Steve Holland speaks out about ‘leaked’ England team for Panama clash

Steve Holland has apologised to the England squad after he was pictured with a team sheet ahead of Sunday’s World Cup clash with Panama.

Gareth Southgate’s number two addressed the players ahead of a behind-closed-doors training session on Friday morning.

And he said sorry after inadvertently leaking the names and formation likely to be used against Panama.

Kyle Walker claims the squad have still not been told who will start in Nizhny Novgorod this weekend but the fact he felt the need to apologise strongly suggests Southgate’s selection was on the paper carried by Holland.

Walker said: “It was just before training, just before we went out and did our warm up, he gave his apologies and said it was the first time he had messed up in 20 years, which we had a bit of a laugh about because his refereeing skills are not great.

“It was a bit of banter, we move on and are looking forward to the game now.”

Walker also went on to plead for secrecy ahead of future games, saying: “If you guys just try and keep it to yourself, that would be nice. Don’t bring it out because it’s not going to help us.”

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Southgate claimed Holland’s work was ‘just a squad list’ but echoed Walker’s plea.

“For me, no drama,” said the England manager. “But obviously, any time we were to give the opposition the opportunity of having our team, it is a disadvantage to us and so, of course, the media has to decide whether they want to help the team or not.”

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