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All-English Champions League final complicates Nations League

England play Holland in a Nations League semi-final on June 6 in Guimaraes, Portugal, five days after the Champions League final in Madrid

England manager Gareth Southgate believes winning the Nations League in June has become “a little bit more complicated” now there will be an all-English Champions League final.

Last month he suggested England’s attempts to win the competition would be a “mess” if one or more English clubs reached the June 1 showpiece in Madrid.

And with Liverpool and Tottenham now representing the Premier League in European club football’s biggest game, Southgate may have to deal with the delayed arrival of up to 10 players to the squad.

England play Holland in a Nations League semi-final on June 6 in Guimaraes, Portugal, five days after the Champions League final in Madrid.

Southgate, who was speaking at the launch of Future Leaders, a two-day programme from The Prince’s Trust charity which seeks to bolster young people’s skills in leadership and teamwork, said: “It is a little bit more complicated but firstly it is a brilliant achievement by the two clubs and by the two managers.

“In different ways, they have had phenomenal seasons against really difficult challenges.
“For our young English players it is great that they are playing in matches that really matter while under pressure and they are being really successful because that will help England in the long run.

“Although it makes our preparation a bit more complicated, that is a challenge that we have to deal with as a group of staff. We have got to adapt. We are always telling our players to adapt so we have got to do the same. We can still prepare the team for the game with Holland.”

On the impact of the delayed arrival to the squad, Southgate jokingly said “we will play a lot of five-a-side in training” as part of the adapted preparations.

He said: “I think we have always had the understanding that this could happen and we need to keep all of our players physically ready for our tournament in the summer.

“It is just making sure the players we are working with are as prepared as they can be. Then we will fit those other players back into the programme when they arrive back with us.

“We won’t have long before our matches but actually we are used to that as with our international weeks we only get two or three days’ preparation.
He added: “Although you would like more for a semi-final, and we could have had more, we haven’t and we have just got to deal with that.”

Potential squad members could include Liverpool players Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

There could also be a strong line-up of Tottenham players in Southgate’s squad, with the likes of Danny Rose, Kieran Trippier, Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Harry Winks and England captain Harry Kane all in contention to make the party if they are fit.
Lucas Moura scored a dramatic stoppage-time winner on Wednesday to cap an astonishing Tottenham fightback against Ajax.

That followed a miracle comeback by Liverpool, who booked their place by thrashing Barcelona 4-0 at Anfield on Tuesday night.
Southgate noted that Holland will have a couple of Liverpool players in the same situation but said: “These situations are neither an advantage nor a disadvantage, it is how you respond to them.

“I think one of the good things is that the two teams have got a fortnight from their last league game at the weekend until the final.
“They have got to manage that period but there will only have been the one match.

“There will have been an emotional response to however that game goes but in terms of the physical part of it, there is enough time to recover that.

“We will just have to assess the players when they are with us to see where they all sit.”
Southgate was at the Liverpool match on Tuesday and watched the other one at home, where he was “off the sofa at the end of the game”.


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