The straw that Southgate is clutching to as he is forced to front up to indiscretion after indiscretion is the fact they are all taking place now rather than next May when the countdown to a long-awaited home finals really begins in earnest.
“If you are going into major tournaments and have those sort of incidents they can derail you,” Southgate warned.
“I have seen that in the past. That wasn’t the case ahead of russia we went in in a very calm state and that allowed us to focus on our football.
“I saw other teams not in that position and it had a real detrimental effect to how they were able to go into the tournament.
“What we did at the beginning of the week was have a good meeting with all of the players, I felt, where we talked about the responsibility of being an England player. How the spotlight is different.
“When the story was in the paper earlier of the week there was no mention of the clubs the players played for it was cast as England players even though they weren’t with us.
“That is the landscape we work in and players have to realise that whether they have one cap or 50 caps.
“There is a big thing for us that when these sort of things happen it takes a lot of focus and time and energy away from the team.
“We cannot afford that. We need the focus to be on the games. Players that have been within the camp are 100 per cent focused on the game, their attitude throughout the week has been excellent their approach to training has been top.”