Prince of Wales tells England football team ‘the country is behind you’
The Prince of Wales has told the England football team “the country is behind you” during a surprise visit to their training base before the World Cup.
England are Wales’ opponent in Group B of the tournament and the sides will play each other on 29 November.
The Prince of Wales visited the England squad at St George’s Park ahead of the team’s trip to the World Cup in Qatar.
William joined a private team meeting and presented the players with their jersey numbers on Monday evening.
Video footage from the event showed William posing for photos with the players.
He told the squad: “I’m really here to point out that the rest of the country is behind you.
“We are all rooting for you, enjoy it.”
— England (@England) November 15, 2022
Last week the Prince of Wales had confessed that it was hard being an England fan because his hopes were continually dashed.
Prince William said that he found the disappointment of being an England fan hard to handle as the euphoria came “crashing down” following the inevitable defeat.
But he described his fellow England supporters as a “family within a family”.
William was taking part in a special episode of Games of Fives, an online discussion show about fan culture, alongside England captain Harry Kane and midfielder Declan Rice.
Speaking of being an England fan, the Prince of Wales said: “You learn by playing a number of times, and many other things in life, that disappointment is part of life.
“How you handle it is crucial. Handling some of those really disappointing England results in the past, that was hard. The same euphoria that we had good comes crashing down and whittles away.
“Suddenly normal life just gets back on again and it’s like, where did that all go? Was that real? How do I get that feeling back? Football has that ability to just put it all on a plate for you and then suddenly just take it all away and go until next time….”
The Prince of Wales said that supporting England had been part of his formative experiences.
“Quite a strong memory of early days was donning an England shirt and going down the pub with my mates and watching England play in big tournaments,” he said.
“When Wayne Rooney appeared on scene, that was a big moment for me growing up.
“There was something very powerful, really interesting about how Wayne played and the steel he brought to the England team.”
Prince William has previously confirmed that he was too busy to go to Qatar to support either Wales or England at the World Cup.
Despite being the Prince of Wales and president of the English FA his household said that his diary was too full to attend.
However, they said that his office may look at making arrangements if England manager Gareth Southgate’s team reach the final.
His presence could have drawn criticism over Qatar’s human rights record and criminalisation of LGBTQ+ relationships. His absence will also avoid raising the awkward issue of whether he is there to support Wales or England, who are playing each other on 29 November in Group B.
A Kensington Palace spokesman said the prince had no plans to attend the World Cup, which begins on November 20, adding “we hadn’t planned to go due to the busy winter schedule”.
He and the Princess of Wales do have a number of engagements throughout the World Cup, including a flight to Boston, USA to hand out the Earthshot Prize on December 2.
He supported the England women’s team during their victorious run in the Euro 2022 tournament and presented the players with their winning medals after they beat Germany in the final at Wembley.
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