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I’m a football player’s ex and here’s my advice to the Euros WAGs: From the mistress who is turning up with a camera crew to the model who could ruin her career by posing with the other girls…

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Who wouldn’t want the pressure of representing England under the world’s spotlight? Body in peak condition; all those workouts, masseuses’ appointments and counting carbs. No darlings, I’m not talking about the England football squad, rather their better halves — the WAGs.

Manager Gareth Southgate may have only just named his squad, but training for the final WAG line-up will have been underway for months. Expect the wives and girlfriends of Harry Kane, Declan Rice, Kyle Walker et al to be at their polished best as they descend on the Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen, north Germany, this Sunday, to cheer on the lads in their first match against Serbia.

Members of the England entourage will be doing their best to keep the girls away from the team, of course — players need to keep their eye on the ball — but all the men will have match tickets to distribute to loved ones, so expect to see in the stands an array of bodies as toned as the players’; WAGs are more than aware they are on the world stage, too.

Lizzy Cundy was married to former Chelsea and Spurs player Jason Cundy for 18 years

Take it from me, all will have block-booked a dazzling array of treatments and tweakments beforehand. Botox, fillers, hair extensions, tans and an exercise routine to ensure everything is paparazzi-worthy.

As I know well, being a WAG is not for the fainthearted. Forget the Oscars, Cannes or the Met Gala, this month the hype is all around the football green carpet.

I was married to former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur player Jason Cundy for 18 years. I was the same age as many of the Euro 2024 WAGs when he wooed me in my late teens, and our mutual spilt in 2012 coincided with the point my career eclipsed his (I was savvy enough to get into broadcasting while we were married).

Today I’m an older and — at times — wiser woman of 56. When Jason played for England under-21s, WAG culture wasn’t yet established. ‘Wag’ was something a dog did with its tail. I have since attended many tournaments like the Euros in my own right, as a reporter for ITV.

Peak WAGs abroad was in Germany during the 2006 Euros. Who can forget Victoria Beckham, Coleen Rooney and Cheryl Cole (as the Girls Aloud singer was then known) strutting around the genteel Black Forest spa town of Baden-Baden amid rumours of drunken dancing on tables and huge hotel party bills?

The gals were papped in hot pants and hair extensions, skin glowing with the kind of Fanta tan not gained on a Northern European sun lounger. And we couldn’t get enough of them.

Years later, then manager Sven-Goran Eriksson reflected on the circus, saying: ‘One of the wives was Victoria Beckham and, of course, that didn’t make it easy . . . But whatever they did it was a scandal — if they went to a bar, if they went to a restaurant, if they went out shopping.’

I bet that, along with everyone else on some level, Sven loved the WAG drama. This is, after all, the man who dated Nancy Dell’Olio, a woman known for her love of red glittery catsuits.

Some of the famous England WAGs in the Noughties, including Cheryl Cole, Coleen Rooney and Victoria Beckham

Some of the famous England WAGs in the Noughties, including Cheryl Cole, Coleen Rooney and Victoria Beckham

David Beckham has, though, confessed that the England WAGs went ‘a bit too far’ during the 2006 tournament: ‘Even Victoria is the first to say, when she looks back, “What was I doing? What was I wearing? Why would I do that?” There was more spoken about the Wags than the football.’

And here we are again, 18 years later — and back in Germany.

In my view, with eight wives, 13 girlfriends and a few ‘others’, this year promises to be as nail-biting off the pitch as anything 2006 could offer.

For starters, there’s the Kyle Walker love triangle, which has tantalisingly played out in the media over the past year. On one side of the pitch is Annie, 32, his wife and the mother of his four children, on the other his on-off mistress Lauryn Goodman, who also has a son and daughter by the footballer.

England and Manchester City defender Kyle Walker has been caught in scandal after he fathered two children with his on-off mistress Lauryn Goodman

England and Manchester City defender Kyle Walker has been caught in scandal after he fathered two children with his on-off mistress Lauryn Goodman

Lauryn Goodman, who has a son and daughter by the footballer, is rumoured to be attending the tournament with a camera crew in tow

Lauryn Goodman, who has a son and daughter by the footballer, is rumoured to be attending the tournament with a camera crew in tow

According to reports, Lauryn, 33, is determined the children will see daddy play in his Three Lions shirt. Oh boy. If the rumours are true (and I have it on good authority they are) Lauryn is planning to attend the tournament with a camera crew in tow.

It’s a tricky one because the WAG hotel, booked by the Football Association, doesn’t cater for wives and mistresses. Not that this is going to stop our Lauryn.

My advice would be to keep her dignity and stay at home, but will she listen? Of course not.

What she perhaps forgets is that football is a business and there’s a lot of money invested in England doing well. There are the managers, trainers, behind-the-scenes team — not to mention the FA and powerful broadcasters — all of whom have a vested interest in the team going all the way.

Walker, 33, a defender with 82 caps, needs to focus on his game. Yes, Lauryn’s children have every right to see their dad play but, with one aged five and the other just ten months, you wonder how much they’ll appreciate it. The big risk is that her shenanigans affect how the team play. Things could get horrible if they lose and the finger of blame is pointed at Lauryn.

One of the biggest upsets of Southgate’s final line-up was the omission of heartthrob Jack (those thighs!) Grealish.

That means his extremely glamorous fiancée, fashion model and influencer Sasha Attwood, 28, sadly won’t be on team WAG.

Just like the Rooneys, the pair met at school. For a woman with 266,000 followers on Instagram and a day job as a brand ambassador for L’Oréal, my money is on her having already planned her wardrobe before her fella was left out. She’ll be utterly heartbroken.

Trent Alexander Arnold poses in his England kit. The midfielder has recently started dating model Iris Law

Trent Alexander Arnold poses in his England kit. The midfielder has recently started dating model Iris Law

Iris law, daughter of actors Sadie Frost and Jude Law, walks the Versace fashion show in Milan last year

Iris law, daughter of actors Sadie Frost and Jude Law, walks the Versace fashion show in Milan last year

But one WAG who will be upping the celebrity stakes is Iris Law, only daughter of actors Sadie Frost and Jude Law. At 23, Iris, who started dating the Liverpool player Trent Alexander-Arnold, 25, last month, is a successful model most recently seen on the Versace and Miu Miu catwalks. Could Iris finally make the WAG phenomenon cool?

The couple met at a fashion shoot and, before you could say ‘explain the off-side rule’, they were photographed out for coffee. Iris doesn’t need advice from me on how to monetise the tournament as she already has a deal with Dior.

However, the only thing this seen-it-all WAG aficionado would say to Iris is: do not ruin your brand association by posing for group pictures with the other WAGs. It might sound harsh, but it will haunt her for ever.

S he needs to be really careful about who she mixes with. If she plays it right and, most importantly, Trent plays it right, the couple could go beyond Beckham status.

It is highly competitive in the football stands. Who can forget Rebekah Vardy deliberately swapping out her seat so that she was ensconced behind Coleen Rooney during the 2016 Euros?

Talk about sassy. Maybe she would have been more careful if she’d known it would all end in tears (hers) after the Wagatha Christie court saga. But then she’d probably do it all again.

If you want the world to notice your new hair extensions, sharpen those elbows, ladies and grab the best seat.

The match itself is also nerve-wracking for a WAG. They need their other halves to play well — family life is so much easier when they do. Believe me, no one wants an unhappy post-match partner.

West Ham's Jarrod Bowen is dating Love Island winner Dani Dyer, with whom he has twin daughters

West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen is dating Love Island winner Dani Dyer, with whom he has twin daughters

'I see Dani as the Victoria Beckham of the tournament and I officially crown her Queen WAG of Euro 2024', writes Lizzy Cundy

‘I see Dani as the Victoria Beckham of the tournament and I officially crown her Queen WAG of Euro 2024’, writes Lizzy Cundy

At least Love Island winner Dani Dyer, 27, whose partner Jarrod Bowen has been selected for the England squad, has grown up in a family of West Ham footie fans, including dad, EastEnders actor Danny Dyer, so she’ll be used to the highs and lows of the game.

The mother-of-three — including one-year-old twin daughters with Jarrod — has got an advantage over many of the others as she already has skin in the media game and been on countless front pages post Love Island.

I see Dani as the Victoria Beckham of the tournament and I officially crown her Queen WAG of Euro 2024. She will know exactly how to look, precisely where to sit, who to be seen with and how to react when the cameras are trained on her.

Ellie Alderson, partner of Ollie Watkins, with whom she has two children

Ellie Alderson, partner of Ollie Watkins, with whom she has two children

If Jarrod, her partner of three years, plays well I fully expect them to ‘Beckham-ize’ their coupledom and launch brands that align with their interests. Dani already has a baby accessories range but a Netflix at-home-with series surely beckons.

Another WAG who will get plenty of attention is Ellie Alderson, partner of Ollie Watkins, with whom she has two children. While 28-year-old Ollie scored 19 goals in the Premier League last season, Ellie, 27, is a businesswoman in her own right, running a successful interior design brand.

My advice to her is: keep posting the gorgeous pictures of your hot bod in a bikini but don’t neglect the day job — you’ll thank me in the end. Having your own life and your own career is so important for your self-esteem.

Real Madrid ace Jude Bellingham, 20, is already feeling the force of social media commentary over his partner. Laura Celia Valk, 25, might be a stunning Dutch model but the Brummie striker has been charmingly told by online fans he needs to ‘upgrade’ to a better girlfriend. Imagine!

Real Madrid ace Jude Bellingham, 20, is already feeling the force of social media commentary over his partner

Real Madrid ace Jude Bellingham, 20, is already feeling the force of social media commentary over his partner 

Laura Celia Valk, Jude Bellingham's new girlfriend, models for clothing retailer Pretty Little Thing

The model often uploads racy images to her Instagram page

Laura Celia Valk, Jude Bellingham’s new girlfriend, is a model who has worked for companies including clothing website Pretty Little Thing

Thankfully I never had to deal with online trolling, but that’s something the 2024 WAGs now face. I’d say they should all lock their phones away for the duration of the tournament but, given most are influencers, that advice would surely fall on deaf ears.

Failing that, make friends with the England captain’s wife Katie Kane. Capable and down-to-earth, she will have the advantage over the others by being on home territory.

Since devoted hubby Harry, 30, transferred to Bayern Munich last year, Katie, 30, has uprooted their four kids to join him in a £30 million home in what is referred to as the Beverly Hills of Munich. Living there, she may even have picked up some German.

Harry and Katie Kane, who have four children, now live together in Germany - where the Euros are being held - as Kane plays for Bayern Munich

Harry and Katie Kane, who have four children, now live together in Germany – where the Euros are being held – as Kane plays for Bayern Munich

When it comes to culture, the girls will want to shop, not sightsee. Other priorities will be how cold the champagne is, whether their FA liaison has ordered the Whispering Angel rosé and getting an appointment with the best masseuse.

It would be lovely to think there was camaraderie among the wives and girlfriends but, sadly, there isn’t any. As a former footballer’s wife, I’m afraid ‘girlfriends’ are looked down on, even if you have had the player’s children.

The trouble is that the WAGs don’t really know one another, unless their husbands are on the same team, and that’s rare. The first Euro match will be a bit like the first day of school and, trust me, not everyone will click. They have to try get on — at some level — but everyone wants to be Number One.

And then there is the pecking order. The WAGs who have sprinted down the aisle in virginal white and achieved marital status are seen as VIPs. Girlfriends and long-term partners are keen to shake off their ‘must try harder’ status.

More than once I’ve seen a WAG on her lonesome because the others are busy channelling their inner Mariah Carey. Be kind: if you spot a WAG who looks mutton dressed as lamb in a loud Versace number, just compliment her on the outfit.

After the game, couples can mix . . . a bit. They might even be allowed a night out, but then it’s back to business. The players must be focused. This is a highlight of their career and they have invested everything to get here.

The ladies have to fend for themselves, but most are as tough as their gel manicures. Let the games begin!

  •  As told to Samantha Brick
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