Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho on Friday asked England manager Gareth Southgate to name the club managers who pressure players not to represent the national team and also explain why Raheem Sterling was withdrawn from the national squad this week.
Player fatigue has become a major issue due to the tight fixture schedule amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and Southgate had said some players were keen to play for their country but found themselves in a “difficult situation” with their clubs.
Sterling missed England’s 4-0 Nations League victory over Iceland at Wembley on Wednesday through injury, but Mourinho said he expected the Manchester City winger to start when Pep Guardiola’s side visit Spurs in the Premier League on Saturday.
“Southgate... he supposedly said some club managers, they put pressure not to play for the national team and because of that he feels the need to call them to try to cool down emotions and try to control the situation,” Mourinho said on Friday.
“I would like him to say who. I would like him to say which are the coaches who put pressure on the players not to go. I would like him to say which are the coaches that he calls and speaks on the phone with them.
“We all know Sterling will play tomorrow (Saturday),” he added at the pre-match news conference after the City forward missed England’s games with Belgium as well as Iceland due to a calf injury picked up in training on international duty.
“When (defender) Eric Dier left the national team injured... he didn’t play two matches for Tottenham. He needed a couple of weeks to recover but Raheem is going to play tomorrow... These are the details I think Gareth should explain.”
Mourinho confirmed that Tottenham’s South Korea winger Son Heung-min had tested negative for COVID-19 and is available for Saturday’s game but their England midfielder Harry Winks is a doubt after picking up a minor injury on international duty.
The Portuguese, who took charge at Spurs last November, will hope to celebrate his anniversary with a win over City, which would take the London club provisionally top of the league.
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