Gareth Southgate has hit back at Jose Mourinho over the Tottenham Hotspur manager’s remarks about Harry Kane and told him he needs to ‘look after’ the England striker too.
The Portuguese coach is in the middle of a gruelling run of games – playing four Premier League fixtures, three Europa League ties and a Carabao Cup clash in the space of three weeks – and has been keen for national team managers to go easy on his players in the upcoming international break.
‘Three games are obviously too much, especially for my players,’ said Mourinho. ‘I believe that Gareth and Steve [Holland, assistant manager] care about the players and I don’t think they want to be connected with [an injury].’
He was granted his wish by Wales boss Ryan Giggs, who omitted Gareth Bale from his latest squad entirely so he can continue his injury recover with Spurs, but Kane was selected by England.
The Three Lions play three times in seven days against Wales, Belgium and Denmark and Mourinho will be hoping Kane sits out two of those games, though Southgate was clearly a little irked by the way the Tottenham boss chose to address the subject in public.
Asked about Mourinho’s comments, Southgate said: ‘All Jose needs to do in April and May is he’s got to look after Harry Kane for us because there will be 55 million people relying on that.
‘Jose was on great form, I heard him. He won’t phone but he will stand on the top of Tottenham’s stadium and tell us, so that was good.
‘I’m a little bit disappointed I am not one of his friends, I know Steve [Holland] is but in fairness he helped him to a title so that’s understandable.
‘We’re certainly not looking to start players in three games.
‘I can’t guarantee that no player will play no minute of all three games. You might end up having to put someone on for five minutes and then people will be saying, “Well you didn’t do what you said”.
‘But our aim is to manage the squad, we’ve got to be responsible we’re conscious of the welfare of the players. This season as a whole is a huge challenge for clubs and national teams so we’ve got to work together on that. It doesn’t help anybody if we’re not joined up on our thinking.’
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