Harry Maguire insists there are no cliques in the England camp as the squad look to move on from Monday’s spat between Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez.
Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate has prided himself on removing any lingering issues between players from rival clubs when they meet up for international duty.
But a fracas in the week leading up to England’s 1000th fixture – a Euro 2020 qualifier at home to Montenegro where a draw would be enough to secure progression to the finals – saw questions asked as to whether those divides had returned.
Sterling’s exchange with Liverpool defender Gomez less than 24 hours after the pair clashed towards the end of Manchester City’s 3-1 loss to the Premier League leaders has dominated the build up to the landmark fixture.
The Football Association announced late on Monday night that Sterling would not be considered to face Montenegro as a result, with the forward making private and public apologies after emotions got the better of him.
With club rivalry spilling out into international week, suggestions that splits in the camp may exist were extinguished by Maguire on the eve of the game.
“No, everybody mixes,” the Manchester United defender replied when asked if there were any cliques in the current squad.
“I think you’ve seen how good the unity in the squad is over the last couple of years.
“It’s been a good two years and the group has grown together. We continue to keep on growing and that’s really important.
“No, definitely no cliques, we all share tables and share jokes and laughs together.
“I think you’ve seen in Raheem’s statement (issued after the clash with Gomez) that he’s brought out, that the emotion probably got the better of him.
“He’s apologised and like I’ve said and like Gareth has said, we’ve moved on from it now, we’re not looking at that.
“We’ve moved on since Monday and we’ve trained hard; fully focused on the game because it’s a big game. We want to qualify for the Euros. And that’s what we’re aiming to do now.”
Securing just a point at home to Montenegro – so far winless in Group A – would be enough to achieve the goal set out by Maguire, who will then turn his attention to a tournament based largely at home.
“It would be really special to play in a major tournament and walking out at Wembley would be something that you dream of,” he added.
“People say it would give us a little advantage as well. We know that the crowd get right behind us at Wembley and the support over the last few years – especially since I’ve been playing – has been unbelievable.
“It’s a big game tomorrow night and one that we’re all looking forward to and we feel prepared for.”
Stay updated with the latest news, gossip and football stories by following us @Football_P