England players were understood to be thrilled with the impromptu gig from The A Team singer

Credit: Reuters

England players started preparation for next week’s blockbuster Euro clash against Germany with a surprise live concert from Ed Sheeran at their St George’s Park headquarters.

Gareth Southgate’s squad were given their only day off during Euro 2020 on the day after their win over the Czech Republic and had the musician as a guest as they found out their opponents for the last-16.

Sheeran, who has an association with football through sponsoring his boyhood club Ipswich Town, gave an outdoor acoustic performance with players sat around him after being given permission to be part of the squad bubble.

England players were understood to be thrilled with the impromptu gig arranged for them. Under normal circumstances they would have seen their families during the tournament day off but under Covid-19 safety measures could not see their loved ones.

Some went for a round of golf at the JCB Golf and Country Club in Uttoxeter near to their SGP base in Burton, in their only chance to relax before the build-up intensifies to facing old rivals Germany on Tuesday.

In the evening the squad watched Group F unravel as England’s opponents continued to change throughout a topsy-turvy evening.

Having Sheeran at the training base was one of the touches Southgate and his team have introduced to make the tournament as enjoyable as possible during a month where they are restricted by safety measures.

They were given a personal touch in their rooms at SGP with family pictures hung on a washing-line display on their walls. They have also had facilities to keep them occupied like pitch-and-putt golf and a basketball court.

Southgate’s squad has been together for more than three weeks now as they prepared for the tournament near their friendly matches at Middlesbrough, then moved to SGP for the tournament.