Gareth Southgate will name Harry Kane in his squad for England’s Nations League semi-final against the Netherlands, even though he has not played since Tottenham’s Champions League victory over Manchester City on April 9, Sky Sports News understands.
Mauricio Pochettino is hopeful, Kane, who is recovering from angle ligament damage, will be fit to play some part against Liverpool in the Champions League Final on June 1 – just five days before England’s semi-final in Portugal.
But Southgate will still include Kane in an expanded England squad to be named at Wembley on Thursday lunchtime, even though it’s far from clear how much football – if any – Kane will be able to play in an England shirt next month.
England’s manager is expected to name at least 25 players in his squad, even though only 23 names can be included in the final list that must be submitted to UEFA by May 27 – that deadline is five days before the Champions League final, in which up to nine members of Southgate’s squad could feature.
Because of his fear of late injury withdrawals, Southgate will name a bigger initial squad than usual, though changes to the 23-man final line-up can still be made up to 24 hours before the semi-final if sanctioned by UEFA’s medical assessors.
It’s thought he won’t stipulate publicly, or to the players, which members of his initial squad are only there on standby.
The Champions League and Europa League finals have proved a logistical nightmare for Southgate and the FA, who will be forced to have a staggered join-up by the players, as they prepare for UEFA’s inaugural showpiece:
- Those not involved in the European finals, or the later-finishing Bundesliga (Jadon Sancho), will have an initial training camp at St George’s Park starting on Tuesday next week. That is due to last three days, before the players are sent home for a few more days’ rest.
- Those players will be recalled on Bank Holiday Monday, May 27, along with the England players involved in the FA Cup Final, and Sancho, who will all join the squad for the first time.
- At this point, Southgate will name his final squad of 23, and inform UEFA – even though the two Chelsea players involved in the Europa League Final (Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley) and nine players from Spurs and Liverpool due to feature in the Champions League Final (Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Daniel Sturridge and Kane, Alli, Dier, Trippier, Rose) will still not be with the England camp.
- Three further days’ training will follow at St George’s Park, before the squad is again disbanded to re-join their families.
- The final squad will meet up at St George’s Park, week commencing June 3rd, though it will be Tuesday, June 4th before ALL 23 players are together, because of expected trophy celebrations on Monday 3rd June for whichever club wins the Champions League.
- The 23-man squad will fly to Portugal the next day, June 5, and head to England’s training base in Guimaraes.
- A day later, June 6, England play the N in the semi-final of the Nations League.
(c) Sky News 2019: Harry Kane to be named in England squad for Nations League semi-final