Statement: Kenny Sansom in recovery from brain condition

Kenny Sansom is out of hospital and continuing the early stages of recovery from Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a condition also known as ‘wet brain’.

Kenny is conscious and able to talk. He is in very good spirits and looking forward to hopefully a better future. He feels in a good place and is very grateful for people’s support.

Please also read the statement from Kenny’s family on the Crystal Palace website.

Getting drunk doesn’t suit me anymore

I know there have been reports recently, saying that I’m living on the streets and that I might need to have my leg amputated. Let me clear this up a bit!

Firstly, I want people to know that I’m in a good place, I’m staying with a friend. I don’t want people to think that I am just living on the street, all the time. It’s true that I did have some nights sleeping on the street, but not too many. A lot of people did help me out, so it wasn’t too many nights. One day, for example, an ambulance picked me up – I think I was lying in a bus stop somewhere – and they took me to a McDonald’s for a cup of tea. On another night, a friend tried to help me get a hotel room, I didn’t have any money, but there weren’t any rooms. The receptionist let me sit for a while and I was there till the morning. I don’t want to get in that state again. I intend not to have to sleep on the street anymore! That is down to me not to get in that position.

I know there have been reports that I might need to have my foot or my leg amputated. Thankfully, that is not quite the case! I’d had a few bad days and I had a verruca. It was annoying me and rather than go to the doctors or hospital, I have to say I picked it off, but I infected it. It went down to the bone and that can be very dangerous. I wasn’t thinking about taking my tablets, my medication for my diabetes, the drink took the pain away. But I got cream and antibiotics and my foot is much much better now. The swelling and infection has gone. I don’t think my foot is going to be amputated any time soon! I love walking and I wouldn’t want that to happen.

A couple of people have said things to me and I’ve realised that drink doesn’t suit me anymore. Getting drunk doesn’t suit me anymore. I used to be a funny drunk, but now I am not a nice person in that way. I’m not a nice person when I’m drunk. That’s what I have realised. I know that when I’ve been drinking I have been verbally abusive to some people, especially on the phone. I have apologised to those people. It’s given me a big incentive to not want to get drunk or gamble.

I’m 58 years old, it’s taken me a long long time to realise what I’ve got to do. Football was easy, but I’m taking control now. I’ve got to stop getting drunk. I haven’t gambled for a while either. The combination of the two has ruined some of my life, but I have the opportunity to get it back a bit. If I don’t go and get drunk or gamble, and get some work in, I’ll be happier. I want to be happy and I want to make other people happy. I’ve got to be strong with myself. I’ve got to do it myself. I’ve got to be stronger.

The last few years I’ve not been strong enough. I took drinking and gambling as the easy way out. It makes me forget. My life, all the things that life throws at you, when I was drinking I could forget it. I’d get drunk and that’s why I’d get drunk the next day. People have said to me “Ken, you’ve got so much to give”, but I couldn’t see it. But I feel better and I’m hoping this time that it’s going to work. I really hope in myself . When you have addictions, it’s not that easy. I just hope I can carry on being positive and can get people back on my side. I want to say thank you to all the people that have helped me.

By me having a clearer mind on my drinking, I have been interested by the stories about Wayne Rooney’s drinking. To me it looks like he was at the bar till late, he wanted a drink and to relax. They might have been talking football. I don’t think there’s anything to worry about. If Wayne has a drinking problem, only he and his family will know. If he does, I’d expect it would come out in the next month or so. I think the Rooney incident has possibly been blown out of proportion. The combination of his form for United and England and the drinking has come together to make the story a lot bigger than if it was someone playing very well. Maybe the story wouldn’t have been as big, if it had been a player on top form. Hopefully he has good people around him, that are not letting him be affected by it.

Rooney was drinking after the game, we used to drink before games! Now it gets in the press. When we used to do it, it was very rarely in the press. When I started to play for England, I didn’t drink. When I joined the squad, I heard a story about Trevor Brooking. We would meet on a Sunday, have dinner and our team meeting and then go to the pub for a few drinks. The story goes that one of the players, maybe Terry McDermott, said to Brooking “What do you want to drink Trevor?” Trevor said “I’ll have a Coke.” So we asked him “Do you want anything in it?” Meaning vodka, or gin. “Oh, yes please. I’ll have ice.” That’s what it was like, it was a boys’ night out.

Once I was an established member of the England squad, we’d often have a drink after the game and on the plane home. That was mostly relaxation. Some maybe had a few more than others, but generally most of the players would have a few drinks and it wouldn’t be a problem. It was more about bonding, having enjoyed the match.

I think Gareth Southgate has done very well. He’ll need to address our mistakes, in defence, as obviously better teams will beat you. You can’t be perfect, but you have to make as few mistakes as you can. Southgate has good experience with the Under-21s, but he has things to address defensively. We have talented young players. We need the experienced players, like Hart and Rooney, to get the most out of them. When Fabregas was at Arsenal as a youngster, he had the likes of Henry, Pires and Bergkamp around him. Southgate needs to get the best players helping the youngsters. They need experience around them. I think Gareth will do a good job.

I thought the performance against Scotland was okay and the three goals were fantastic. It was a great win, 3-0 against your biggest rivals. They will always add 10-15% more to their game. There were some nerves. It’s alright to be nervous, I used to get nervous. It made me feel that I wanted to concentrate more and didn’t want to make mistakes. But if a whole team is nervous, that can ruin your performance. Scotland did have chances. That’s a worry, as without disrespect, England are a much stronger team, but at 1-0 nerves played their part for England.

Spain was also a good performance. We were in control at 2-0. Whereas Spain took their chances, Scotland didn’t. We took our foot off the gas. If you’re 2-0 up, keep the ball. You don’t have to go for 3-0, but make them chase you, don’t give it up. It’s a great training session to get reserves to put the first team under pressure, to train players to get used to handling pressure. That’s a great session for learning how to have two or three passes available to you.

In terms of Arsenal, I think Utd v Arsenal will be a great game. Utd have great individuals, but Arsenal have a great team. If United’s individuals turn it on, they could win, but Arsenal have more consistency. The match could come down to the managers! How the managers take this on and set their teams could be crucial. This is how they get their money. I don’t think the two managers love each other, but I do suspect Mourinho and Wenger do have mutual respect. Mourinho has complained about Wenger getting a lot of respect and him not getting enough. But first you have to respect yourself.

It’s a massive match. Arsenal have a great chance I believe to win the title. They’re passing the ball quickly and getting the crosses in. You don’t know what will happen. Like when Chelsea beat United 4-0. Arsenal could put United under pressure. I think Arsenal have a great chance this year.

I’m going to Palace v Man City and it’s a massive game for both teams. I imagine Palace might settle for a draw, City will expect to win. City have players to win matches, but Palace have started very well this season. They’re doing what I really wanted them to do, they’re getting lots of crosses in. They’ve got Benteke in and I’ve seen him saying to the wingers “Get the crosses in”. If Palace can keep getting crosses in, they can put City under pressure. They have to do it to win the game.

I’ve really enjoyed putting this blog together and showing you how well I’m doing. I’m enjoying the season and I intend to do more blogs like these as the season progresses.

The FA needs to employ more ex-players

It’s amazing there isn’t a new England coach yet. You’d think the FA would have had someone in mind before the Euros. In case Hodgson was wanting to retire, you’d think somebody would be in place. Just to have a general chat with someone before the tournament and see if they’d be interested, just in case. So I’m surprised there’s nobody in the role.

If they’d have spoken to Gareth Southgate before the tournament, they’d have known if he was interested, rather than finding out after Roy went that Gareth didn’t want to be the caretaker. This is where having ex-players on board would really help.

More players should be involved and employed by the FA, because they have the skills and the experience. Former players know what to look for during training. The more that are involved, the more they have to offer. Sterling was mentioned during the Euros for lacking confidence, but I felt there was more to it. Former players can help to find the answers. They know the game.

Sam Allardyce and Steve Bruce are in the frame. Both Sam and Steve are English and I think that’s important. Both have managed at a high level. They look to be strong characters. I’ve met them and played against them, they’re very nice blokes and very good managers.

You’ve got to be strong to deal with players. Modern players are superstars. You have to make sure that players do want to play for their country. You have to want to do it. It’s vital that players listen to the management and staff.

If I say to Rooney “I just want you to do a particular job”, you need him to do it, not say he wants to do something else. I’m just being honest. I’m not singling out Rooney, it’s just an example. You need players to want to play for their country and do what the manager asks.

There can be disagreements between football players, like anywhere in life, but that needs to be knocked on the head for the greater good of the England team.

I know Glenn Hoddle very well and Bruce and Allardyce are good managers, but I just believe that the FA needs more ex-players working for them. For example, I know that Allardyce and my mate Peter Reid are good friends. Peter could give Sam very helpful opinions at training. It would be Sam’s decision, but that knowledge is so important.

Little things matter. Whatever you do for your club, you need to help players at international level too. Learn there and then that helps you at club level too. You can always learn in anything and that includes those tiny things that you can pick up from your international teammates.

I think the FA needs ex-pros in every region, with a responsibility to help players in their area, through their experience. Players can have issues and they need a different face, a change of scene, to fix them. Somebody different to talk to, who has experience. Nice and casual, nothing heavy, just informal. These things can help.

If a player is playing for say a Chelsea or a Liverpool, a local ex-player in that area could go and meet him and have a nice chat. For example, in south-east London I could be ideal for helping young pros who have alcohol or gambling problems. You can help them, change the subject, get them feeling more positive again.

There’s a lot of money in football, so you have to make the most of the knowledge in the game. When Rio Ferdinand had his drug test problem, Bryan Robson could have helped him, with his experience. Robbo was the best I played for, he’d have been a great help for Rio.

Since England have been knocked out of the Euros, so many people have come up to me and wanted to know my opinion. Fans know when players are not doing their job. I’m amazed Portugal won the tournament. Usually the best team wins.

The tournament wasn’t top drawer. When you look at England, as a team, I thought England could win it. But that’s not always how it works out. But this is why I think that the FA and England would benefit so much from bringing more ex-players into the set-up.

It’s good to talk: England were like a silent movie!

My expectations against Iceland were to get an early goal and maybe win 3 or 4-0. That would show our opponents that our earlier results were a bit unlucky. We missed chances in the first three games. Once Iceland scored their goals, we seemed to collapse. It was like a boxing match. We knocked them down and then they got up and knocked us down twice.

I remember playing in 1982, against France in the World Cup. We practised me doing a throw-on and Terry Butcher would flick it on. The goal we got was then on the right, Steve Coppell took the throw-on and Bryan Robson scored after 17 seconds.

England have been criticised for Iceland’s first goal, but you’ve got to give Iceland credit. They felt that they were in the match and it gave them the confidence to score the second goal. But I would criticise us defensively there: Joe Hart should have saved the shot. We should have got a block in, before Hart needed to save the shot. Overall, it was poor defensively.

There is a lot of pressure on players at times. Hart is a fantastic goalkeeper, but both goals were to his left-hand side. Goalkeepers tend to have a favourite side and now Hart appears to have a weakness to his left.

I used to play in goal as a youngster and Gordon Banks was my hero. That famous save he made from Pele, at the 1970 World Cup, was on Banks’s favourite side. I picked that up as a youngster.

I still thought “we can win this” but as time went on I thought “we’re not doing our jobs”. Everyone seemed to look at each other, but not say anything. It was like a silent movie! We all know – not just football, not just sport – there needs to be talking. There was no talking, no arguments. If you put all that together, that’s a major problem for winning a football match.

For instance, when Wayne Rooney first came on the scene, as a 17 year-old, he’d get booked making a silly challenge trying to win the ball back. He’d get criticised, but for me that showed passion. Against Iceland, I didn’t see that in Wayne Rooney.

Rooney did well in the first three games, he controlled the second half against Wales. As the captain, he should start the banter on the pitch, the talking. Terry Butcher would have been shouting “Come on lads!” When the fans go quiet, you know you’re not playing well. I think Rooney’s international future is in the balance, in my opinion.

Joe Hart is a very experienced goalkeeper, but I didn’t hear him shout “Let’s get it forward”. There was no enthusiasm. I’d expect the players on the bench, in the technical area, to get shouting, for something to happen. But the spirit was dead. It was very frustrating watching it.

As a player myself, if I wasn’t doing it, I’d expect Terry Butcher or Bryan Robson to be shouting at me. That’s what every England fan would have been expecting too, but it wasn’t happening.

Me with Glenn Hoddle - in our younger days!

Me with Glenn Hoddle – in our younger days!

The lack of a mid-season break is no excuse. I don’t think there is any excuse for the performance. Every single player must look at themselves and ask “did I do my job”? I think the answer would be “no”, by everyone. That goes for the staff as well.

There’s been talk of the players lacking belief in the management and Hodgson has denied this, but the management should know about that, from the training pitch and around the hotel. You’ve got to learn about people, what gives them that little gee-up. If you do the little things in life, the bad things won’t happen.

You’ve got to know each other. I roomed with Graham Rix and he was quite a close friend with me, during my time with Arsenal and England. He’d know how many sugars I’d want in my tea. We could tell each other where we were going wrong. In the Iceland game, that spirit was vanishing as the game went on.

Hodgson has now gone and the FA has got to make a proper decision, for a manager who can get the best out of the players, which Hodgson didn’t do in this tournament. Whoever they go for, the new manager has got to be honest and open. The FA has to take responsibility too. It’s a massive group effort. If they rush into an appointment, it’s a mistake in my opinion.

I would love to be involved in some way, as I believe I have something to offer. I’m in a very good place now and people keep telling me I have something to offer. I have the knowledge to help. I’ve been studying football and I hope my website has opened people’s eyes. If I can help in any way, I’d love to help.

Gareth Southgate appears to be the current favourite and he coached the England under-21s to win the Toulon Tournament this summer. No disrespect to him, but I don’t think he is good enough to manage the full England international team. I look to the FA to appoint someone with presence, to make players perform, in every international.

We need someone who can get us to focus and know those players, inside out. The staff as well. The staff are just as important as the manager, in my opinion. We need someone with a football brain. ‘Should I start him, or have him as a sub’? The likes of Bill Shankly and Brian Clough had the power to make players perform how they needed. We need someone in that mould, plus the football brain of Terry Venables.

I’m saying Glenn Hoddle, Bryan Robson, Terry Butcher – get them together and between the three of them, they would bring success from the very talented group of players that we have. I know some fans might say “he would say that” and that those three might not be well-regarded as having been successful managers, but I know what they have got.

When you get them together, the FA needs to tell them what they want. The conversation should be intense. Not just an hour, but a lot longer. The FA should get them in a nice restaurant, have a nice meal and a nice chat and get to learn about those people. The FA now has to make the right decision. P.S. if you need any help, just give me a call!

This is just the beginning for England

There was a lot of talk about England changing six players, but Roy obviously felt that he wanted to change the full-backs and we were quite good defensively. He wanted to be a bit more aggressive too, with Wilshere, and I thought he played quite well. But the changes didn’t make any difference to the result. The way Slovakia defended, their fans will be over the moon.

But on the other hand, we qualified. The most exciting thing for me is that I think there are more exciting things to come for us in this tournament. This is just the beginning. When you play in the group stages, you know you need to get through the group. When it’s the knockout stages, you know you have to score to be sure of getting through.

I don’t think this England team will be nervous. The players have experience now. Roy will know that we need to step things up a little bit and put the ball in the back of the net. The experience of the last three games will be fantastic for the players.

When I looked at the team and the performance, I thought the understanding between the lads was very good. There’s improvement needed, to make the special chances, so that Kane and Sturridge and Vardy and Rashford can put the ball in the back of the net. But the players are all aware of what they have to do.

Over the next few days the players will look over the videos and watch the games and talk during training, to try different things. It’s not about fitness now. I don’t think they’ve played badly in any way. I don’t think we played badly against Russia. We could have won three games on the trot. All we have to do is step up, tiny little things. They are all small things, but they are all very important.

The right-backs have been our best players so far. We are an attacking side. Defensively we haven’t had too many problems. We’re getting the full-backs forward, but we need to avoid getting too crowded. We need to allow a little more space around our attacking options. We just need to step up our decisions in the final third. Roy and his coaches need to talk to the players, to help them to learn about each other a little bit better.

You have to work hard on the training ground

You have to work hard on the training ground

Communication and information are very important. I’ve said it from day one – we have the talent to go all the way in this competition. Like in all walks of life, we need a little bit of luck. In all three games, the players have put the effort in. I really feel so confident. I think we have nothing to fear. I’m looking forward to watching the next game. As a squad, if we keep doing what we’ve been doing, we’re going to go a long way.

Being mentally tired can affect players on the pitch. That’s where the manager and the staff should notice these things in training. If Kane for example looks tired, you have to be honest. “Vardy, you’re playing. Harry, I can see you need a rest”. These things must be picked up very quickly. It’s part of being the manager and the staff to pick these things up. These things give you the edge.

Gary Lineker is a fantastic example. He was a terrible trainer, but he enjoyed playing and enjoyed scoring goals! Tiny things can be massive at international level. At club level, there’s time to know the players. There’s less time to know these things at international level. It’s important for the staff to see if players are happy. You want your international players to go out there full of confidence, ready to do their job.

The whole England squad should feel confident and relaxed. Whoever we get in the next round, they should fear us. They might say “Well, England have only scored a few goals”, but they will be scared about us. Other teams will be worried about us. Roy should say “Go out and do what you’ve been doing in the last three games – and score a few goals!”

There’s been nothing wrong with the last three performances. The England squad we’ve got are good enough to go through to the final of the competition.

This tournament is there for England to win it

The win over Wales was about the result on the day. There must have been a lot of pressure on both teams. The result was outstanding.

There was a lot of unnecessary chat before the game, from the managers and players. Coleman said “it’s just another match”. For me, that’s rubbish. It’s one of the biggest games against your big rivals. I know what it’s like, I made my debut against Wales!

I don’t think Bale’s free-kick was special. He got a lot of power behind it. I don’t think Joe Hart was expecting it. In my opinion, he should have saved it. The work-rate of both teams was exceptional, both sets of fans would have been proud of that.

England were on top before Wales scored. Every single English fan was happy to see Vardy on. It was a great decision to bring on Vardy and Sturridge. Roy would have been thinking “We’ve got to score two goals here”. One goal and you’re on a knife-edge then, it had to be two goals.

The lad Sterling, I’d like to stick up for him a bit. They haven’t given him a job to do, it’s like they sent him out and said “just go and play”. In my opinion, he doesn’t have to beat people, the manager could just tell him to get the ball into the box, as many times as possible.

I don’t think his miss was nerves, he just missed it. He’s got to be told his job. Just get crosses in. He hasn’t done that in either game, which makes me think he hasn’t been told to do that.

The changes made England a better team. Rooney ran the game in the second half, everything came through him. The England team knew they needed to score two. Wales didn’t stop trying, but there was a bit of luck with Vardy’s goal, as some linesmen would have given offside. We took control in the second half and it was a fantastic win for England.

They proved on that day and in the first half against Russia that this tournament is there for England to win it. Looking at other teams and their players, I think we’ve got the best group. And I’d rarely say that! I don’t want to put pressure on the players, don’t get me wrong! I want them to go out and play in the way I can see them performing, in my eyes.

England kept going, they had belief that we could get the second. Rashford showed intelligence for a young kid, with great runs. We had great positivity and if we can keep that going for the whole tournament, what a chance we have.

I think Walker has been fantastic and been a great credit to his team. I was saying during the game “Get it out to Walker”. Wales did their homework and realised what a threat he was and tried to stop him going down that right-hand side. And when Sturridge came on, we became more of a threat down the left-hand side.

Sturridge had that little bit of magic and all of a suddenly he squeezed the ball into the net, despite no space whatsoever. It was a fantastic goal. English fans don’t want be over-confident, but they must be looking forward to Monday’s match with Slovakia. That must be great for England supporters.

My expectation is another tremendous effort from our lads. The team spirit is very good and I expect the same effort as from the last two games, as the same effort will be good enough. I’ve had my say, I’ll let Roy pick the team. Let him pick the team he thinks will do the job. Then there’s no pressure on me! I hope Wales qualify as well, to protect me when I go to Wales!

England prove that tiny things can win you matches

I thought it was a very good England performance against Russia. You rely on individual players doing their job. If eleven players do their job, you become a team.

We made chances to win the game easily. At the end of the day, we didn’t take our chances. If we had, we would have won it.

Walker I thought was outstanding. He was causing so many problems down the right-hand side. As the captain, I’d want us to get the ball to him.

He was great on the night, he showed his class and his experience. I thought maybe we could have got him the ball a bit more.

I thought Danny Rose played very very well. He had Sterling on that side and that stopped him getting forward as much as Walker, but I thought both full-backs played exceptionally well.

I thought Dier played his holding role very well. He passed it, he intercepted, he got back when he needed to. For a young kid, 22 years of age, he showed a lot of calmness, all over the pitch. I’d agree with the TV coverage, he looks a future captain.

In attack, it was obvious to anyone that Kane didn’t have his best game. If Vardy had played, the combination of the two of them would have caused problems for Russia. It would have made it easier for the midfield to get the ball to them. It would have given the midfield more options.

Vardy would have done the running. It was one of those games when Kane couldn’t get involved. I don’t think we got enough into him. The two together, they could have caused the Russians a lot of problems.

Lallana first half was very very good for the team but went a bit dead in the second half. Sterling was very quick, but that’s where you need your captain. Robbo would have said: “When you check back on your right foot, cross it”. If Sterling does that five times in the first half and five times in the second, he’d have done his job.

It’s important that the manager can get his message across to the players. The advantage of a captain on the pitch is to tell players what is expected of them. If the players know the ball is coming in, they can make a run and know they have a chance. That for me was a tiny downside on the performance – and tiny things can win you matches.

Me and former England captain David Beckham, in Arsenal's directors' box

Me with former England captain David Beckham, in Arsenal’s directors’ box

For example, if I let the winger get a cross in and they get a chance, Shilts would shout across at me “Ken, don’t let them get a cross”. My job is to stop that winger getting a cross in, or creating something, for that team.

I talked in my first England blog about having something special in reserve. Something like a planned free-kick to use when you need it, but not to waste it if you’re already winning. At 0-0, we needed something special and Dier came up with it.

I was surprised to see Kane taking so many set-pieces, not just the free-kicks but the corners. He’s a goalscorer. Kane shouldn’t take corners, end of. He should be in the box, getting a bit of space off the defender and knocking the ball into the back of the net. Slovakia got a free-kick against Wales and just took it. I think even the ref was shocked! It doesn’t give defenders time to get ready.

I’d repeat, this is just for the England players and fans: we don’t want the opposition knowing what we have up our sleeve. As an example, when I’m now on stage, if the audience are enjoying me telling my old jokes and people are laughing, I save my new ones! Keep something special, for when you need it. I think my old teammate Glenn Hoddle mentioned this on ITV.

Defending a late lead is difficult, but you mustn’t let balls go into your box. Outside your box, shouldn’t be a problem. Most shots should go wide or over. Nothing is perfect. You can’t stop genius or luck, but you can work at this on the training pitch.

The attitude and the same performance, with a few little touches, would be great against Wales. And don’t give Bale any free-kicks around the box! These are all small things, but all so important.

England can learn from Leicester – and need something special in reserve

I’ve got a good feeling about England’s chances at Euro 2016. At the end of the day, it’s about the players needing to perform and do their job on the pitch.

If all the young talent put their individual ability into the team spirit, we could surprise people. The players can take heart from Leicester’s performances and gel together.

We need to be able to surprise the opposition, because they will look to surprise us. We must be ready. Do not be afraid to try something a bit different on the pitch. That can win you the game.

For instance, if a team have a certain way of playing we must be ready to cope with that and anything else they have that’s a bit unexpected.

We need to be prepared for free-kicks. For and against. For, it’s important to have something up our sleeves when it comes to free-kicks. Against, we must know how to deal with them from opponents and be ready for any surprises.

You need to know when to use something special and when to hold it back. If we are leading 2-0, we do not use our special free-kick. We save it for another day. If we are losing 2-0, we bring our special free-kick into play, to get back into the match and give the opposition something to think about.

Winning is about more than just the team on the pitch. It’s coaches, management, staff, the people watching on the bench. If the kit man has an idea, try it.

The opposition will have been watched. Do we notice any changes? We must get that across to the players as soon as possible. It could be small things, but they might make all the difference.

You need talkers on the pitch to be aware. We need to be aware of where they can hurt you and where we can hurt them. Don Howe used to say this. That’s when the players and the staff become a very big part of the team.

Small things can make all the difference

Small things can make all the difference

Terry Venables would have free-kicks planned, for all positions, for all over the pitch. Even from throw-ons – which is as good as a pass by the way – in our own half. We would get a shot, a cross, a switch of play, or purely get into the other half of the pitch.

All the players knew what to do and what position to be in. It was planned that well. We got many great results from doing this well, when I was at Crystal Palace.

Players don’t always do what you expect them to. At school, an opponent went to tread on my foot, which made me look down, but he slapped me around the head. I learnt from that very quickly! As Bruce Lee used to say, don’t take your eye off the opponent!

It’s really important for players not to lose their temper or get wound up. This will go on. Dele Alli could be a target. It’s easier said than done and it doesn’t mean you don’t tackle, but the mistake you make could cost your team the result.

I played for England against Morocco at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico where Ray Wilkins got sent off. Ray got frustrated and threw the ball at the referee. Although Maradona got away with pushing the ball into the goal with his hand! The best way to wind up an opponent is to play better than him.

By the way – this is just for England fans, players and staff. Don’t let the opposition read this please! Enjoy the tournament. I’m looking forward to it and I’d like everyone to enjoy the challenge. KWS

(My nickname at Arsenal was Kenny White Shorts, as I never got my shorts dirty!)