In light of Jose Mourinho’s concerns over Harry Kane’s treatment, Gareth Southgate has confessed that his first and foremost priority is always on player welfare. The Three Lions beat Belgium in their third game of the UEFA Nations’ League and are set to play Denmark before the break is over.
With a congested and condensed season ahead, it has seen many calls for the international break to be scrapped completely especially with a spike in COVID-19 cases. However, it has also seen managers reportedly ask international head coaches to reduce the playing time of their top stars with Harry Kane the prime example. Reports have indicated that Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho had spoken to Gareth Southgate with him unhappy at the amount that Kane has played so far.
That was exuberated by rumours of an injury for the 27-year-old that has seen him play less than 25 minutes in this particular international break. However, in light of said reports, Southgate has revealed that his first “priority is always the welfare of players” and nothing else. The England head coach further added that Kane is fully fit and that the Three Lions captain was never injured but instead suffered from a routine bout of muscle soreness.
"I don't really understand the story because he's been fully fit since the end of last week, just before the last game. He would have started the last game but hadn't had enough training time really. He was obviously fine during the game so he's fit, available. I didn't really understand the stories that were being run so where that's been coming from... it is certainly not the conversations we've been having with Spurs medically. And it is not something that is really affecting us in the camp," Southgate said reported ESPN.
"He hasn't had an injury. He was feeling muscle soreness which can happen to athletes but there was no injury at any point. We don't risk players. I've said this before the camp last week. I've been a player. My priority is always the welfare of players. We would never risk a player. We've ended up on very rare occasions with a couple of injuries during matches. That's pretty much unavoidable.
"But we've never lost a player through an error in terms of our training loading and we pride ourselves on looking after the players. We want them fit, we want them as sharp as possible for the games. Our issue with Harry before Sunday's game was to perform at the highest level. Now he's got an additional couple of days' training, it is not even an issue," he added.