England manager Gareth Southgate has opened up on the contrasting woes of his two star forwards ahead of the start of the World Cup next week.
Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling have long been the Three Lions’ most prolific attacking players under Southgate, but will head to Qatar a little out of sorts for different reasons.
Kane has started all 21 games possible for club and country this season with Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte admitting he’s fatigued, while Sterling has scored five goals in 19 games since moving to Chelsea in the summer.
Southgate was asked about their conditions ahead of the tournament at a press conference following the announcement of his 26-player squad.
First discussing Sterling, Southgate said: “The first thing is always to sit and talk to players and look them in the eye and find out what is going on. Raheem has had a change of club and his scoring at the start was very good.
“He has had three managers in a short space of time if you go back to [Manchester] City. There is a lot to take on for a player when they move club.
“Of course, we expect instant transfer of performance on the pitch, but there can be many reasons [why that is not the case]. We have a few players in that sort of situation and I have to work out how they look on the training pitch and how they are within themselves.”
Southgate was then asked about Conte’s decision to surprisingly start Kane against Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.
“I wasn’t surprised because Tottenham have lost attacking players,” he added. “I empathise with the club managers at this time. We would like it to be slightly different, but if I am Antonio I have to win football matches for Tottenham, and the same with every other manager.
“We have 26 unique cases in terms of how we physically have to look after them. We haven’t got time to get that wrong. We will have some like Jude [Bellingham] and like Harry who have played almost every midweek and others who will need a bit more.
“When we are putting training sessions together we are not just training the team, we are looking at all those physical aspects as well and what each individual needs. It’s no different to a normal camp, but on the schedule we are on the back of, it’s even more important.”
Marcus Rashford pays tribute to late friend with goal celebration
Marcus Rashford has revealed that his celebration following his first goal against Wales was a tribute to a friend who’d recently passed away.
The Man Utd man was in electric form for the Three Lions on Tuesday evening, scoring a brace and catapulting himself to the top of the tournament goalscoring charts in the process. In scoring his second and third goal in Qatar, Rahsford became the first Man Utd player to score three goals at a World Cup for England since Sir Bobby Charlton achieved the feat way back in 1966.
Speaking after the game to the press, Rashford revealed that he pointed to the sky following his first goal in order to pay tribute to his friend who passed away following a long battle with cancer:
“I lost one of my friends a couple of days ago. He had quite a long battle with cancer. I’m pleased I scored for him, he was a big supporter and good friend of mine. He was someone who came into my life.”
Rashford also gave an assessment of the game itself and his overall performance stating: “I fancied a free-kick in the first half, but the one in the second half was in a better position. From there it’s about being calm and executing what you do in training. They don’t go in often but I was glad it did today.
“It’s a great feeling. We were a bit disappointed after the USA game, and the only way to bounce back is to have a good performance in your next game; I thought we did it. It was just about taking the chances when they came.”
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Tottenham ask Inter about availability of key player
Tottenham Hotspur have made enquiries to Inter over right wing-back Denzel Dumfries, 90min understands.
Spurs are on the hunt for reinforcements at wing-back, with 90min previously reporting that one of Emerson Royal and Matt Doherty could be sold in January, while a loan move for Djed Spence looks likely.
On their list of targets is Dumfries, who is currently at the World Cup with the Netherlands. Inter need to sell one star player by the end of the season to help ease their financial woes.
It was previously thought that Milan Skriniar would be the man to make way, but he will either sign a new contract or leave for free when his current deal expires at the end of the season.
Instead, Inter will look to sell Dumfries in January and loan him back for the rest of the season, though Spurs would push to take him off their hands straight away.
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In addition to Tottenham, Chelsea are also interested in the Dutchman, and this could drive Dumfries’ price up.
Dumfries signed for Inter in 2021 as a replacement for the outgoing Achraf Hakimi, whose sale partly contributed to the exit of current Spurs head coach Antonio Conte.
He scored five goals from wing-back in his debut season at San Siro and has found the net twice more this term.
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