‘I heard him’ – Gareth Southgate responds to Mourinho’s plea to rest Harry Kane

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Gareth Southgate has responded to Jose Mourinho’s plea to ensure Harry Kane does not play all three of England’s matches during next week’s international break.

The majority of Tottenham’s first-team squad will join up with their national teams after the clash against Manchester United on Sunday, with Harry Kane, Harry Winks and Eric Dier being called up again for England.

Mourinho admitted in his press conference on Wednesday that he will not be talking with Southgate or his assistant Steve Holland about Kane but urged the England boss to be careful with the striker, given the recent congested fixture schedule (Football.London).

Responding to the Tottenham coach’s comments, Southgate said (The Evening Standard): “Jose was great, wasn’t he? He was on good form. I heard him.

“He won’t phone but he’ll stand at the top of Tottenham’s stadium and tell us. So that was good.

“We’re certainly not looking to start players in three games, but I can’t guarantee that no player will play no minute of all three games. You might end up having to put somebody on for five minutes.

“Our aim is to manage the squad, we’ve got to be conscious of the players. The season as a whole is a huge challenge for clubs and national teams so we’ve all got to help each other on that, it doesn’t help anybody if we’re not joined up on our thinking.”

The Three Lions boss also insisted, tongue in cheek, that Mourinho also has to do him a favour by resting Kane ahead of the Euros.

He said: “All Jose needs to do is make sure that in April and May he looks after Harry Kane for us, because there’ll be 55 million people relying on that so that obviously works both ways.”

However, the 50-year-old insisted that his relationship with Mourinho has always been good and the Portuguese coach has never interfered with his team selections.

Southgate added: “With Jose, I’ve had a pretty good relationship for a while. He allowed us to have Steve when I was taking the U21s and he was very helpful in facilitating that.

“I’ve got to say Jose has never ever put me under pressure not to pick a player. That is 100 per cent the case. He has always accepted, he’s worked at big clubs throughout his life, he’s always accepted that international football is part of that situation, where his players are going to go.

“He would expect us to look after those players – as we should do. With every player that we have. And the physical loading in training and the way we manage the matches is key. But he’s never ever, never once asked me not to select a player. He’s been very respectful in that way.”

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