Gareth Southgate warns Jose Mourinho: England need Harry Kane just as much as Tottenham do

Malik Ouzia
·3-min read
Tottenham Hotspur FC/Getty Images Sport
Tottenham Hotspur FC/Getty Images Sport

England manager Gareth Southgate has sent a friendly warning to Jose Mourinho after the Tottenham boss urged him not to overplay Harry Kane, saying: “We’ll expect the same in May!”

Kane and Tottenham have had a particularly congested start to the season because of their Europa League qualifying campaign, which has been balanced with Carabao Cup and Premier League commitments.

That prompted Mourinho to call publicly for Southgate to manage his captain’s playing time during the upcoming international break, when the Three Lions play three times in seven days.

“I don’t speak with Gareth or Steve [Holland, assistant],” the Portuguese said. “I just let them do the job in the way they want to do it with the freedom they deserve.

"Hopefully Gareth and Steve understand what happened with Tottenham this week and they respect the players. That’s just my hope but I’m not going to call or ask or beg.”

However, speaking after announcing an enlarged 30-man squad for the fixtures against Wales, Belgium and Denmark,

Southgate criticised Mourinho’s lack of direct communication, and warned he would expect Kane to be managed in similar fashion in the build-up to next summer’s European Championships.

“Jose was great, wasn’t he?” Southgate said. “He was on good form. I heard him. He won’t phone but he’ll stand at the top of Tottenham’s stadium and tell us. So that was good.

“We’re certainly not looking to start players in three games, but I can’t guarantee that no player will play no minute of all three games. You might end up having to put somebody on for five minutes.

“Our aim is to manage the squad, we’ve got to be conscious of the players. The season as a whole is a huge challenge for clubs and national teams so we’ve all got to help each other on that, it doesn’t help anybody if we’re not joined up on our thinking.

“All Jose needs to do is make sure that in April and May he looks after Harry Kane for us, because there’ll be 55 million people relying on that so that obviously works both ways.”

Southgate went on to praise Mourinho for his usual approach to relations between club and country.

“With Jose, I’ve had a pretty good relationship for a while. He allowed us to have Steve when I was taking the U21s and he was very helpful in facilitating that.

“I’ve got to say Jose has never ever put me under pressure not to pick a player. That is 100 per cent the case. He has always accepted, he’s worked at big clubs throughout his life, he’s always accepted that international football is part of that situation, where his players are going to go.

“He would expect us to look after those players - as we should do. With every player that we have. And the physical loading in training, and the way we manage the matches is key. But he’s never ever, never once asked me not to select a player. He’s been very respectful in that way.”

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