Harry Kane will not be allowed to pick and choose when he plays for England, Gareth Southgate has said.

Southgate became embroiled in something of a verbal tussle with Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho earlier this season over the England manager's use of talisman Kane.

The Three Lions captain started twice in the Nations League in November, playing the entire game in a 2-0 loss to Belgium before going off in the 76th minute during a 4-0 rout of Iceland.

Kane is on 32 international goals, 21 shy of Wayne Rooney's all-time record of 53 strikes for the Three Lions.

At 27, Kane has Rooney's record well in his sights, but asked if he will let his skipper choose when he plays over the course of the three World Cup qualifiers coming up for England, Southgate laid down the law.

"If I allowed Harry to make that decision, he'd play every minute!" said Southgate, who will celebrate his 50th match in charge of England when his team host minnows San Marino on Thursday.

"So that won't be happening. It's brilliant we've got a captain who wants to play every minute of every game.

"We've got to be mindful he had extra-time last Thursday and another high-intensity game on Sunday. We've got that situation with a lot of the players really.

"We've got to make sure we manage the fixtures correctly, we've got to manage training this week as well.

"And of course we've got to be just as fresh for the games with Albania and Poland as we do tomorrow night so that's not an unusual challenge for us and our coaching team, and for our medical team and physical performance team.

"But we always communicate well with the players and I think we're in a good place going into the game tomorrow."

Kane has scored 20 goals in 19 appearances in qualifiers for major tournaments, with only Rooney (30) netting more in these games in England's history. 

Southgate, meanwhile, will be the seventh manager to reach the 50th game milestone for the Three Lions.

He has won 29 of his 49 games so far (D10 L10), and a win would see him equal Ron Greenwood and Roy Hodgson's 30 wins in their first 50, but three behind the record of 33 set by Alf Ramsey and Walter Winterbottom.

While Kane will no doubt be a key figure for England this month, two players who may not be involved are Marcus Rashford and Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka.

Rashford is at St George's Park but is struggling with an injury, while Saka is yet to join up with the squad.

"They're both doubtful," Southgate confirmed. "Marcus is more doubtful than Bukayo at the moment but we're going to assess them.

"Marcus has been very keen to be with us. He wasn't with us so much in the autumn so he's been keen to be part of the group.

"Bukayo has been getting assessed at the club but he'll be with us in the next couple of days."

Jesse Lingard has revealed Gareth Southgate pointed him down the path towards an England recall.

Southgate will take charge of his 50th game when England begin their World Cup qualifying campaign against San Marino at Wembley on Thursday.

His first, against Malta in October 2016, was also Lingard's international debut and the attacking midfielder became one of Southgate's key performers as England charted a surprise run to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup.

However, struggles for form and fitness at Manchester United, along with difficulties in his private life, saw Lingard fall out of the Three Lions picture.

In January he joined West Ham on loan and has been a player revitalised.

Five goals in seven Premier League appearances for David Moyes' men earned an England recall for the 28-year-old, who thanked Southgate for his counsel and his influence over the Hammers move.

"He's shown a lot of support and belief in me, he gave me my England debut, which I'm proud of," Lingard told talkSPORT.

"I still kept in contact with him even though I wasn't playing, just to get his advice on what I should do.

"It was just about the right move, whether it was going out to Europe or staying in the Premier League.

"He said, 'If I was you, I would stay in the Premier League'. After that, it was about finding a Premier League side and West Ham fitted in perfectly."

Since his West Ham debut against Aston Villa on February 3, only Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho (six) has more Premier League goals than Lingard (five), while he is level with England captain Harry Kane and Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan over the period in question.

His 12 shots on target are a joint Premier League best along with Kane, giving him a shot conversion rate of 23.8.

Lingard also has two assists for the Hammers and has created eight opportunities for team-mates overall.

 

Another man in from the cold, although less dramatically, is Manchester City centre-back John Stones.

Like Lingard, Stones was a mainstay at Russia 2018 but last played for England in November 2019 after his club form dwindled.

However, a supreme centre-back alliance with Ruben Dias for Premier League leaders City made a recall for the 26-year-old a virtual formality – not that he necessarily viewed it that way.

"It was difficult watching from home," Stones told reporters, having also acknowledged Southgate "texted now and then" when he was out of favour.

"You feel a bit helpless that you can't contribute and be a part of the squad, but I used it as a motivation to strive to be better.

"When I got the text the other day, it was a great feeling to be back involved and see all the faces I've got some great memories with.

"I was very nervous. I had worked so hard and I was hearing people say, 'you should be in'.

"But I didn't take any of that in until the text arrived. I wanted to hear from the source. I was absolutely made up."

City remaining in contention for four major honours shows how impressive their overall performances have been this season, but with Stones in the team their record verges on the absurd.

In 20 games where the former Everton defender has not played, Pep Guardiola's men have won 13, drawn five and lost two for a 65 per cent win rate. In these games they conceded 19 times.

Out of Stones' 26 appearances, City have won 24 alongside a draw and a loss and have conceded only seven times. This tallies to 0.3 goals against and 2.8 points per game and a win percentage of 92.3.

Trent Alexander-Arnold has not made the cut for England despite being one of the few Liverpool players to deliver high standards during the Reds' poor run.

Gareth Southgate named a 26-man squad for this month's upcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland.

Five full-backs were included in the selection, but Alexander-Arnold, a Champions League and Premier League winner in the past two years, was not among them, casting doubt over his participation in Euro 2020.

Manchester City's Kyle Walker, Chelsea's Reece James and Atletico Madrid's Kieran Trippier were preferred to Alexander-Arnold at right-back, while left-backs Ben Chilwell and Luke Shaw were also selected.

Trippier has just returned from a ban imposed by the Football Association for a breach of betting rules.

Alexander-Arnold and his Liverpool team-mates have endured a tough time in the Premier League since the turn of the year, picking up just four wins.

The reigning champions have lost eight league games in 2021, though 22-year-old Alexander-Arnold has kept his performance levels high.

Manchester United full-back Shaw is the only defender to have created more chances (52) than Alexander-Arnold (47) so far this season, while the Liverpool man ranks highest of any player in the competition for passes played into the box (315).

Alexander-Arnold's accuracy from crosses and corners tallies at 18.81 per cent, which does represent a dip compared to 21.41 last season, and 29.21 in 2018-19.

His efforts this season have resulted in one goal and three assists – he teed up 13 goals last term – though Liverpool's misfiring strike force have to shoulder much of that responsibility, with only club-mate Andrew Robertson and West Ham's Aaron Cresswell (both nine) having crafted more big chances among Premier League defenders than Alexander-Arnold (eight).

Alexander-Arnold also boasts an impressive 69.05 per cent tackle success rate, from a total of 42 attempted tackles, higher than James (68.42) and Walker (65.38), though slightly lower than Trippier's rate of 69.23 per cent from 39 attempted tackles in LaLiga. Alexander-Arnold had a 61.82 per cent success rate last term, so there has been a marked improvement.

The youngster's set-piece delivery could also be a miss for England, with Alexander-Arnold having created 21 goalscoring opportunities from corners or free-kicks in the league this term – only four players have managed more in the top flight.

A SUPER TALENT

Explaining his decision, Southgate conceded Alexander-Arnold was "unfortunate" to miss out, though he singled out Matty Cash of Aston Villa and Luke Ayling of Leeds United as examples of the strength in depth England possess at right-back, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka was not even mentioned.

Wan-Bissaka's international future is up in the air, with reports the Manchester United defender may choose to represent DR Congo having been consistently overlooked by Southgate, but the England boss has no doubt over Alexander-Arnold's long-term importance to the Three Lions.

"There's some areas of the pitch where we've got incredible competition for places," Southgate told a news conference.

"Trent has been very unfortunate. The last few weeks he's definitely taken steps in the right direction. Reece and Trippier have had exceptional seasons. Kyle is in great form.

"Matty at Aston Villa, Luke at Leeds. It's a remarkable position of strength. What I said to Trent – I've made that same call to Kyle and Kieran in the past, their response was a good one.

"Trent is a super talent and I'm certain he'll play a big part with England in the future. We could be sat here [for the Euros] and he's with us."

Jesse Lingard admitted it had been a "long journey" back after earning an England recall following his fine form for West Ham.

Lingard's most recent international appearance came in June 2019, as he was part of Gareth Southgate's squad that featured in the inaugural Nations League Finals, eventually finishing third in the tournament.

The 28-year-old was also a regular as England reached the semi-finals at the 2018 World Cup, yet a lack of playing time at Manchester United saw him slip down the pecking order with the Three Lions.

However, a loan spell away from Old Trafford has helped the United academy product kick-start his career. Now he has the chance to force his way back into Southgate's plans ahead of the delayed Euro 2020, receiving a place in the squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland.

"Buzzin [sic] to be recalled back into the England squad after two years," Lingard tweeted, along with a picture of him celebrating while playing for the national team.

"It's been a long journey, very mentally challenging but full of hard work and belief. Thank you to everyone who believed in me, this is just the start."

Lingard had not featured for United in the Premier League this term before leaving in the mid-season transfer window, with his only outings in the campaign for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer coming in domestic cup competitions.

Yet a reunion with former Red Devils boss David Moyes at West Ham has allowed the attacking midfielder to thrive again.

In his six league starts since joining, Lingard has scored four goals - twice as many as any of his new team-mates - and has also provided an assist, while only Aaron Cresswell (11) has created more chances than his tally of seven.

Southgate has been suitably impressed enough to include Lingard – whose long-term future at club level still remains unclear - in his latest squad.

"We weren't sure how it would work out but we were able to give Jesse a great reference," the England boss told media at the official squad announcement.

"We were just pleased he was back playing football. It's one of those moves that has worked well for everybody.

"I can only reiterate that ideally you would've seen that over a longer period of time. He's got a great opportunity now."

Lingard is joined in the party by a familiar face in Luke Shaw, drafted back in by Southgate following the left-back's outstanding form for United.

John Stones deserves an England national team recall, according to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

The 26-year-old defender scored City's opening goal in Saturday's 3-0 win away to Fulham in the Premier League.

Stones has been in excellent form for the league leaders in recent months, prompting talk of an England call-up for the first time since November 2019.

He had lost his place in the City line-up but fought back to become a key member this season, making 25 appearances in all competitions, including 18 starts in the league.

England manager Gareth Southgate will announce a squad next week for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland.

"He deserves it," Guardiola said.

"Of course Gareth Southgate knows better than me what he needs but just in case it happens, the one person who would be delighted and happy about his comeback in the national team, would be me.

"It was another great performance, apart from the goal which was so important, the way he played."

Stones has 39 caps to his name since his England debut in 2014.

He was part of England's 2018 World Cup squad, scoring twice in the 6-1 win over Panama.

John Stones hopes rediscovering his best form for Manchester City will lead to an England recall after the defender scored in Saturday's 3-0 win over Fulham.

Pep Guardiola's side extended their lead at the Premier League summit to 17 points, with all three goals coming in the second half at Craven Cottage.

It was Stones who got the ball rolling early in the second half, before Gabriel Jesus scored and Sergio Aguero ended his goal drought from the penalty spot.

Stones has now scored five goals in all competitions this season and has strung together a series of fine displays to put himself firmly back on Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate's radar, and the 26-year-old revealed earning the right to add to his 39 caps was a motivation for him.

Asked if an England recall was on his mind, he said: "Definitely. It's a massive honour for me and being out of the [recent] squads has been difficult for me.

"It's been a motivation for me and I've worked hard to get back into the team here and the England call-up – if it comes – is progress from what I've done for City."

Fulham, fresh from a 1-0 win over champions Liverpool, provided a stern test in a cagey opening 45 minutes before City pulled away.

It was a much-changed visiting side, with Guardiola's men competing for silverware on four fronts, and Stones was pleased with how the incoming players performed in a testing encounter in London.

"Everyone that came in deserves every bit of credit for the way we played," he said. "We fought and stayed so patient, which is difficult in moments like this.

"I'm glad to get on the scoresheet again. We knew that they keep such a high line from set-pieces. I tried to time my run as best as I could. The ball was great from Joao [Cancelo]. We told him to go over earlier to have an in-swinging ball and it paid off.

"We know that the squad is rotated because of the schedule of whatever it may be that the manager decides. We all know our roles and responsibilities.

"Give a lot of credit to Fulham. The way they play their football doesn't really reflect where they are in the table.

"They're a strong opposition and they made it hard for us in the first half. It was hard to find space in the pockets and in behind.

"We corrected a few things and it was great to get three points again and another clean sheet."

Emile Smith Rowe has all the attributes and qualities required to play for England having been phenomenal for Arsenal this season, according to Mikel Arteta.  

After getting a taste of first-team action at Arsenal in the previous two seasons, as well as spending time out on loan at RB Leipzig and Huddersfield Town, the midfielder has enjoyed a meteoric rise in recent months.  

Smith Rowe had not even featured in the Premier League before Arteta included him in the starting XI for the Boxing Day win over Chelsea.  

Since then, however, he has been involved in every league fixture for the Gunners, making 11 starts as well as an appearance as a substitute in the 1-0 home loss to Manchester City last month. 

His involvement against Leicester City last Sunday was cut short by a hip injury Arteta hopes is not too significant, considering the player has gone from peripheral figure to key cog, leading to speculation over an England call up.

With his club boss having no doubts whatsoever over the 20-year-old's talent and temperament, with Smith Rowe potentially set to follow Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka in making the step up to Gareth Southgate’s full squad after playing international football at youth level.  

However, there is still plenty of room for improvement too – particularly when it comes to adding goals to his game.  

Asked if Smith Rowe could be selected by England for their trio of World Cup qualifiers in March, Arteta replied: "I think it's possible. If he shows the same determination as Bukayo, be as humble as he is and play with the personality he has done, he has a great chance." 

"Emile has got all the attributes, all the qualities that you need to play for this football club and, in my opinion, for the national team.   

"I'm talking about finding the consistency level that is required, because that level is as good as it gets. But I think he has shown in moments this season what he can do. It's now about doing it for longer periods.  

"I think for us, it's more goals, being a threat all the time and working as hard as he has been doing, because I think he has been phenomenal for us."

Smith Rowe's emergence at Emirates Stadium provides a further option for Southgate, particularly with the delayed Euro 2020 tournament to come at the end of a hectic season for top-flight clubs.  

Jack Grealish impressed for England during the previous international break towards the end of 2020, though the Aston Villa playmaker is currently sidelined due to injury. Still, his tally of 10 assists in the Premier League this term demonstrates his creative abilities - only Kevin De Bruyne (11) has managed more when it comes to midfielders playing in the competition.  

Phil Foden scored twice in the 4-0 win over Iceland last November, a game that saw Mason Mount selected from the start. James Ward-Prowse was forced to withdraw from the squad as a precautionary measure, while there was no room for James Maddison, another currently out of action. 

Yet Smith Rowe has numbers that stack up in comparison to his potential rivals for a spot, creating four assists for Arsenal in his 12 league outings while completing 87.32 per cent of his passes (only Foden – at 87.65 - has a better pass success rate for English midfielders who have made 10 appearances and provided at least two assists in the Premier League).  

As Arteta pointed out, posing a greater goal threat - Smith Rowe has scored just once in the campaign so far – would further enhance his case. 

It may well be that this year's European Championship comes too soon, but Southgate at least has another name to consider in an already crowded position, not just for now but also for the long term.

The return of UEFA club competitions this week offered a reminder that there remain significant hoops to jump through before the delayed European Championship kicks off.

Fixtures being switched to alternative venues due to local coronavirus regulations cast the multiple host city model for Euro 2020 in an unhelpful light, with March's international break set to throw up fresh challenges.

Postponing and rearranging a major sporting event due to ongoing and unspeakably tragic global circumstances makes any focus on the footballing concerns within the equation feel somewhat crass.

But all 24 men leading countries into the finals will look at their squads before kick-off and ponder whether the additional 12 months of waiting and haphazard preparation have been a help or a hindrance in terms of form and personnel.

For England manager Gareth Southgate, the delay looks to have been advantageous.

It is highly unlikely the now resurgent John Stones and Luke Shaw would have featured in his defensive plans, much less centre-forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who is now the obvious back-up to captain Harry Kane.

Aston Villa's sparkling creative inspiration Jack Grealish now has England caps to his name, while a crop of richly gifted youngsters are flourishing.

None more so than Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden, who will go head to head when Premier League leaders Manchester City travel to Arsenal on Sunday.

Learning on the job

When Southgate comes to whittle down his final 23, versatility will count as a plus point for those hopeful of making the cut.

Foden and Saka have it in abundance, even if they have edged towards a degree of specialism during stunning runs of individual form during English football's winter months.

A central midfielder on his way through the youth ranks at boyhood club City, Foden's deployment on the left-wing has more or less coincided with the record-breaking 17-match winning run across all competitions that left Pep Guardiola's side 10 points clear at the start of the weekend

Not that it stopped Guardiola starting the 20-year-old as a false nine away to Liverpool, before switching Foden to the right flank for the second half, from where he provided an assist and a goal to inspire a statement 4-1 win.

Then, with Ilkay Gundogan injured, he was back in midfield to open the scoring during Wednesday's 3-1 win over Everton.

"He can play in both positions, he is so young," Guardiola said ahead of the Arsenal game.

"Phil just needs - and for the age [he is], he will get it –  the timing to play inside.

"When you play as a winger you have to play in one tempo, with one timing and one rhythm. When you play in the middle you have to play with another one.

"When he gets this balance, he will be 10 times the extraordinary player that he is right now. It's just a question of time."

Foden has four goals and two assists since the turn of the year in the Premier League, the same figures that can be attributed to Saka since Mikel Arteta selected him on the right wing for the Boxing Day clash against Chelsea.

Saka has featured at left-back, in both wing-back roles and centrally during Arteta's tenure, but he got on the scoresheet in a dominant 3-1 derby victory and has not looked back.

"I see Bukayo evolving, getting better and getting to understand different positions and finally we will fit him in one that gives the best [result]," Arteta said back in July. It appears he has his answer.

Variety is the spice of life

Splitting Saka's 21 Premier League appearances this season into centre, right or left positionally, Opta data shows he creates 1.1 chances per 90 minutes when on the right.

Both of his top-flight assists this term have come when starting on that flank, while an expected assists (xA) scored of 0.23 per 90 indicates a better quality of pass into danger areas when set against stints on the left or through the middle.

The 19-year-old, whose four England caps have come at left wing-back, is similarly effective dribbling on either flank, with 1.4 (left) and 1.5 (right) completed per match.

That figure rises to 3.1 when Saka has played through the middle this season, although two appearances and a solitary – albeit goalscoring – start in a central three versus Sheffield United skew his numbers to a degree.

Guardiola's words this week suggest Foden will find himself back on the flanks at Emirates Stadium, but the City star's feel for a goal comes to the fore when he plays through the middle.

In six Premier League games where he has operated centrally, his goals per game rate of 0.81 per 90 minutes and 2.4 dribbles completed per game are his highest across the three categories.

A shot conversion of 30 per cent also dwarfs his efforts from the left (11 per cent) but 2.5 chances created from open play per 90 in the latter role is perhaps the most significant statistic when it comes to explaining why he has made Leroy Sane's old position his own.

Among Europe's best

Saka and Foden each stack up very well when compared to the leading players under 21 throughout Europe. Indeed, no player within their age range has played more than Saka's 2,317 minutes in all competitions across clubs in the big five leagues.

Foden (2,130) comes in sixth in that regard, while his 11 goals are third behind Moise Kean (16) and Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland (25). Saka's six goals overall place him seventh.

Jadon Sancho (11) is the only under-21 player with more assists than Foden (six), while the City player's 44 chances created from open play comes in second to the Dortmund winger – another handy illustration of the ample resources at Southgate's disposal.

How he should deploy them will be relentlessly discussed before June, even if those arguments are now the preserve of Zoom calls rather than crowded pubs.

What increasingly appears beyond debate is that Foden and Saka have established ironclad cases for inclusion, having at best been outside punts a year ago.

Along with their dazzling array of skills, the versatility Guardiola and Arteta have used to their benefit could prove invaluable to Southgate amid the cut and thrust of tournament football.

England boss Gareth Southgate is to take part in a study exploring the links between football and dementia and has urged other former professionals to do the same.

The 50-year-old has volunteered to join the HEADING study, led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

A second independently led study by the University of Nottingham, called FOCUS, is being backed by funding from the Football Association and Professional Footballers' Association.

It is hoped the research can further understanding of possible links between professional footballers and an increased risk of neurodegenerative disorders. Former England international Nobby Stiles had dementia when he died last year, while fellow 1966 World Cup winner Bobby Charlton has the disease.

"This is an incredibly important issue in our game and I'm very happy to play my part in supporting this research," Southgate said via the FA.

"Having turned 50 last year, I am now eligible to take part in the HEADING study, which could provide crucial and valuable insight to help people who play the game now and in the future.

"I would encourage any former professional footballer who is willing and able to take part in the HEADING or the FOCUS study to do so.

"Our involvement is absolutely essential if we are to have a greater understanding of this issue;

Gareth Southgate will not set strict boundaries when it comes to team discipline but the England boss expects his players to be "reliable" and "good ambassadors".

Harry Maguire, Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood have all been involved in high-profile incidents in recent months that led to them being dropped from Three Lions duty. 

A breach of coronavirus isolation rules while in Iceland proved costly for Manchester City playmaker Foden and Manchester United forward Greenwood in September. 

The pair appeared to be shown in a Snapchat video posted by one of the women they were said to be socialising with at England's team hotel in Iceland, a meeting then forbidden under the country's strict rules in response to COVID-19.

Both were sent home and missed a subsequent game against Denmark, although Foden was recalled for England's matches against Republic of Ireland, Belgium and Iceland last month. 

Maguire was also in the headlines for the wrong reasons in August after he was arrested while on holiday on the Greek island of Mykonos.

The 27-year-old – who was originally selected, then dropped from the October internationals – is appealing a suspended prison sentence after he was found guilty of aggravated assault, resisting arrest and attempted bribery.

While Southgate is not prepared to lay down strict rules for his players, he does expect them to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times. 

"I would think every club is going to want to minimise the issues," he told a media conference. 

"On a broader level, I mentioned the responsibilities of being an England player. That shows the change of landscape for any players involved with us. 

"We want the country to connect with the team, be proud of the team and that they are good ambassadors for everything we are trying to do. 

"Reliability is part of our criteria. I'm not going to say this is the line, and anyone who crosses it we don't consider, but we're always observing how professional they are and how they will be if they are away with us for 35-40 days. All of that has to come into our thinking."

Southgate was speaking after England were drawn against Poland, Hungary, Albania, Andorra and San Marino in Group I for 2022 World Cup qualifying. 

That means a meeting with Poland striker Robert Lewandowski, who has started the season in scintillating form for Bayern Munich.

After 55 goals across all competitions last term for the Bundesliga and Champions League winners, Lewandowski has already plundered 15 goals this campaign. 

Southgate is an admirer of the 32-year-old and says his defenders will relish the opportunity to try and shackle one of the world's best strikers. 

"He's an incredible finisher," Southgate added. "I love the way he plays. He's got an excellent all-round game, protecting the ball, bringing others into play. All different types of finishes. 

"He's a huge talisman for Poland. It's a great challenge for our defenders to come up against centre-forwards like that.

"In the modern game, there are not so many number nines, but Lewandowski is absolutely in that mould."

Gareth Southgate fears England's top stars will be burnt out by the time the rescheduled Euro 2020 tournament comes around next year.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has been critical of the Premier League for their refusal to follow other European leagues and sanction the use of five substitutes.

This season's matches have been squeezed into a shorter timeframe due to the impact of the coronavirus, which delayed the completion of the 2019-20 season.

Speaking at a media conference following the draw for the World Cup qualifying groups for Qatar 2022, the England manager joined Klopp in expressing his fears over the workload placed on some players.

"I think all coaches are concerned about the number of matches," Southgate said.

"It's not one area in particular, it’s the overall volume. We're in a shortened season. No winter break, which was deemed to be a good idea last year.

"We've got the issue over the substitutions. We've known that. When the debate comes up, we were on to how difficult September would be as soon as the leagues restarted again.

"Everyone else came to that decision, a bit later. Jurgen will be like me, looking at what will March be like.

"For the top players in particular, they are the ones that play European, International and league football.

"What we’ve tried to affect, we lobbied UEFA for five substitutes. I know there are talks about the FA Cup going that route.

"I would think Jurgen would be frustrated because in Germany, they work so closely together. I see the logic in what they're saying.

"A compact season like this is always a concern, with what you will get at the end of it."

Southgate admitted it was challenge of his job to have a constructive dialogue with Premier League managers, who he acknowledged are under intense pressure, over the handling of players.

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho recently questioned whether Southgate bowed to pressure from Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola when Raheem Sterling pulled out of England squad through injury.

Sterling then appeared in City's next match against Tottenham while Spurs had three players who all featured in games for England.

Southgate added: "We have the most intense competition at the top of our league.

"We have some very successful managers who have huge motivation, all of our clubs with huge motivation and responsibilities.

"Nearly all of our squad are playing in England, and our league is very different. It’s one of the additional situations as England manager you have to deal with.

"It's always important to have respectful relationships, but the reality is our objectives are different. They are the clubs' players, we have to respect that."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has accused the Premier League of ignoring the mental and physical welfare of players with its refusal to sanction five substitutions.

The issue was neither raised nor discussed at a Premier League shareholders' meeting this week despite Klopp and other managers, such as Manchester United's Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, regularly highlighting the issue.

Clubs had previously been allowed to make five changes during the restart last season, but the Premier League twice voted against continuing it before the start of the current campaign.

The English Football League has since voted to allow managers to make five subs if needed, with the rule already in place in the Champions League and elsewhere in Europe.

Klopp again spoke at length on the subject at a media conference on Friday ahead of Liverpool's Premier League fixture with Wolves.

"I was not surprised because I knew about it. I think that information speaks for itself, nobody thought it would go through," Klopp said of the meeting.

"I told you the facts that if we would have voted in the managers' meeting, which we were not allowed to, then it would have been through, 100 per cent, with 15 or 16 votes.

"That it didn’t happen since then is obviously a sign that some shareholders see it differently to their managers.

"That's not really a good sign as it shows that these people really ignore the player welfare. The coaches don't do that but these people do it.

"If we don't have a chance to vote for it then we have to accept it for the moment, but because it's about player welfare – mental health and player welfare, it's a whole package.

"We will not stop fighting for it because it’s just the right thing to do."

Klopp claimed England will suffer from player burnout at next year's European Championship if the issue is not addressed.

The German also maintained that Liverpool were not seeking an advantage on the pitch, despite the club's injury problems this season, but simply looking after the best interests of all players.

"Next summer it will become a problem for Gareth Southgate," he added.

"Because all the players Gareth wants to pick, most of them play three times a week and will do that from February on again, so Gareth will get what we can give him.

"If they stick with three subs, it becomes an FA problem. [Fulham manager] Scott Parker mentioned in the managers' meeting that for Fulham three subs is better because five would be an advantage for bigger squads.

"But he doesn't think we should vote on it. He thought the Premier League or FA should decide on it."

Klopp continued: "It is not about Liverpool. It's about all the players and load-management, and nothing else. Not to get an advantage, but to deal with the problem of the COVID-19 situation in the best possible way.

"We cannot just ignore it because some people say it would be an advantage for others. It would not be an advantage; I cannot say it often enough. It's not about Liverpool.

"It's just the right thing to do. I'm pretty sure all the teams have to play now every three days from now on. It will be massive for all teams, everybody will feel the difference to other seasons."

Jose Mourinho has urged England coach Gareth Southgate to name the Premier League managers who pressurise him to rest their players as he questioned Raheem Sterling’s international absence.

Southgate recently claimed England's players faced significant demands from their clubs because of an intense schedule of domestic and European commitments.

Speaking at a pre-match news conference ahead of Spurs' clash with Manchester City, Mourinho cast suspicion on Sterling's withdrawal from Southgate's squad and said "we all know" the forward will play for City on Saturday.

Sterling pulled out of England's squad with a calf injury, while Tottenham's contingent of Harry Kane, Eric Dier and Harry Winks featured in at least two of England's three matches.

Spurs striker Kane even played 76 minutes of their win over Iceland despite the fact England were not able to qualify for the finals of the Nations League.

Mourinho said: "Gareth Southgate, I read, I don't think I'm wrong in what I read, he supposedly said that some football club managers, they put pressure not to play for the national team.

"And because of that he feels sometimes the need to call club managers to try to cool down the emotions and try to control the difficult situation for him.

"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?

"And I would like him to say which are the coaches that he calls and speaks on the phone with them. Apart from that, he has the right, he has the power to call the players he wants.

"He wants to win matches, especially after a defeat, the next match even being a dead rubber is an important match. I sympathise with that."

Mourinho continued: "And of course we all know Sterling will play tomorrow. When Eric Dier left the national team injured in the previous month, he didn't play two matches for Tottenham.

"He didn't play a Premier League match and a Europa League match. He needed a couple of weeks to recover and Raheem is going to play tomorrow.

"These are the little details I think Gareth should explain to us all. Apart from that, I totally support him in the fact that in the national team, in a country like England, the Three Lions on the shirt is always to be respected and he plays with the players he wants to play."

England manager Gareth Southgate is happy to have a selection headache as he prepares for Euro 2020 next year, after the Three Lions' youngsters starred against Iceland.

Records tumbled at Wembley in Wednesday's Nations League encounter, with England winning 4-0.

Declan Rice opened his international account, with Mason Mount doubling England's tally before Phil Foden – who had created the opener – scored his first goals for his country to complete the rout.

The only players aged 30 or older in England's starting XI were Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker, Southgate starting four players – Foden, Mount, Rice and Bukayo Saka – aged 21 or younger; the first time the Three Lions have done so in a competitive match since November 1959.

His faith was repaid, with all of them turning in impressive displays as England dominated from start to finish, controlling 78.3 per cent of the possession, while Jack Grealish was again in superb form from a free role on the left flank.

Grealish, 25, won six fouls, meaning he has drawn 21 in total since his debut for England in September, more than any other player in that time.

Rice, meanwhile, is the first West Ham player to score for England since Matthew Upson against Germany in the 2010 World Cup, while the midfielder is also the second-youngest Hammer – after Joe Cole – to net for the Three Lions.

Two of Mount's three goals this season have come for his country, and with Foden's late double, three players aged 21 or under netted in the same match for England for the first time since February 1883 against Ireland, when William Cobbold, Oliver Whateley and Frank Pawson found the net.

Foden is the youngest player in the history of the England national team to score more than once in a match at Wembley.

He also became the youngest player to score and assist in a match for England since Marcus Rashford in September 2017.

With Southgate's 3-4-3 system finally clicking against Iceland, the debate will now turn to whether it is the formation the England manager should use heading into the Euros.

Jadon Sancho came on from the bench, as did Tammy Abraham, while in-form Dominic Calvert-Lewin was an unused substitute.

Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford were missing altogether, and with Mount, Grealish and Foden all looking sharp, Southgate has a plethora of attacking options to choose from, without factoring in the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold and James Maddison.

However, it is a headache he is happy to deal with.

Southgate told Sky Sports: "I think over the last few days their talent has been outstanding. It was a very difficult game, all the players were hearing messages that this is meaningless and there was nothing to play for but they did play for it, there were big opportunities for young players but also for some older players.

"We're still trying to build and improve all the time. There was lovely football and it was good to watch and it was good for the young ones to get the goals – very special for them.

"The squad that we've had over the last three months is going to peak in the next three to five years and they'll get a lot more club experience and international experience. We'll invest the time in them. There are some very good senior professionals as well.

"We are still working on the balance of players for the system. Our attacking play was very, very good. If it's a headache about having good players in the side then that's a good one to have."

One down side for England was captain Harry Kane failing to score from five attempts – none of which hit the target.

Wednesday is the only day of the week Kane is yet to score on for England, the Tottenham star having attempted 12 shots in three such games, but failing to land a single one on goal.

Phil Foden opened his England account with a double as Gareth Southgate's side ended their Nations League campaign on a high with a 4-0 victory over 10-man Iceland.

Defeat to Belgium on Sunday had ensured Wednesday's Group A2 meeting at Wembley was a dead rubber, but England's youthful team nevertheless turned in an impressive display.

Making his first competitive England appearance since breaking coronavirus protocol after a victory over Iceland in September, Foden marked his return in style, setting up Declan Rice's opener before adding further gloss to a routine win with a superbly taken brace.

Mason Mount had doubled England's tally, with Birkir Mar Saevarsson's red card for a second bookable offence all but ending any comeback hopes for outgoing Iceland coach Erik Hamren.

For differing reasons, Jack Grealish and Foden were the big stories heading into the game and the two playmakers combined for England's 20th-minute opener.

Rice was the benefactor, heading in his maiden England goal from Foden's free-kick, which was won by Grealish, who moments later teed up Bukayo Saka.

The Arsenal youngster failed to beat Ogmundur Kristinsson, but Mount made no such mistake with England's next chance, coolly prodding in after latching onto Harry Kane's knockdown.

Harry Maguire's marauding run forward resulted in a fine pass through for Foden, whose shot was charged down by Kristinsson, who then denied the midfielder again before Kane curled wide.

Iceland's hopes seemed to have been extinguished nine minutes into the second half – Saevarsson receiving a second yellow for pulling back Saka.

Kari Arnason might have changed that, yet he headed wide from Ari Freyr Skulason's corner.

Yet England had the third goal their dominance deserved in the 80th minute when Foden swept home from Jadon Sancho's cutback.

The 20-year-old Foden was not done there, however, and capped off a fine individual display with a thumping strike into the bottom-right corner.

What does it mean? Southgate's system finally clicks

England have now remained unbeaten in their final game of a calendar year in each of the last seven years (W5 D2), since a 1-0 defeat to Germany in 2013. And though it has been a frustrating Nations League campaign, Southgate’s 3-4-3 formation clicked in style on Wednesday.

The trick now will be if Southgate can find a winning formula at the back to provide the platform for the likes of Grealish, Foden and England's other young guns to do the damage.

The kids are all right

England had four players aged 21 or younger – Saka, Foden, Rice and Mount – in the starting XI for a competitive international for the first time since November 1959 against Northern Ireland, and the youngsters did not let Southgate down.

Foden – the youngest player to score twice in the same match for the national team at Wembley – was the pick of the bunch, and his strikes meant England had three players aged 21 or younger score in the same match for the first time since February 1883.

Hamren's Iceland tenure ends with a whimper

Hamren has taken the decision to step down after this match and Iceland's new coach will face something of a rebuild.

Having taken over after the 2018 World Cup, Hamren has failed to lead Iceland to a third successive major tournament and, on Wednesday, his team mustered just two attempts, failing to test Jordan Pickford at all, and they had only 21.7 per cent of possession.

What's next?

Both of these sides will next be in action during the March international break, with World Cup 2022 qualifying set to start.

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