As you would expect, captain Harry Kane leads the way by finding comfort in front of the camera and the crew. He begins by meticulously explaining why he likes what he’s wearing as he’s a ‘tracksuit guy’ before outlining the specific way in which he slicks back his hair. He speaks with care, consideration and a level of detail to ensure that, along with the help of Olivia, the photos look authentic and everyone feels at home in the rigid corporate room of St George’s Park which has just been overtaken by the sounds of J-Hus and Dave. Elsewhere, Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford and his mate down the M62, Trent Alexander-Arnold, taunt Chelsea’s Mason Mount through his first solo shot of the day. “Ooo, Mason. Ooo Mason’s a model.’ Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho beckons over The Blue’s Tammy Abraham to join him in front of the camera. ‘Come on, man. It’s a London thing. Get in here.’
Although St George’s Park is over seven years old, and stationed somewhere in the Bermuda triangle of middle England, it finally has an identity. The feeling of positivity, collective endeavour and pride is more of a unifying force than it has ever been. Especially between the players at national team level. That’s because the individual quirks, the private jokes and the natural reactions to the camera, lights and attention – both on and off the pitch –is what unites their personalities and makes them incredibly likable. Everything is natural. It is a feeling epitomised by the first time Marcus Rashford – the man who has played more games for the national side in a single year than anyone since 1966 – sees the new Nike England jersey.
“I like the badge move,” he beams. “It reminds me of the kits when I was a kid.” The exuberant reaction, the innocence of it, the playground spirit which surrounds him, perfectly illustrates how this new generation of England players – undeterred by years of scandal, failure and sensationalism – remain true to themselves.