Prince William consoled England’s players with a locker-room pep talk minutes after their frustrating draw — which felt more like a defeat — against Denmark on Thursday.

The royal, who is first in line to the British throne, was invited in by head coach Gareth Southgate after the team returned from the field in Frankfurt, several of them thoroughly dejected after a second-straight substandard performance.

“He was just trying to keep us all positive,” midfielder Adam Wharton told reporters.

Maintaining an uplifted mindset is no easy task, however, with a torrent of criticism coming in from former England internationals and television pundits back home.

Gary Lineker, top scorer at the 1986 World Cup, was particularly caustic in his assessment of the campaign so far, describing Southgate’s approach as “tactically inept,” plus a couple of more profane offerings.

What can England, Gareth Southgate learn from draw vs. Denmark?

“(Prince William) was saying ‘it’s not the end of the world,'” Wharton continued. “We were thinking that we are still top of the group, we didn’t lose, we got a draw.

“We’ve just got to reflect on the game, see how we can get better, and look forward to the next game.”

The links between the future king and Southgate’s group are significant. Most prominently, one of Prince William’s roles is as president of the English Football Association, a position that is not entirely ceremonial.

At different times in the past, particularly ahead of the 2022 World Cup, he has spoken to the squad about the pressures of being constantly in the public eye, with the scrutiny afforded to the national team during a major tournament not unlike that faced by a senior royal.

“He actually mentioned to the lads, which was a point we couldn’t have paid him better to say, about dealing with social media,” Southgate said in Qatar in 2022. “You just have to ignore the noise.”

Prince William received criticism from some quarters when he opted not to travel to Australia to watch England’s “Lionesses” when they made the final of the Women’s World Cup last summer, ultimately losing to Spain.

On Thursday, he was in the stadium section reserved for dignitaries and VIPs in Frankfurt, and spoke with his Danish counterpart King Frederick X, with whom he is a distant cousin.

Denmark vs. England Highlights

The monarchy’s press relations department has not revealed which, if any, other England games he will attend during Euro 2024.

England wraps up its Group C schedule on Tuesday with a clash against Slovenia in Cologne, knowing a win would secure the top spot in the group and a tie would guarantee at least second place and a position in the round of 16.

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Questions remain about the tactical formation, with the midfield and attack having looked severely disjointed.

Captain Harry Kane reacted with some annoyance on Sunday when asked about the criticism the team has been subjected to, particularly from former England players such as Lineker.

“The bottom line is, we haven’t won anything as a nation for a long, long time,” Kane told reporters. “A lot of these ex-players were part of that as well. They do know that it’s tough to play in these major tournaments. It’s tough to play for England.”

Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports. Follow him on Twitter @MRogersFOX and subscribe to the daily newsletter.

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