NEWS DIGEST – England’s preparations for their UEFA Nations League semi-final match against the Netherlands on June 6 could be thrown into disarray, national team manager Gareth Southgate has said.
Southgate said the team’s chances could be on the line if two English Premier League (EPL) clubs reach the UEFA Champions League final.
The UEFA Champions League final will be held in Madrid on June 1, with England set to play their semi-final in Portugal five days later.
This is certain to leave Southgate little time to work with his players.
“It could be a mess,” the 48-year-old told reporters. “Let’s say if two of our teams made it to the UEFA 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 UEFA Champions League.
It is the first time since 2009 that four clubs from England’s top flight have reached the competition’s last eight stage.
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 UEFA Champions League final players when we get to it.
“It will be a little bit like the FIFA 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.(Reuters/NAN)