Injured Royal Marines Have 'Big Impact' On England Footballers

The Three Lions had the chance to meet veterans before their final pre-World Cup friendly match...

England's Jordan Henderson trains with team-mates ahead of his team's final friendly with Costa Rica. (Picture: PA)

England's World Cup squad met with injured servicemen from the Royal Marines this week in a bid to put the sporting pressure of the tournament into perspective.

The Football Association struck up a relationship with the elite military unit last June when manager Gareth Southgate arranged for his players to take part in a surprise boot camp in Devon.

There was a more sombre follow-up at St George's Park on Tuesday, when the Three Lions had the chance to interact with veterans who endured worse than missing a penalty or picking up a red card while serving their country.

"There were some brilliant and inspirational stories shared, and it had a big impact on the group," said Southgate on the eve of the final warm-up match against Costa Rica.

"We asked one of their guys to run a session with the players and part of that was with three of his colleagues who served and had suffered incredible injuries, really."

"I'm keen not to overdo the military link, but there are some comparisons in representing your country and the pride in that, standing by the bloke next to you."

"They've suffered the most difficult scenarios possible, almost, and a couple are running marathons or rowing the Atlantic. They're impressive guys.

"It's good for us to step out of our world at times and hear them saying they're proud to be in [the England camp]."

England manager Gareth Southgate during the press conference at West Riding CFA, Leeds. (Picture: PA)

Last year, England's Harry Kane said training with the Marines was a 
crucial factor in them being able to overturn Scotland's 2-1 lead. He told the Scotsman: 

"When we went away with the Marines, we spoke about being ready for any situation. If things do take a turn for the worse, then always be ready for that. Never drop your heads."