England manager Gareth Southgate has admitted he will listen to the cries of Tottenham counterpart Jose Mourinho and will manage the minutes of striker Harry Kane during the international break.
Mourinho has spoken publicly of just how much he needs Kane available to finish the Premier League season and fears that the striker may not benefit from playing three World Cup qualifying matches in seven days.
“He does what he thinks is best for the team,” Mourinho said (via Sky Sports News). “I believe that he has a good relationship with Harry. Good relations normally means good communication and I hope that happens between them without me being in the middle saying something. I hope that, between them, they can find some compromise to protect the player.”
It appears as though those cries have not fallen on deaf ears as Southgate revealed that he intends to manage Kane‘s game time and give other players the chance to prove themselves in the build-up to this summer’s European Championship.
“If I allowed Harry to make that decision, he would play every minute,” Southgate said in a press conference. “That won’t be happening. But, look, it is brilliant we have a captain who wants to play every minute of every game
“We have got to be mindful he had extra-time last Thursday and another high-intensity game last Sunday, so we have got situations with a lot of the players, really, and we have got to make sure we manage the fixture correctly.
“We have done that through training this week as well and we need to be just as fresh with the games against Albania and Poland as we do tomorrow. So, that is not an unusual challenge for us as a coaching team and as a medical team and our physical performance team.
“But we always communicate well with the players and I think we are in a good place going into the game tomorrow.”
Kane has not scored for England since November 2019 and will see Thursday’s meeting with loveable underdogs San Marino as the perfect chance to open the floodgates again.
Whether he will play in that game or not is currently unclear, but if Southgate chooses to rest the Spurs man for this one, he can choose to call on either Everton‘s Dominic Calvert-Lewin or Aston Villa‘s Ollie Watkins in his place.