After Sunday’s joy in front of the nation kicked off their European Championship bid, there was some downtime for England’s star men on Monday.
The Three Lions enjoyed a rest and recuperation day following their hard-fought victory over Croatia in their Euro 2020 opener as they seek to keep both body and mind fresh for the challenges ahead.
Raheem Sterling scored the only goal at a sweltering Wembley to get the side off to the perfect start against the 2018 World Cup finalists, as they opened up Group D by taking charge.
It could, and perhaps should, have been more. But it was a case of job done and a platform from which to build, knowing that stiffer tests are lying in wait.
As manager Gareth Southgate seeks to manage his side’s workload during the tournament, his side used Monday for rest and rehabilitation, before turning their attention to Friday’s encounter with Scotland.
Yoga, swimming and basketball were all on the agenda for the side at their St George’s Park base.
The likes of Phil Foden were snapped exiting the hot yoga pod as they sought to recover from Sunday’s exploits, in a bid to rest and refresh before getting back down to business.
The afternoon was a more light-hearted affair, with players given time to relax and take a few hours to put the tournament to the back of their mind.
Foden was joined in the pool by Manchester City teammate Kyle Walker, Jordan Pickford and Tyrone Mings; it wasn’t long before balls were being launched and the inflatables were out too.
Declan Rice and Mason Mount, long-time friends, enjoyed the indoor basketball court, while Kalvin Phillips – after his standout display at the weekend, which saw him named Man of the Match – spent time on the outdoor courts and also sought reflection time in the grounds of St George’s Park.
Sterling meanwhile took his place in the ‘Diary Room’ to be questioned for England’s social media channels and to take part in a podcast.
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On Tuesday morning however, it was back down to work for Southgate and his side – albeit with Jack Grealish conspicuous by his absence.
Already they know that victory over the Tartan Army on Friday will all but secure their place in the knockout stages. – and will leave Steve Clarke’s side needing a miraculous final day recovery.
Harry Maguire trained with the side again, but Aston Villa talisman Grealish – an unused substitute on Sunday – remained in the gym to work on his own.
Grealish is continuing to suffer from a shin complaint that saw him miss a large part of Villa’s end of season run-in.
Despite starring in the pre-tournament friendlies, he is having to have regular physio work, is being iced immediately after matches and is needing to be carefully managed to ensure a potential game-changer is available when called upon.
Southgate’s viewpoint is that it is more important for England to have Grealish and his ability to carry the ball, win fouls and break apart opposition defence later in the tournament than at present.
However, while his condition is being managed carefully, it remains a worry and as it stands, a place on the bench remains his best bet for now.
Unfortunately for the Three Lions, one man who will miss out on the remainder of the tournament is backup ‘keeper Dean Henderson.
The Manchester United stopper has been struggling with a hip issue that has been limiting his involvement in training.
And with that concern unlikely to cease in the coming weeks, the decision was taken among the coaching and medical staff that Henderson’s tournament would be brought to a premature end.
The FA confirmed on Tuesday that Aaron Ramsdale – who replaced Henderson at Sheffield United last summer – would join the squad once he has completed Covid testing protocols.
The FA said in a statement: “Aaron Ramsdale has replaced Dean Henderson in England’s UEFA EURO 2020 squad.
“Henderson withdraws with a hip issue that would continue to limit his involvement in training throughout the tournament.
“Under UEFA regulations, squads are permitted to replace goalkeepers on medical grounds at any stage.
“The Manchester United goalkeeper will now return to his club for further assessment and rehabilitation ahead of the 2021/22 season.
“Ramsdale was originally a member of Gareth Southgate’s pre-tournament group in Middlesbrough having played for England at this year’s UEFA U21 EURO in Slovenia in March.
“The Sheffield United player, a 2017 UEFA U19 EURO winner, will now follow standard Covid-19 testing protocol before entering the camp.”
Ramsdale, who was part of England’s Under-21 squad at their ill-fated U21 Euros earlier this year, is yet to win his first senior cap.
He joins Jordan Pickford and Sam Johnstone as goalkeepers available to Southgate for the remainder of the competition.
With the lack of experience now behind him, expect the Everton man to be wrapped in cotton wool between matches from now on.