The Football Association has so far declined to comment after it emerged that some England players were required to take sleeping pills having taken caffeine tablets before Tuesday's postponed match against Poland.
The players had changed and were ready to go out to warm-up on Tuesday, with some of them having taken the tablets when they thought the game would go ahead. Roy Hodgson said that he had felt his team were “sharp and lively” then but that mood had changed by the time they came to play the rearranged World Cup qualifier at 5pm local time yesterday.
England were sluggish throughout the 1-1 draw in Warsaw, lucky to leave with a point. England captain Steven Gerrard said that they would not use the postponement – and poor pitch conditions – as an excuse for what was an under-par performance.
He said: “When you’re fired-up, pumped-up, you’ve had your massages and you’re ready to go, that’s not ideal but we’re professionals. We’re playing at the top level and we had to get ourselves up for this but I didn’t think we were totally at the races.
“I slept fine. I won’t use the delay and conditions as an excuse. The reason we didn’t win was because we didn’t pass it when we went in front.”
It is not clear which players took the tablets, but two former England internationals have come out today to defend the practice of taking sleeping pills the night before a match.
Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, who has 81 England caps, said on Twitter: "What's all the fuss with caffeine/sleeping tablets?? Players have used them for yrs before + after games without any fuss.."
Everton captain Phil Neville claimed it was normal to take sleeping pills the night before a match and it would not have affected England's performance in Warsaw.
He wrote on Twitter: "Throughout my career players have taken sleeping pills night be4 game and caffeine tablets day of game never been a problem in media be4."Reuse content