Saturday 21 April 2018

Prankster gatecrashes England training, has drinks and kick-about with players

England physio Gary Lewin deals with a pitch invader during training
England physio Gary Lewin deals with a pitch invader during training

Sam Wallace

Roy Hodgson’s security staff had their first test of the Euro 2016 summer when a prankster wearing full kit ran onto the senior team’s pitch during the squad’s first training session - joined the players for the drinks break and even kicked a ball around.

The individual is understood to be the son of a Club Wembley member, and was one of a group of fans invited to St George’s Park to watch the training session – the first for the squad who only met up today.

He is said to have his own pirate radio station and the stunt was being filmed by an associate.

He came onto the training pitch wearing blue Adidas boots and a training jersey and ran over to join the players while they had a break for drinks. He was photographed standing next to Ross Barkley and, having been on the pitch, was only spotted by staff when he left to return to the stand. 

He was then pointed out by Hodgson’s chief physiotherapist Gary Lewin who brought over the head of security Tony Conniford. The intruder was approached once he was back in the stand among the other fans and escorted discreetly from where media and other fans were waiting.

His intrusion onto the pitch was spotted by photographers. He was wearing a wristband issued to all those supporters who were allowed into the stand by the main training pitch and had spent much of the day in St George’s Park wearing the full England kit.

At the end of the session many had pictures taken with players and got autographs.

The FA will now review their security measures and whether they can allow supporters in to watch training sessions.   In a statement the FA said: "'The person in question was the son of an invited Club Wembley member who had to follow a formal registration process on entry to St George's Park. The FA were aware of his identity and we will take appropriate action in due course as a result of this unacceptable behaviour.”

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