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Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Champions League final may 'mess' with England, says Southgate

Reuters , Thursday 14 Mar 2019
Gareth Southgate
England manager Gareth Southgate believes a recent spate of violence at football matches is a societal problem AFP
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England’s preparations for their Nations League semi-final against the Netherlands on June 6 could be thrown into disarray if two Premier League teams reach the Champions League final, national team manager Gareth Southgate has said.

The Champions League final will be held in Madrid on June 1, with England set to play their semi-final in Portugal five days later, leaving Southgate little time to work with his players.

“It could be a mess,” the 48-year-old told reporters on Wednesday. “Let’s say if two of our teams made it to the Champions League final then we wouldn’t see them, at best, until the Monday before we play on the Thursday.

“And with the emotion of (the Champions League final), can those players even realistically play on the Thursday night for us?”

Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Liverpool are in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, the first time since 2009 that four teams from England’s top flight have reached the competition’s last-eight.

Southgate’s squad for this month’s European Championship qualifiers has 13 players from the four clubs, including Spurs striker Harry Kane, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson and City winger Raheem Sterling.

“They would all need a period where they would need to psychologically switch off,” Southgate added. “We’d have to look at Champions League final players when we get to it.

“It will be a little bit like the World Cup in that players will finish at different times.”

England face the Czech Republic at Wembley on March 22 followed by a trip to Montenegro three days later.

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