England boss Gareth Southgate aiming to end this summer with Nations League trophy

Thursday 16 May 2019
Gareth Southgate has been speaking about his squad for this summer's Nations League Finals

Gareth Southgate believes his players will approach the UEFA Nations League Finals with determination to end the summer with a trophy.

The Three Lions head to Portugal next month for the conclusion of the inaugural UEFA competition, where they will face the Netherlands in the semi-final on 6 June before progressing to either the final or a third-place game three days later.

Southgate named a 27-strong initial squad on Thursday with the first group of players due to report to St. George’s Park next week, while a number of the squad will finish their club seasons in the Emirates FA Cup, Champions League and Europa League before linking up.

And while that means some of the players will be arriving with a new medal in their collection ahead of the trip, the manager is keen to ensure everyone ends up with another one on 9 June.

"We're really looking forward to the opportunity to finish the summer off, once everything's done,” he said.

"It's a great opportunity for us to build on the last 12 months.

"I know the players will be particular excited for this opportunity and to be two games away from winning a trophy, against top opposition throughout this competition, it would be another significant step for us.

"It's been an incredible couple of weeks for English football really, both with the European ties and in the Championship play-offs, all really exciting matches and the start of trophies being handed out.”

Southgate and his players secured their place at the Finals after topping the group last November

England can take just 22 players to the Finals, so there will be a cut-off at some stage, but with so many absences for the squad’s first two training camps, Southgate believes it’s the right approach.

"It's a little bit larger than normal for obvious reasons, as we've got a few unknowns,” he explained.

"I don't think we've ever had a camp where we haven't had a lot of pull outs, but we've always adapted and managed to achieve results with new players and young players.

"This looks like being the same, there's a lot of uncertainty about who's going to be available until the last minute but we've got a strong squad with a lot of talent and we're looking forward to the matches.

"We'll have to look at assessing everybody after the Champions League Final because there's the physical aspect of that game but also the emotional fallout from it.

“It's a huge match, so we've got to prepare everybody properly to play.”

Nathan Redmond, pictured with Marcus Rashford during his time with the U21s, is back in the senior squad

There’s a recall to the squad for Southampton’s Nathan Redmond, who hasn’t featured for the seniors since his debut in March 2017, and Southgate admits his late-season form earned him the opportunity.

"He's finished the season really well with Southampton,” he added.

“I think since the change of manager and the style they play, it's similar to what we ask of our forward players.

"He has a lot of pace and presses well and he's started to score more regularly after a difficult season last year.

"It's a good opportunity for Nathan.”

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By Nicholas Veevers