Jose Mourinho has called on Gareth Southgate to name the managers he claimed are pressuring players not to represent England and predicted recent injury victim Raheem Sterling will start for Manchester City at Tottenham on Saturday.
Earlier this week, Southgate suggested that his squad was “under huge pressure from their clubs” to withdraw from national team matches to minimise the risk of injury.
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Sterling withdrew from the squad due to a calf problem and Mourinho drew a contrast between the City winger’s involvement and that of his Spurs players, particular Eric Dier who was forced to pull out of last month’s internationals with a hamstring issue that subsequently ruled him out of club football.
Mourinho believes Sterling will line up against Spurs on Saturday and urged Southgate to go public with the details of his conversations with club managers, especially after Harry Kane, Dier and Harry Winks were all involved in a dead rubber Nations League match against Iceland on Wednesday with England already unable to qualify for the finals.
“Gareth Southgate, I read, I don’t think I’m wrong in what I read, he supposedly told 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,” Mourinho told a news conference on Friday.
“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.
“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.
“I’m OK with that [Kane starting against Iceland]. A national team match should never be a dead rubber like you call it. The only problem for me is should be the same for everybody, not just for some.”
Mourinho also confirmed Son Heung-Min has tested negative for COVID-19 and isolated for the requisite period to be available to face City but late checks will be made on Winks, Gedson Fernandes and Davinson Sanchez while Erik Lamela is “still in the last period of his recovery” from a foot problem.