England manager Gareth Southgate has revealed that his squad has returned from a top-secret trip to the Royal Marines’ Commando Training Centre.

The Three Lions’ preparations for this month’s games against Scotland and France are due to officially begin on Tuesday.

However, the majority of the group reported at St. George’s Park earlier than usual, on Friday morning. It soon became clear, though, that this would be no usual training weekend.

Southgate gathered his players and support staff in one of the national football centre’s dressing rooms, where a member of the Royal Marines informed them that they would immediately relocate to Devon for the next 48 hours.

Upon arrival at the training centre, which is located between Exeter and Exmouth, the group immediately changed into their ‘rig’ – or, for the uninitiated, military training uniforms.

The following days would see them experience an array of activities that Royal Marines recruits undertake, including a night camping on Woodbury Common.

“We wanted to come and put the guys into a different environment, something they weren’t expecting,” Southgate explained.

“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?

“There were some team objectives around pushing themselves beyond where they thought they could go and knowing you don’t want to let any of your team-mates down.

“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.

“These guys represent Queen and country, and we do the same – but the consequences of failure for the Royal Marines are far higher. That gives us a good context and comparison.”