Gareth Southgate has discussed the fad of shirt-swapping, and admits that the world is full of former full-backs ruing that they have his shirt.
Southgate was talking before England’s friendly clash with Brazil on Tuesday, where he is expected to hand an opportunity to a number of youngsters.
The England manager was discussing how that could spur those who have sat out this international break to fight for their shirt.
“(Philippe) Coutinho hasn’t played for a few weeks for Liverpool but he is there for Brazil,” said Southgate, who has seen eight players withdraw from his initial squad.
“I imagine part of that is because he is thinking ‘if I’m not there and I’m not playing and someone else goes in do I get the shirt back?’
“Maybe we haven’t had that, but I think moving forward we will have and I think that will affect people’s approach definitely.”
That approach extends to focusing on the England shirt rather than acquiring another, no matter how much of a special keepsake the jersey of Neymar or his Brazilian team-mates may be.
“I’ve got a wardrobe full of shirts at home and I think they’re all full-backs because it wasn’t high on my list of priorities to go and swap,” Southgate said, smiling.
“By the way, there are a load of full-backs saying ‘I’ve got f***ing Gareth Southgate’s shirt’, so I accept that works both ways.
“I used to talk to young players about this at Middlesbrough.
“David Wheater, I pulled him over the coals because he bowled off with Thierry Henry’s shirt after a game.
“I said ‘right, OK, where do you think that leaves you when you play him again next time? Because you were waiting to get his shirt and it’s given him a sense of ‘oh OK, you’re just a young one”.
“You are either going toe-to-toe with these guys or we are just here for the tour.”