GARETH SOUTHGATE faces a battle with both Manchester clubs over players for England’s two forthcoming clashes.
Stars such as United captain Harry Maguire and City’s Raheem Sterling will have only had a two-week break before preparations begin for the Uefa Nations League games against Iceland and Denmark.
Southgate looks set to name an extended squad next week ahead of the trip to Reykjavik on September 5 and a game in Copenhagen three days later.
But United and City have concerns that their players – who would begin training at St George’s Park on Monday week – will take part in two competitive games inside a week so soon after returning from the final stages of the Uefa club competitions in Portugal and Germany.
United captain Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Marcus Rashford and teenager Mason Greenwood are all likely to be selected for England’s first international for 10 months.
Sterling, John Stones and also Phil Foden are likely to make up the City contingent.
All the players are desperate to play for England despite the concern of clubs.
The FA’s medical team will be in constant dialogue with their City and United counterparts who will express concerns over a player’s fitness.
The stars would have been due to report for training with the clubs on Monday week but their initial sessions are likely to be less rigorous than England’s.
Boss Southgate is taking both Uefa Nations League games seriously.
For Southgate, this is the start of the countdown to next year’s Euro2020 finals which were postponed from this summer due to the coronavirus crisis.
Southgate is currently in the second week of quarantine at home in Yorkshire as he has been on holiday in Portugal but this will not stop him from resuming his normal duties next week.
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Uefa are staging a meeting with national associations today to rubber stamp the matches next month although they all look certain to be played behind closed doors.
City were dumped out of the Champions League quarter-finals by Lyon on Saturday while United lost to Sevilla 24 in the Europa League 24 hours later.
The situation for Southgate with the clubs would have been far more serious had either City or United reached the finals of either the Europa League or Champions League.
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