Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

SOUTHGATE: IT'S NONSENSE TO SAY STARS NOT HURT; Boss Rejects Claims of Club-versus-Country Row after England Are Hit by Six withdrawals'Withdrawals Were Genuine'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

SOUTHGATE: IT'S NONSENSE TO SAY STARS NOT HURT; Boss Rejects Claims of Club-versus-Country Row after England Are Hit by Six withdrawals'Withdrawals Were Genuine'

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Kilpatrick

GARETH SOUTHGATE today rejected suggestions he is embroiled in a club-versus-country row during a World Cup year and says he has never taken a risk with a player's fitness.

The England manager's preparations for tomorrow's friendly against Ger- many at Wembley and Brazil's visit next Tuesday have been hit by six withdrawals from the Premier League's top clubs.

Tottenham trio Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Harry Winks, Manchester City's Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph, and Liverpool's Jordan Henderson all pulled out with injuries after Southgate had named his 26--man squad.

The manager has been forced to turn to uncapped Burnley midfielder Jack Cork and recall out-of--form pair Jake Livermore and Michael Keane, leaving him with a depleted squad to face the two best nations in the world.

Thir-placed Tottenham have a piv- otal north London derby after the international break and it has been suggested that managers are prioritis- ing their clubs over England, particu- larly after Mauricio Pochettino, the Spurs boss, confirmed yesterday Kane would be fit for the visit to Arsenal on November 18.

But Southgate said all the withdrawals were genuinely unfit to play.

"I knew Harry Kane was in trouble because he stayed down [against Pal- ace].

Harry Kane doesn't stay down," he said. "Both him and Harry Winks were scanned. Both scans were reviewed by our medical department -- there's no way they're available for our two games.

"Spurs might risk them against Arsenal. I'm hearing talk of club ver- sus country -- it's a nonsense. The players are injured and can't play.

"With some players, it's 100 per cent clear -- there's a scan. With a couple of other lads, there's ongoing discus- sions with them. I have man-t-man discussions with them around how much risk we want to take."

It has been reported this week that Jose Mourinho is concerned about the strain being placed on his Manchester United players during this international break, while Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp criticised Southgate last month for playing Henderson for the entirety of the World Cup qualifiers against Slov- enia and Lithuania, when the latter was a dead--rubber. …

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