Jadon Sancho, Ben Chilwell and Tammy Abraham’s illegal lockdown party is just the latest in a long line of scandals involving England players.
It’s not easy growing up in the limelight, having your every move dissected and scrutinised. It’s even harder when you’re a youngster who’s both cash and time-rich, but has their entire life meticulously controlled and regimented.
In many respects, England players — and footballers in general — get a bad rap. A lot of the time it’s unwarranted, too, like when Paul Robinson was ridiculed for that bobble in Croatia, or when Raheem Sterling decides to leave his house on just about any occasion.
Then again, there are other instances when the actions of England internationals have been pretty indefensible. Whether it’s organising a sex party during peak lockdown, or shooting the work experience kid with an air rile, here are some of English football’s biggest mishaps.
Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden’s Icelandic escapade
Starting with one of England’s most recent misdemeanors, these two Manchester teens were sent home early from international duty after breaking lockdown policy, inviting girls back up to their hotel room in Iceland.
It was a poor error of judgement at best, but given the fact it happened on their first trip away with the senior side, neither player came out of it smelling like roses.
Kyle Walker’s COVID-breaching sex party
In keeping with flouting lockdown regulations, Walker was busted earlier in the year when him and a friend decided to host a mini party with two sex workers at his flat in Cheshire. It was a bad enough look on its own, but to make matters worse, it occurred within days of the defender urging people to stay in doors over social media. Yikes.
Jamie Vardy’s racial casino slur
At the very start of Leicester’s historic title-winning season, Vardy landed himself in hot water after a late-night, boozed-up trip to the local casino. While playing a game of poker, he directed a derogatory remark towards a Japanese gentleman, who Vardy believed was trying to peek at the cards in his hand. A public apology and one racial inequality awareness course later, Vardy emerged from the whole debacle with a rather red face.
Wayne Rooney’s backchat to fans
Moving onto the pitch now and we have Wayne Rooney’s outburst at the 2010 World Cup, after the Three Lions were held to a goalless draw by Algeria. Supporters in the stadium made their frustrations known by jeering England off the pitch, to which Rooney replied: “Nice to see your own fans booing you,” as he stared angrily down the camera’s lens. His emotions clearly got the better of him, but it still wasn’t the smartest of moves.
David Beckham’s infamous red card
Becks is a national treasure in the eyes of England supporters these days, and there will no doubt be some younger fans who’ve never known anything different. But back in 1998, at the World Cup in France, a young Beckham became public enemy number one after he kicked out at Diego Simeone.
His petulant act earned him a red card in the midst of a crucial round of 16 match against Argentina, and England proceeded to be eliminated from the tournament.
Sure, Simone made the most of it, and Beckham was heavily scapegoated, but it took him nearly three years to win back the nation’s hearts via a sensational free-kick versus Greece.
John Terry’s Wayne Bridge infidelity
We all know the tale of this saga: Terry had an affair with Bridge’s girlfriend at the time, leading to an incredible awkward and embarrassing few days of media coverage. It even boiled over again a few weeks later, when Bridge, understandably, refused to shake Terry’s hand as his side QPR lined up against Chelsea.
To be honest, Terry’s name could’ve appeared multiple times on this list, but this particular incident raged on for months and, would probably, just about, make the top 100 of his biggest career regrets.
Paul Gascoigne’s dentist chair
An embarrassing throwback to the 1990s now, involving who else but Paul ‘Gazza’ Gascoigne. With England hosting Euro ‘96, the squad ventured abroad for a series of warm-up games in order to prepare for the tournament. On one such trip, in Hong Kong, multiple players were photographed at a nightclub in a paralytically-drunken stupor.
Gazza, naturally, led the charge, and was papped in a ‘dentist’s chair’ while others poured drinks into his mouth. Still, at least we got an iconic celebration out of it.
Ashley Cole’s air rifle stunt
Of all the stupid things England footballers have done, this may well be the dumbest. In 2011, at Chelsea’s Cobham training ground, Cole decided it’d be a good idea to bring an air rifle with him one morning. After showing the weapon off and messing around with it, the defender, accidentally, shot and injured a 21-year-old student on work experience with the club. Dearie me, Ashley.
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