Gareth Southgate has given his squad permission to cut loose before the hard work of rebuilding English football’s tattered reputation starts next week.
The England manager revealed on Thursday that he went on a jaunt to notorious party destination Magaluf with Aston Villa team-mates in the lead-up to Euro 96.
He then flew to Hong Kong with England for a pre-tournament training camp that spawned the infamous, alcohol-fuelled dentist’s chair incident.
Gareth Southgate insisted he was ‘not interested’ in what his England side do in next few days
But despite the potential for controversy before next month’s World Cup, Southgate said: ‘I’m not interested in what they do over the next few days.
‘It’s four weeks before we have a game. Before Euro 96, I had three days in Magaluf with Aston Villa so it would be a bit hypocritical of me to discuss what the correct preparation was.
‘I went for a run on a couple of mornings. It might have been a run back home rather than a run! Travelling is not a big issue. Most of the players have gone away with their partners and they have young kids anyway.’
Harry Kane is in the Bahamas and Jamie Vardy is in the Maldives, while Dele Alli and Kieran Trippier have also taken the opportunity to go abroad.
Southgate revealed he spent three days in Magaluf with his Aston Villa team-mates in 1996
England’s drinking session in Hong Kong led to Paul Gascoigne’s (bottom) Euro 96 celebration
Southgate’s laid-back attitude represents a significant departure from the Roy Hodgson era.
Ahead of Euro 2016, Hodgson’s England players were encouraged to stay at home to avoid controversy before the tournament.
In the build-up to Euro 2012, captain Wayne Rooney was condemned for drinking and gambling in Las Vegas — behaviour he regretted later.
Twenty-two years ago, Southgate witnessed the pitfalls of letting players go abroad ahead of tournaments when Terry Venables’s England squad partied in Hong Kong.
On the advice of Stuart Pearce, Southgate stayed behind when many of the others players ventured out on a boozy night.
Roy Hodgson’s England players were encouraged to stay at home to avoid controversy in 2016
Paul Gascoigne, Steve McManaman, Robbie Fowler and Teddy Sheringham were among those photographed pouring drinks down each other’s throats while sitting in a dentist’s chair.
The wild drinking session was the inspiration behind Gazza’s infamous dentist chair celebration after his wondergoal against Scotland at Wembley during Euro 96.
England went on to reach the semi-finals. They haven’t progressed beyond the quarter-final stage of a tournament since.
But while Southgate has permitted his players to drink this week, the England manager has warned them to prepare for a summer of graft once they return from their holidays.
He said: ‘After that when we’re in, we work, diet will be spot on, the work we do will be correct and the focus will be intense.
Harry Kane is among the England players who have taken the opportunity to go on holiday
‘I want them to relax and switch off but the closer we get to a tournament, then we have got to recognise the balance of all of that.’
Meanwhile, Southgate has called on his players to avoid social media during the World Cup.
The England boss has confirmed that the FA’s psychology expert Pippa Grange will be part of the team that flies to Russia.
Nevertheless, Southgate believes looking at platforms like Twitter can only nurture negativity.
‘I think it’s good for the players to communicate with the fans, but when you’re emotional it’s not a good time to do it,’ said Southgate, who also criticised the FA’s controversial tweet poking fun at Kane after Tottenham’s semi-final loss to Manchester United.