England players told to ‘avoid phones’ as Kane, Rice are scolded over ‘nonsense’ Lineker ‘cop-out’

Joe Williams
England duo Harry Kane and Declan Rice
Harry Kane and Declan Rice during a Euro 2024 match.

Carlton Cole has advised England players to avoid using their phones if they can’t take the criticism that goes with playing for the Three Lions in tournaments.

The England players and Gareth Southgate have faced a lot of criticism from fans, pundits and former players over their disappointing performances at Euro 2024 so far.

That’s despite the Three Lions qualifying from Group C as winners with a win over Serbia and two draws against Denmark and Slovenia, which will see Southgate’s men play Slovakia in the last 16.

Gary Lineker called their display in their second group game against Denmark as “s**t” with Harry Kane and Declan Rice both critical of the former England player’s comments.

While Southgate has pointed to unrest from England fans at the end of matches as “creating bit of an issue for the group” but Cole thinks Three Lions players have been wrong to respond to outside criticism.

Cole told Gambling.com: “It’s nonsense, it’s just a cop-out. They know they’ve not hit the dizzy heights that we’re expecting, and it started before this tournament actually.

“We’re expecting an improvement because now it’s the tournament. Nothing’s happened, we’ve not seen a reaction, and it’s been quite poor. So they’ve got to accept the criticism. And if you don’t want to listen to criticism, don’t go on your phones, don’t read the papers.

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“Its affecting the players mentality, especially the young ones…If you looked at them carefully on Tuesday, you’ll see them putting their arms up and always moaning. Because they’re trying to show the world, ah I don’t agree with what’s going on, because they’re listening to the outside noise. They’re not working on actually making this work.

“They’ve not had that much criticism, they’ve come off the back of a great season, and now the criticism is starting to settle in they don’t want to hear it. If you don’t want to hear it, turn off your phone.

“Something’s wrong. I’m not sure what’s going on in that camp, we’re not privy to what’s going on in the training ground. Anthony Gordon came out and said after the game that they’re doing everything right on the training ground.

“But when they get to the game they’re kind of freezing, and I don’t understand that.

“It just doesn’t seem like there’s any cohesion at the moment.”

The former West Ham striker has also doubted Southgate’s ability to motivate the team for the rest of the Euros as he could struggle to handle the “egos” in the dressing room.

Cole added: “Gareth is very sensible and a great speaker. Galvanising his team? I’m not sure.

“Say at half-time, and it’s not going well…sometimes these boys look like they’re playing without fear of their manager.

“What is Gareth going to say to some of those egos in there, and what can he actually teach them…some of them are coming from some great managers.

“I think Gareth has got them onside as their mates, wants them to do well and is a great mentor. But that fear factor, when you had a manager that you just knew, I don’t want to hear this when I go into the dressing room, that actually gives you an extra 10% to not be sloppy.

“Something has to change and I don’t know if these boys have got that fear factor from Gareth. But I might be wrong, because I’m not there.”