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England players are currently practicing penalties for the World Cup without a goalkeeper

Daniel Marland

Published 
| Last updated 

England players are currently practicing penalties for the World Cup without a goalkeeper

England players are practising penalties without a goalkeeper to avoid another shootout heartache at a major tournament.

The Three Lions lost last summer's European Championship final to Italy from the spot.

Manager Gareth Southgate is keen to avoid his players losing confidence ahead of their Group B opener against Iran on Monday.

He believes that could happen if his goalkeepers are saving too many spot-kicks in training. That's why he's devised a new tactic for penalty training.

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Instead of actual goalkeepers, England players are using skill nets which force players to hit corners of the net.

England and Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale told The Sun: "It can become detrimental if they are taking them against goalkeepers because we then start to know where they are going.

"If I know where you are going seven times out of ten and I start cheating and going early and start saving them, you might start worrying about it.

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"We have something which is called a skills net where the corners are open. At the moment the lads are just working on technique.

"Everybody can take penalties, it is just those fine pressure margins which we can’t recreate out there, unfortunately."

England players receiving instructions from assistant manager Steve Holland in Qatar. (Image Credit: Alamy)
England players receiving instructions from assistant manager Steve Holland in Qatar. (Image Credit: Alamy)

England's last shootout win was their first at a World Cup. They managed to overcome Colombia in the last 16 four years ago en route to the semi-finals.

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During that tournament in Russia, Southgate had a different method of training. He forced his players to replicate the long walk to the spot before facing a goalkeeper.

That's changed after last summer's heartache. The 52-year-old is instead focused on his players being in the right headspace should games need to be settled via penalties.

Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka missed from the spot against Italy and were racially abused online shortly after.

Southgate speaking to his players during last summer's European Championship final. (Image Credit: Alamy)
Southgate speaking to his players during last summer's European Championship final. (Image Credit: Alamy)
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Back in June, Southgate admitted the fear of his players being racially abused weighs on his mind when making decisions.

He conceded: "We’ve got 55 years of talking about penalties and everything else. So we’ve now got another layer that’s going to make it extremely difficult for us to win anything.

"But indirectly, we have created another layer of difficulty in overcoming a penalty shoot-out. I have got to take all of those things into consideration and it is incredibly complex."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: England, Gareth Southgate, Football World Cup

Daniel Marland
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