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Jose Mourinho has once again taken aim at Gareth Southgate, suggesting that Manchester City put pressure on the England boss to release Raheem Sterling early ahead of this weekend’s clash with Tottenham. The Spurs boss has had his battles with the England manager this season, with Mourinho frequently criticizing Southgate’s usage of Harry Kane in particular.

Kane started two of England’s three matches during the international break, missing the friendly against Ireland before featuring in Nations League clashes with Belgium and Iceland.

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Spurs regulars Kane, Harry Winks, and Eric Dier were all involved in the dead-rubber clash with Iceland, with the latter forced to pull out of October’s England squad with a hamstring issue that subsequently ruled him out for Spurs.

Sterling, meanwhile, was allowed to return to his club early, with the Manchester City star joining Jordan Henderson in being exempt from the Iceland game due to injury. The winger played no part in the game against Belgium before returning to Manchester, having injured his calf in training last week.

Southgate stated this week that his squad was “under huge pressure from their clubs” to withdraw from national team matches due to the risk of injury, adding that he believes club managers would do the same as he is doing if they were in his position. And Mourinho has called on Southgate to specify which managers he has been discussing his squad with, hinting that Sterling and Manchester City are getting preferential treatment. 

“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 said.

“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 sympathize 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.”Spurs currently sit second in the Premier League ahead of Saturday’s clash with Sterling’s Manchester City.


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