Liverpool and Spurs players keen for Nations League action with England

• Champions League finalists want to face Netherlands
• Increased competition leads to reluctance to pull out

The increased competition for places in Gareth Southgate’s England squad will prompt the healthy contingent of players involved in the Champions League final on 1 June to declare themselves available for the Nations League semi-final against the Netherlands.

Southgate has seen his preparations for the game in Guimarães on 6 June severely disrupted by the progress of Liverpool and Tottenham to the final at Atlético Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano. The two clubs could contribute at least nine players – Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Danny Rose, Harry Winks, Kieran Trippier, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson and Joe Gomez – to the national squad, with England intending to ask them to link up at St George’s Park on the day after the game in Spain.

The group would realistically be restricted to, at most, three training sessions before the semi-final against the Dutch, complicating Southgate’s plans given his desire only to select those in the best condition to start the two-game tournament. Yet, where the manager might have been tempted to rest some of their number with a view to a potential final three days later, it is understood Liverpool and Spurs players involved will express their desire to be involved in the semi-final.

That is chiefly due to the increased competition around the England squad and fears that they may struggle to break back into the fold. Players such as Declan Rice and Ross Barkley demonstrated their quality when offered opportunities in the Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro in March and even established players such as Alli and Henderson – mainstays of the World Cup squad last summer – will feel their places are under threat in light of the progress Southgate has instigated.

The England manager intends to stagger the arrival of his players depending on when their club campaigns finish, with the first group, whose seasons ended with the culmination of the Premier Leagueon Sunday, to link up at the national training centre in the week commencing 20 May. The contingent from Manchester City will be granted time after the FA Cup final, with any involved in the Europa League final on 29 May – Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek is likely to be picked – expected to link up on the first weekend in June. Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho will also join up late with the Bundesliga season finishing next weekend.


Dominic Fifield

The GuardianTramp

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