Thursday, January 20, 2022
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Ukraine vs England: Southgate reacts as Mourinho names players to be benched

Ukraine vs England Southgate reacts as Mourinho names players to be benched

England manager, Gareth Southgate, has brushed off the clamour to rest England players, Harry Maguire, Declan Rice, Kalvin Phillips and Phil Foden when they face Ukraine tonight at risk of suspension for a potential Euro 2020 semi-final.

DAILY POST reports the four England players have all picked up a booking at the tournament so far.

Roma manager Jose Mourinho had led calls for the likes of Rice and Maguire, others to be left out at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, given Southgate has plenty of alternative options available within his 26-man squad.

Reacting to the development, Southgate said at his pre-match press conference that looking beyond Ukraine would be a ‘big error’, insisting that picking a strong team capable of beating Ukraine was his main ‘focus’.

“I don’t really understand that rationale,” Southgate said.

“I understand that strategically you might like to do that but I can’t think of a country in the world that would do that for a quarter-final, especially a country that’s only been to three semi-finals in its history.

“No, I think we have got to focus on tomorrow. I think it would be a big error to be thinking about anything else and I think it would be an insult to Ukraine as well.

“So we won’t make any decisions based on yellow cards. We did in the last group game because we knew we had qualified and we had the opportunity to protect Phil in that game as we were not sure what was going to happen further on.

“But now we play to win and we have got to have everybody available.”

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