England boss Gareth Southgate was at the King Power Stadium on Monday afternoon ahead of his team’s game with Switzerland.
The Kick It Out International will be the Three Lions’ second match of September, following on from Saturday’s UEFA Nations League opener with Spain.
- Kick It Out International
- 8pm, Tuesday 11 September
- King Power Stadium, Leicester
- Live on Sky Sports
And after the manager spoke to the media about the game, we’ve picked out some of the talking points.
No concerns over ‘have-nots’
After admitting his side found it tough to break Spain’s pressing and control of possession at Wembley over the weekend, Southgate revealed he can’t be too concerned over what sort of players he doesn’t have at his disposal, preferring to focus on those he can work with. “The important thing is that I help them to develop and invest time in them so they can grow and improve,” he said. “I prefer to focus on what we’ve got and get to the best possible level with those players. We can’t think about what we haven’t got and how we might like to play, we need to concentrate on our strengths and maximise those strengths, which we did in the summer, and continue to do that. We played young players at the weekend like Joe Gomez and Marcus Rashford and it’s my belief that to improve the team, we give guys like these the experiences they need to be better.”
It’s not me, it’s you
Should England lose against the Swiss, it will be their fourth successive defeat, but the Three Lions boss is un-concerned about avoiding any records. Ever since taking charge, Southgate has always put as tough a test possible in front of his team and says that will never change. “I’m not concerned about it, otherwise I would’ve made decisions to boost my own win record,” he said. “In the build-up to last summer we played Brazil, Germany, Italy, France and Spain. We do it to try and help the team. I’ll have to live with whatever people want to say about records and relegations, or whatever else it is, but I’m comfortable in my own skin in that regard. It’s not about me, it’s about developing the England team.”
Game time galore
Southgate is hoping his selection on Tuesday can help kick-start the season for a number of his players who might have found minutes hard to come by with their clubs. He’s also keen for that hunger to reflect in a performance and a victory over Vladimir Petkovic’s Swiss team. “It’s always our objective to win matches,” he explained. “But we’ve got to focus on processes and on performance and a lot of the guys coming into the team tomorrow may have had zero minutes in the league. But the right thing for them, and ultimately us, as we go through this season and beyond, is to give them game time in international matches.”
England will be without Dele Alli for Tuesday’s game, after the Spurs man returned to his club for treatment on a minor muscle train on Monday morning. However, Southgate revealed that he expects Dele will be fit enough to feature for Spurs in their Premier League game with Liverpool at the weekend.
Ready to Kick It Out
With the game designated as a Kick It Out International to commemorate 25 years of the organisation, Southgate gave his backing to the cause. “I spoke in the summer about the diversity in our squad and how it really represents the modern nature of England,” he said. “When I think back to when I started playing and how players of ethnic diversity were treated, we have come a long way since then. But there’s still a lot of work to do, not just in football, in society too. I believe football can be a catalyst for change and have an effect on society. It’s great that our game gives us a chance to acknowledge the great work done by Kick It Out over the last 25 years."