Gareth Southgate happy to see Champions League rivals ‘together’ in England camp

Gareth Southgate
Gareth Southgate (PA Wire)
18:00pm, Sat 05 Jun 2021
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Gareth Southgate has been pleased to see no “overhang” from the Champions League finalists in his England ranks as they linked up ahead of the European Championship.

Seven of Southgate’s 26-man squad were involved in last week’s final as Chelsea beat Manchester City 1-0.

They joined the rest of their team-mates on Friday and will not feature in Sunday’s final warm-up fixture against Romania at the Riverside Stadium.

Chelsea’s Reece James, left, tackles Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling in the Champions League final (PA Wire)

Externally, there had been some concern how the players from the rival sides would acclimatise to working together so soon after the final – but Southgate has been impressed.

“They have been excellent, I have to say,” he said of Kyle Walker, John Stones, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden, Mason Mount, Reece James and Ben Chilwell.

“The training sessions, all of the players have picked up immediately, there doesn’t seem to be any overhang at all.

“The group is in together socially, you can see at dinner that they’ve all enjoyed getting back with their England colleagues.

“So as far as we’re concerned, if you didn’t know those games had taken place and you weren’t specifically looking for things then I genuinely don’t think you would know anything different.”

Southgate confirmed none of the seven would play against Romania but opened the door to his Manchester United players being involved.

Luke Shaw, left, and Marcus Rashford, centre (PA Wire)

While Harry Maguire remains sidelined with an ankle injury, his club-mates Dean Henderson, Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford are in contention having linked up with England on Wednesday – a week on from their Europa League final defeat to Villarreal.

“It is more likely that the boys that were involved in Europa League final (will play), they’ve been with us a bit longer,” Southgate explained.

“The others reported a bit later, I don’t think the training periodisation would be right to put them into Sunday’s game.”

He may not have all of his players available but Southgate will still want to use the game against Romania to learn more about his team.

He told BBC Radio 5Live that it is “unlikely” that captain Harry Kane will be involved, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin therefore in line to start in attack.

Jordan Henderson is another who Southgate intends to involve, having been unable to do so in Wednesday’s win over Austria.

Jordan Henderson warms up with England (PA Wire)

The Liverpool captain has not played since February following groin surgery and was set to make his comeback in midweek, only to miss out after complaining of discomfort on the morning of the match.

“The plan, as it was on Wednesday, will be that he’s involved in the game,” Southgate said of the midfielder.

“The last two or three days training have been a lot more positive for him. I think the confidence of having a scan that showed no issues has helped him to push forward with his rehabilitation and with his training so he’s been visibly happier within himself, I think, and that’s a positive sign.”

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