Gareth Southgate says he will “hammer home” a message on discipline – and is ready to dump players who get red cards.
Kyle Walker became the England first player to be sent off in Southgate’s four-year reign and the Three Lions boss is determined to get tough as he says it is “critical” players do not cost them results in tournaments.
Southgate admitted that he believes sendings off have been a major issue in the past and when he was under-21s boss he warned the players they must not be like the seniors.
“It’s the first time we’ve had a red card in the four years and it makes the game so difficult, when you’re in the ascendancy,” said Southgate.
“I think we were very conscious with the Under-21s to talk to the team about discipline because we’ve learned what had happened with the seniors in the past. It shifts the momentum and it could have cost us the game on the night.
“We got away with it but it’s something all of the players.. it’s a good way to learn, to still win the game but to have to hammer those points home because it’s critical.”
Manchester City full back Walker was sent off for two yellow cards on his first game back for England in more than a year and that could cost him dear.
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Walker, 30, who is on 49 caps, apologised afterwards and wants to stay with the squad despite being suspended for Denmark as he became the 16th player to be sent off for England.
He was the first since Raheem Sterling saw red against Ecuador in a friendly in 2014.
Southgate said he will not judge Walker on just one game but made it clear he was still very disappointed because of his age and experience so the red card is now an issue.
Southgate added: “He knows he made an error that shouldn’t have happened and he’s been very open and honest about holding his hands up to that. He’s still a very experienced player.
“There is competition for places. I think Kieran Trippier did an excellent job at left-back. He was defensively very solid, used the ball securely and allowed to keep our midfield players a bit higher and our wingers wider so yes there are other players in those positions, there is that competition.
“Kyle knows he’s made an error but I am not going to rule him out in the long term on that one moment. I think players I’ve left out previously from any squad won’t have been because of just one situation.”