Tyrone Mings believes England need to be streetwise at the European Championship to counter rival nations being "masters at the dark arts".
The Aston Villa defender is in contention to start England's Euro 2020 opener against Croatia at Wembley on Sunday.
Mings, 28, picked up his 10th cap in Sunday's 1-0 warm-up win over Romania and with fitness concerns over Harry Maguire he could retain his place this weekend.
After being caught on cameras hitting Austria forward Sasa Kalajdzic with his forearm in last week's friendly, Mings suggested England need to sometimes blur the line when it comes to following the rules.
Asked if there is something to be said about being streetwise, Mings replied: "Football is very soft these days, you cannot get away with much.
"Like you say, if there had have been VAR, absolutely I would have given away a penalty.
"As a defender, I have done that many times in my career. When a cross is about to come in, block the striker. That is not against the rules. But that one (on Kalajdzic) there was probably too aggressive.
"But being streetwise is a huge part of the game. You look at other nations and they are masters at the dark arts – staying on the floor for longer than needed, delaying restarts.
"Being streetwise is also sometimes what gets you over the edge because it winds up the opposition and breaks up their flow and their rhythm."
Mings defended his actions in the Kalajdzic incident and says he would not have been caught out by VAR, had it been in operation during the friendly at the Riverside Stadium.
"Not lucky, no, because I knew there wasn't VAR," he said when asked if he was lucky the clash went unnoticed by the officials.
When it was put to him that he would have been sent off if it had happened in a match at the Euros, Mings added: "Yeah but it wasn't, was it, so we can go back through many different occasions in my career and you could say if there was VAR in that game, I would have got sent off."
England boss Gareth Southgate will certainly be hoping that Mings does not get caught out if he opts to play the centre-back against Croatia.
Whether he is in the team or not, Mings insists he will still not be the story. He said: "(The spotlight is) Not on me. It's on Harry and whether or not he will play.
"If he is not fit and somebody else plays, we will take that as it comes on the day and prepare accordingly.
"But I don't feel there is more of a spotlight on me because I don't know if I would play even if he were not fit. I am just in the shadows trying to help prepare as much as possible."