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News

England bring back Manchester City psychologist for T20 World Cup

Matthew Mott wants players to be "more vulnerable" after becoming "insular" during 50-over World Cup

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
23-May-2024
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola kisses the Premier League trophy, May 19, 2024

David Young has worked with Pep Guardiola's side during a period of unprecedented success  •  AMA/Getty Images

Matthew Mott believes it is time his England team "get the mojo back" ahead of the T20 World Cup - and has hired Manchester City's psychologist to help his players be more emotionally vulnerable if they come under pressure in the Caribbean.
David Young, who was previously with England from 2016 to 2020, has worked with City during an unprecedented period of success, with the club recently becoming the first team to win four Premier League titles in a row. He has been brought back as a consultant on a short-term basis ahead of next month's World Cup, with City's approval.
Jos Buttler was influential in the decision and has previously credited Young for helping him perform in the 2019 World Cup final. Young joined the England squad in Leeds ahead of their washed-out first T20I against Pakistan on Wednesday and will link up with them again in Cardiff on Monday, after helping City prepare for Saturday's FA Cup final against Manchester United.
"He's previously been with the team and he's already been a great ally in messages back to me, making sure my messages are clear," Mott, England's white-ball coach, said. "It's always good to have someone who's a little bit removed from the squad to make sure you're landing your messages… He's still doing other roles but we've got him for this series, and the start of the World Cup as well."
England's management are trying to learn from the mistakes they made at last year's 50-over World Cup, when they were knocked out at the group stage and won three of their nine games - two of which came after their elimination. Mott described the tournament as "death by a thousand cuts" and said: "When you've had the kick in the pants like we've had, you can't just go 'business as usual'. You have to redefine how you go as a team.
"As a group, we've made a commitment to be a bit more open in and around our training sessions, to help each other out a bit more. In India, all of us were guilty of being a bit insular, and trying to problem-solve ourselves. We've made a commitment to open up and be a bit more vulnerable as a group so that we're helping each other."
Mott has been watching the IPL from afar and said that England could learn from Royal Challengers Bengaluru's winning streak to qualify for the play-offs. "The way they had nothing to lose and came out and played a different brand of cricket - could we have done that earlier? Maybe, yes. On reflection, we didn't react as we should have after the start."
Eoin Morgan, Buttler's predecessor as captain, was sharply critical of England's performance in India and hinted there was "something else going on" in their dressing-room beyond collective underperformance. Mott - whose first series as coach was Morgan's last as captain - said the pair have not spoken since, but that he respects Morgan and his opinion.
"Family and friends got more upset about it than I did," he said. "Initially, of course you take it a bit personally but he's there to have an opinion… All I'll say is that only the people within the dressing-room can fully understand what's going on. Once you leave the dressing-room, you might hear titbits of stuff, but you don't really know how the team's operating."
Buttler suggested this week that he needs to give certain players more "clarity" than he did in India, and Mott said the squad would drive that change: "My style of coaching has always been more of a cooperative approach - keep asking questions on what does their game look like at its best, and if they're veering away from that, to drag them back on track.
"We feel like it's time to get the mojo back and go out and really express ourselves as a team. I think T20, as opposed to ODI, is so much clearer in the way the players can approach it. We've seen in the IPL, you have to go out and really take the game on from the start. Most teams are going to go that way, so it's going to be an exciting World Cup."
England will confirm their World Cup squad to the ICC before Saturday's second T20I at Edgbaston and will name the same 15 players that formed the provisional squad, despite both Liam Livingstone and Mark Wood carrying niggles. "Probably not for the next game at this stage, but definitely later in the series, they'll be up for selection," Mott said.
Jofra Archer's return was delayed by the rain on Wednesday and he is likely to play at least two of the remaining three T20Is. Mott said that England are "pretty confident" that they know their best XI for the Caribbean, and said he would be comfortable taking Tom Hartley to the World Cup even if he does not win his first T20I cap in this series: "He's played a lot of high-quality cricket in the last 12 months."

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98