George’s Park on Tuesday, joined by Gary Cahill, Eric Dier, Chris Smalling, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford – who missed the excursion.
England squad to face Scotland and France
Jack Butland (Stoke), Fraser Forster (Southampton), Joe Hart (Man City), Tom Heaton (Burnley)
Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Aaron Cresswell (West Ham), Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough), Phil Jones (Man Utd), Chris Smalling (Man Utd), John Stones (Man City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham), Kyle Walker (Tottenham)
Dele Alli (Tottenham), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Man Utd), Jake Livermore (West Brom), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Man City)
Jermain Defoe (Sunderland), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Man Utd), Jamie Vardy (Leicester)
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