Long-standing England midfielders Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard were asked by manager Roy Hodgson to speak to the Three Lions players and staff ahead of the nation’s second World Cup match of the tournament.
Facing certain elimination with a second loss after falling to Italy in the opener, Hodgson thoughts their words could help spark England in its Thursday match against Uruguay (which should have Luis Suarez but will be missing two key players).
Plus, there is a certain “warn the youngins exactly how hellish the English media can make their lives” factor at play.
“It wasn’t to scare any of the lads but a wake-up call to everyone – staff and players,” captain Gerrard said.
“I have had that feeling of going out of a major tournament. I know what that feeling is about and that is the feeling I don’t want come Friday morning.
“A lot of people in the dressing room already know that,” said Gerrard. “But we have a few young lads and it was important for them to realise what is at stake and how important this game is.
“There is no hiding place for a player when you go out of a tournament. You go home earlier than you expect. It can be tough as a player and it can take an awful long time to get over it.”
The idea that any World Cup player needs to hear such a thing given the circumstances is unnecessary, but Hodgson feels the need to push every media and motivational button possible.
England hasn’t been eliminated in the group stage during its last six World Cups and last two European championships. Uruguay lost its tournament opener against Costa Rica, the CONCACAF nation set to square off with the Italians on Friday.