Southgate will not bombard England with last-minute instructions
Gareth Southgate will not risk throwing his youthful England side off their game when they face Tunisia in World Cup Group G on Monday by loading them with last-minute tactical information.
The Three Lions head into a major tournament with greater clarity around their approach than at any time in the modern era, with Southgate committed to a fluent and flexible 3-1-4-2 setup.
The former Aston Villa centre-back starred before his penalty shootout heartache in England's run to the semi-finals of Euro 1996 and was also part of squads at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups and Euro 2000.
Having the current England squad so well-drilled in terms of their chosen approach means Southgate believes he can avoid some of last-minute errors made by the managers he played under.
"I am conscious of that when I was a player, there were moments before the game when I thought, 'all the manager can do now is f*** it up for me and put me off my game' - because I was ready and didn't want to hear too much more," he told reporters.
"I think the boys are ready. We tried to put in as much tactical information in the early part of the week so that the last session was about enjoyment, feeling the ball and being physically ready for the game.
"There will be some key messages, but it will really just be around transferring what they are doing every day because the level they are playing at every day is high - and is getting better all the time."
Only Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling from Southgate's expected started XI have previous World Cup experience and the manager urged this England generation to play with freedom and avoid the regrets that plagued many of their much-vaunted predecessors.
"For me, coaching is about allowing others to be as good as they might be," he added. "We have lads that are so exciting and I want them to go into this tournament and really go for it.
"I want them to be as good as they may be and not go back [home] and think, 'I wish I had been a bit braver and tried something and been prepared to give the ball away'."