Gareth Southgate once put England squad through brutal Royal Marines camp which left players stunned

Gareth Southgate has been in charge of England for approaching a decade – and very early on in his Three Lions reign put his players through a brutal Royal Marines training camp.

Southgate took charge of England in 2016, replacing Roy Hodgson following the embarrassing exit at the hands of Iceland at Euro 2016.

Since then, Southgate has overseen England reaching the semi-finals and quarter-finals of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups respectively, as well as being runners-up to Italy at Euro 2020.

Southgate takes England to Germany this summer for Euro 2024, with the Three Lions among the favourites to win the tournament.

This summer’s tournament could well be Southgate’s last as England boss, with his contract currently due to expire at the end of this year.

In the first year of his tenure in charge, Southgate took his squad on a boot camp arranged by the Royal Marines in the summer of 2017.

The players were surprised by soldiers at St George’s Park who told them to give up their mobile phone and were swiftly boarding a bus to Lympstone in Devon.

They were also given military uniforms in place of their England training kits, and were issued boots and a 21kg backpack, as well as being told they could make one phonecall to let their families know where they were.

England boss Gareth Southgate.(


The players ended up trekking across the Devon hills and a 5am start, plus taking part in the infamous sheep dip, which sees players submerged and dragged through a tunnel underwater.

The trip included now England skipper Harry Kane, who felt it was a great team-bonding exercise.

Kane said: “It helped the whole squad get to know each other. We had no phones for three days, we were camping in the woods. That helped us, not just as a team. It helped us become closer. We did a camping thing where we learned to put up our own tents and had the rations the Marine guys have when they’re going to war.

“We woke up at sunrise and did a trek with all the stuff on our backs. Then we did an obstacle course. That was fun, although I think they left out some of the tougher parts. We had to follow the Marines. Whenever they shouted ‘down’ we had to crawl in the mud, though stones and the sheep dip.”

He added: “We were all soaking wet, with sand and mud everywhere, and we thought we were going to get in a car and go back to camp, until they told us we were walking back – which was another hour on the road. That was probably the hardest part, it was mentally tough.

“Then we got back to the place we were staying. I was looking forward to a nice, hot shower and it was just a bit of water dripping out. It was just brutal.”

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