England manager Gareth Southgate insists there is no club v country row following a raft of withdrawals from his squad to face Germany and Brazil over the coming week.
Southgate has lost Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph and Harry Winks from his initial 25-man selection, with West Brom’s Jake Livermore and Burnley midfielder Jack Cork brought in as replacements.
Kane missed Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester United in October with a hamstring problem but returned to face Real Madrid and Crystal Palace – the match in which he picked up his latest knock.
After Mauricio Pochettino expressed confidence that Kane would be fit for the North London Derby against Arsenal next weekend, Southgate was pressed on whether he believed his dropouts were genuinely too hurt to play.
The England boss responded: “I knew Harry Kane was in trouble because he stayed down. Harry Kane doesn’t stay down.
“So I knew already we had a potential problem. Both him and Harry Winks were scanned, both scans our medical department have reviewed. No way they were available for our two games.
“Spurs might risk them for the game with Arsenal. It’s a different matter.
— England (@England) November 9, 2017
“I’m hearing this talk of club v country. It’s a nonsense. The players are injured and cannot play.
“With some of the players it’s 100 per cent clear. With a couple of the other lads that have been in, there’s ongoing injury issues with them. I have man-to-man discussions with them around where they’re at with it and how much risk we want to take.
“Having been a player, I’m not a manager that wants to just wheel players out until they break, so I don’t take risks with players – it’s their livelihood, it’s their career.
“If we’re in a cup final or a critical game, maybe we have a really open conversation.
“But I think as a manager you have a duty of care to your players to make sure that things are done correctly.”
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