South­gate’s warn­ing to new-look Eng­land

‹Think twice be­fore pulling out of squad ‹Do not go sou­venir-hunt­ing tonight

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Front Page - Matt Law FOOT­BALL NEWS COR­RE­SPON­DENT

Gareth South­gate has warned that play­ers will have to think twice be­fore pulling out of Eng­land duty or turn­ing down a call-up in fu­ture thanks to the im­pres­sion the coun­try’s young­sters have made.

South­gate’s squad for the friendlies against Ger­many and Brazil was rav­aged by the with­drawals of six play­ers, while Danny Drinkwa­ter in­formed the Eng­land man­ager he could not an­swer an SOS while he re­cov­ers from a calf in­jury.

Brazil have had no such prob­lems as they pre­pare for tonight’s friendly at Wem­b­ley and have Philippe Coutinho avail­able, de­spite the fact he has missed Liver­pool’s past three games be­cause of a thigh in­jury. South­gate does not want his play­ers to go sou­venir-hunt­ing for the shirts of Coutinho and Ney­mar, and be­lieves his kids are good enough to keep out older ri­vals.

Eng­land have been buoyed by the im­pact made by Ruben Lof­tuscheek and Jor­dan Pick­ford against Ger­many, while the likes of Joe Gomez and Tammy Abra­ham have fit­ted in well.

South­gate pro­moted two of Eng­land’s Un­der-20 World Cup win­ners, Do­minic Solanke and Lewis Cook, along with 21-year-old goal­keeper An­gus Gunn, to re­place the in­jured Jack But­land, to his squad.

Asked whether play­ers would now be forced to re­con­sider drop­ping out of friendlies for fear of los­ing their places, South­gate replied: “Yes, that’s what you want to get to as a team – that the com­pe­ti­tion for places is so in­tense. Coutinho hasn’t played for a few weeks for Liver­pool, but he is there for Brazil. I imag­ine part of that is be­cause he is think­ing, ‘If I’m not there and I’m not play­ing and some­one else goes in, do I get the shirt back?’

“Maybe we haven’t had that but, I think mov­ing for­ward, we will have and I think that will af­fect peo­ple’s ap­proach, def­i­nitely.”

South­gate re­it­er­ated that the young play­ers were not just along for the ride, when ques­tioned on whether he would ul­ti­mately be forced to turn back to Eng­land’s older heads when he se­lected his World Cup squad. “I don’t see me coax­ing any­one out of re­tire­ment,” said South­gate. “I will go with what I think is the best squad. At the mo­ment, I be­lieve the best would in­gest clude a lot these young play­ers. It’s easy to be swayed at times by need­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, but you can have 100 ex­pe­ri­ences of the same thing or 10 dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ences that make you a more rounded per­son. These young play­ers have also had ex­pe­ri­ence of win­ning youth tour­na­ments, play­ing high-level matches and chal­lenges to get to where they are in their path. So, they’ve had to show some re­silience of their own.

“We’d love to have a team full of play­ers who have won the Cham­pi­ons League, but we haven’t got that. I want play­ers who will be fear­less, pre­pared to have the ball and show what they are ca­pa­ble of on the big- stage.” South­gate re­alises that his long-term think­ing could back­fire if Eng­land flop in Rus­sia, but in­sists he is putting the coun­try ahead of his own job se­cu­rity.

“You’ll al­ways be judged on a tour­na­ment, but you make the de­ci­sions that are right for the team or club you’re manag­ing,” said South­gate. “Not ev­ery­body might work that way, but the rea­son I came into the FA was be­cause I care about young English play­ers and Eng­land. I be­lieve in the cause.”

And he added: “If you’re a man­ager and you worry about that [re­sults in the short term] it in­hibits your de­ci­sions. You can be­com­erisk averse and there’s a dan­ger you can for­get about try­ing to win, and try not to lose.”

As part of his desire to in­still be­lief into his play­ers, South­gate does not want tonight’s friendly to be­come a fight be­tween his squad for the shirts of Brazil’s stars.

“I’ve got a wardrobe full of shirts at home and I think they’re all full­backs, be­cause it wasn’t high on my list of pri­or­i­ties to go and swap,” said South­gate.

“I used to talk to young play­ers about this at Mid­dles­brough. I re­mem­ber a young David Wheater, I pulled him over the coals be­cause he bowled off with Thierry Henry’s shirt af­ter a game and I said, ‘Where do you think that leaves you when you play him next time be­cause you were wait­ing to get his shirt and it’s given him a sense of, Oh, you’re just a young one?’

“You are either go­ing toe-to-toe with these guys or we are just here for the tour. That’s how I al­ways felt manag­ing against Sir Alex [Fer­gu­son] and Jose [Mour­inho], and all of those guys. We went there to win and we won a fair num­ber of them. The man­ager sets the tone for that, so I’m not sit­ting here say­ing, ‘How won­der­ful we are play­ing Brazil and what a great ex­pe­ri­ence for me’. It’s ‘how do we set the team up to be suc­cess­ful and make sure we are well pre­pared?’”

Next gen­er­a­tion: Ruben Lof­tus-cheek shows off his close con­trol in train­ing

Hot wa­ter: David Wheater was told off for swap­ping shirts with Thierry Henry

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.