England’s Kyle Walker smiles as he takes part in a training session for the England team at the 2018 soccer World Cup, in the Spartak Zelenogorsk ground, Zelenogorsk near St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, June 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

After World Cup lineup photographed, England urges media to help team

Now the England camp is actually asking media: Are you with us or against us?

A photo of a scribbled team lineup, spotted in the hands of an assistant coach, threatens to sour the unusually cordial World Cup relations between the England team and its travelling media pack.

Four years after the team leadership banned reporters for snooping on closed training sessions in Brazil, the latest prying took place in open training. While counterparts had their lenses tracking the players before Sunday’s game against Panama, the London Evening Standard newspaper’s Jeremy Selywn snapped a piece of paper in the hands of Steve Holland showing players in formation.

Now the England camp is actually asking media: Are you with us or against us?

“Try to keep it to yourself and don’t bring it out to the world, because it’s not going to help us come the later stages of the tournament,” defender Kyle Walker said Friday. “You guys have to do your little bit. So if you could just please help us with that, it would be polite.”

Holland apologized to the squad at training on Friday in Repino, near St. Petersburg.

“We had a bit of banter with him about, and that was it,” Walker said. “We knocked it on the head at that.”

READ MORE: FIFA World Cup weekly roundup

The revelation was the first indication the squad had that Raheem Sterling could be dropped after struggling to make an impression in the opening win against Tunisia on Monday and Marcus Rashford could lead the attack with captain Harry Kane.

Southgate, though, wasn’t planning to disclose the starting XI until Saturday when England flies to Nizhny Novgorod to play Panama the following night.

“Obviously any time, if we were to give the opposition the opportunity of having our team, it’s a disadvantage to us,” Southgate told Talksport radio station. “So of course our media has to decide whether they want to help the team or not. Given that was just a squad list, it doesn’t make any difference to us really.”

In keeping with his relaxed persona, Southgate went on to emphasize that the incident was “no drama.”

A former England defender, Southgate has tried to reduce the friction between reporters and players by giving more access to players — even after news conferences. The squad and journalists have been competing at pub sports in Russia. That continued on Friday , with striker Jamie Vardy taking on a reporter at pool, even as the media defended the right to publish Holland’s handwritten notes.

“Let’s just be clear on one thing,” tweeted Matt Law, a football writer for the Daily Telegraph newspaper. “The pic of the England team was taken in an OPEN training session in which photographers and cameramen are invited to take pictures. You may not agree with it being published, but there was certainly no hiding in bushes.”

At the 2014 World Cup, some reporters did find vantage points in Rio de Janeiro to watch private training sessions, which irritated the then-England coaching staff, including Gary Neville.

The publication of the lineup at this tournament — even without the need for spying “undermines the relationship and trust with the team,” according to Neville, who is working in Russia as a TV pundit.

Rob Harris, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Out with a roar: Dinosaurs take over forest at Surrey school on last week of class

Six colourful creatures painted by Grade 3 students led youngsters on an expedition in the outdoor classroom

Animal advocates yowl after Delta cat severely injured in trap

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

Surrey city council cost taxpayers nearly $1M in 2018

That includes more than $151,372 in expenses from the former council

The end is near for North Surrey rec centre, meaning programs will move to other facilities within 4km

Plan is for the site of the aging rec centre to become mixed-use ‘Centre Block’ development

Street dance competition outdoors in Surrey on first day of summer break

DJ, prizes, activities, a food truck and more Friday at Surrey City Hall Plaza

SQUEEZING SURREY STUDENTS IN: The causes and impacts of overcrowding in city schools

Special series: How growth is affecting students, parents and school staff alike – and what the future holds

Fate of accused in Canadian couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Vancouver Aquarium drops cetacean ban lawsuit in new lease agreement

Ocean Wise CEO Lasse Gustavsson called the updated lease an exciting new chapter for the aquarium

Plane veers off runway, into ditch at Langley Airport

Fire, ambulance, and police are on scene

Okanagan RCMP bike patrol rolls up on alleged stolen vehicle from Burnaby

The driver, a 30-year-old Kelowna man, has been held in custody and is facing possible charges of possession of stolen property and obstructing a police officer

Most Read