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Martin Glenn believes psychologists can help to improve England's fortunes

Published 26/10/2016

Wayne Rooney has not seen regular action for England or Manchester United this season
Wayne Rooney has not seen regular action for England or Manchester United this season

Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn believes England have struggled with psychological problems at major tournaments and thinks instilling a club mentality could hold the key to success.

England's record in competitions makes grim reading. Since winning the World Cup in 1966 they have reached just two semi-finals - the 1990 World Cup and the European Championships six years later. Few of the exits have been as humiliating as that to Iceland at Euro 2016 this summer.

It has long been a criticism of the national team that the players fail to perform as they do for their clubs so regularly and Glenn believes the problem is mental, rather than down to a lack of talent.

Following successful trials with psychological support for England's other teams, the men's senior team now receives such coaching and Glenn insisted the issue can be fixed in the future.

He said: "We have got a lot more talented players now, compared to say 20 years ago, but the issue seems to be getting that club spirit translated into the national team.

"If you look at what we have done with the other England teams for a while now, we have had specific psychological support to toughen them up for a tournament situation - and it has worked.

"We haven't been doing it with the senior men's team but we are now and perhaps that togetherness and fear factor is the missing link, how you react as a group when things aren't perhaps going your way.

"If you eliminate the fear factor...when things go against you, you can adapt on the pitch. We saw it against Iceland. We were more than capable of beating Iceland but when things didn't go our way you could actually sense players freezing up.

"Take the women's World Cup. We went there and lost our first game but ended up finishing third. That team went with a couple of psychologists to work on that mental resilience.

"It is very fixable, provided that we are serious and deliberate about trying to fix it and don't just wish it to happen."

Gareth Southgate, currently in interim charge of England following Sam Allardyce's departure at the end of September, has employed the methods during his two matches at the helm.

His claims to land the job on a permanent basis were strengthened by Glenn, who described the 46-year-old as a "credible candidate" - although the FA chief insisted Southgate's results in the forthcoming games against Scotland and Spain will have little bearing on his prospects.

"Gareth is a very progressive manager and he has welcomed all that," said Glenn. " He knows the international set-up, he's done great work with the under-21s and he wants to translate that across to the senior team.

``He will almost certainly be a candidate, and we hope he would put himself in the frame. Even if those two matches don't go so well, he would still be a credible candidate. You don't judge a good manager on the basis of one or two games."

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