World Cup 2018: How Royal Marines prepared England"s stars for the big stage

The secret behind England"s successful run at the World Cup may have been revealed after new images showed their gruelling training with the Royal Marines.

The Three Lions went on a top-secret trip to a commando training centre in Lympstone, Devon as they prepared for the tournament in Russia.

England manager Gareth Southgate gathered his players and support staff at St George"s Park football centre in June 2017, where they were told they were leaving for a surprise 48-hour trip.

Raheem Sterling (C), with Dele Alli and John Stones (R). Pic: Royal Navy
Image: Raheem Sterling (C), with Dele Alli and John Stones (R). Pic: Royal Navy


​​​​​The squad had their phones, jewellery and belongings removed and were put into uniform before being taken to a training area where they were taught how to survive in the field.

They spent the first night living in woods and searching for their own food.

Dele Alli prepares to bed down. Pic: Royal Navy
Image: Dele Alli prepares to bed down. Pic: Royal Navy


The next morning they were taken on the Royal Marines" endurance course, with a punishing two miles of tunnels.

Southgate has credited the military training with improving the bond between the England players at this year"s World Cup.

Pic: Royal Navy
Image: The squad in training. Pic: Royal Navy


He also revealed that since the experience, the squad no longer use their phones when they have dinner together.

Southgate said: "We wanted to come and put the guys into a different environment, something they weren"t expecting.

The squad listens intently to the instructor. Pic: Royal Navy
Image: The squad listens intently to the instructor. Pic: Royal Navy


"The marines talk about a dislocated expectation, and that was part of the theme of the camp - how will we be adaptable in moments of difficulty for us as a team?

"We wanted to expose the guys to an elite environment with one of the elite forces in the world. We wanted them to see that there"s another world out there."

Colonel Mike Tanner, the training centre"s commandant, praised the efforts of the England players.

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"They threw themselves into every challenge with enthusiasm and good humour," he said.

"The Royal Marines and England football team have much in common and the opportunity to share experience was valuable for us all."

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