England football team a tight-knit group - Milner

England midfielder Adam Lallana (centre) during training
Adam Lallana (centre) made his England debut in November 2013 against Chile

England duo James Milner and Adam Lallana insist there are no factions in the national team's dressing room.

Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen said this week there was a "clique" and a "bullying culture" in the national cricket team before his sacking.

But Manchester City's Milner said: "A lot of the players have played together at club level or in the youth set-up and it's a tight-knit group."

"The atmosphere has always been brilliant," added Liverpool's Lallana.

"With Stevie Gerrard as captain and with Wayne Rooney now, there's always a great feeling."

BBC Sport's Ben Smith:
James Milner smiled broadly as he was asked about the @BoringMilnerexternal-link parody Twitter account and then laughed it off as "a bit of fun". But that aside, this was Milner at his business-like best, he's a safe and senior pair of hands when it comes to these matters. Although it was interesting to see him admit that the players hadn't and wouldn't forget about their failure at the World Cup in Brazil last summer.

England are preparing to play San Marino at Wembley on Thursday and away against Estonia on Sunday in qualifying for Euro 2016.

Roy Hodgson's side opened their qualifying account with victory over Switzerland on the back of criticism following their dismal showing at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil during the summer.

And Milner said that going into games like the Switzerland match is "when you need your team spirit".

"There are always people sat for a long time after dinner chatting away and enjoying each other's company and that's what you need going into tournaments and coming out of bad times in tournaments," said Milner.

"The talk around the England team wasn't great going into the Switzerland game and people saying what a difficult game it was, and that's when you need your team spirit to come through to go there and get a result and we did that and played very well.

"Teams with less spirit and less togetherness might not have done that."

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