How Gareth Southgate hopes to avoid a repeat of the WAG circus which overshadowed England’s 2006 World Cup… as Three Lions boss sets out plans for his team’s HQ at Euro 2024


Gareth Southgate has targeted a remote base in Germany next summer to avoid a repeat of the WAG circus that overshadowed England’s 2006 World Cup.

England’s staff are in the process of identifying a location for their Euro 2024 headquarters after Monday’s 1-1 draw in North Macedonia ended their qualifying campaign.

The tournament is the first to be held in Germany since that World Cup and will bring back memories of the chaotic campaign under Sven Goran Eriksson.

Eriksson’s side were famously based in Baden-Baden when England fell to Portugal in the quarter-finals. But their achievements were overshadowed by the social escapades of the team’s wives and girlfriends, who made headlines during the tournament and were accused of being a distraction to the players.

Asked if he wanted a repeat of what happened in 2006, Southgate replied: ‘No. I wasn’t involved in that tournament, so I don’t know what that was all like, but we have a great environment with our players.

Victoria Beckham, Cheryl Tweedy and Coleen Rooney (then McLoughlin) watch England at the 2006 World Cup

L-R: Victoria Beckham Coleen Rooney’s sister, Coleen Rooney, Louise Owen and Elen Rivas – then fiancée of Frank Lampard in 2006

L-R; Kieran Trippier’s wife Charlotte; Jordan Pickford’s fiancée Megan Davison; Fern Hawkins, Harry Maguire’s fiancée; Kyle Walker’s wife Annie Kilner and Luke Shaw’s girlfriend Anouska Santos (pictured in 2023)

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‘We want their families to enjoy the tournament too. Normally we welcome them at different times. It changes the dynamic of the hotel, especially when the kids come in, and those elements are important to the players.”

Southgate has also indicated that England is unlikely to settle in major cities such as Berlin and Hamburg, in favor of a quieter retreat.

“We actually want a place where we can be by ourselves a bit,” he explained.

‘We need that beautiful contrast of relaxation and spaces where we can work. You want to limit travel as much as possible, but within the FA our staff are very good at choosing locations that the players will enjoy and feel comfortable.

‘You want to be somewhere where you can escape from everything that is happening around you, but somewhere with good facilities.’

England will go into Euro 2024 as one of the favorites after an unbeaten qualifying campaign. They will meet their opponents in the group stage on Saturday, December 2.

“In the end it doesn’t matter who we draw,” Southgate added. ‘At the 2020 European Championship we had Croatia there, which turned out to be one of the best teams in the world in recent years, and we succeeded. We just have to be ready for whatever comes our way.”

Tweedy attended the 2006 World Cup to watch then-husband Ashley Cole

England boss Gareth Southgate has targeted a remote base in Germany next summer


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