Jose Mourinho has told Gareth Southgate to name the managers he believes are putting pressure on their England stars not to play for the national team.
And Tottenham Hotspur head coach Mourinho has cast doubt on Raheem Sterling’s withdrawal from the England squad last week, claiming “we all know” the forward will face his side for Manchester City on Saturday.
England manager Southgate claimed players were under “huge pressure” from their clubs because of the heavy schedule after Sterling had stepped down with a calf problem.
Mourinho’s Tottenham players – Harry Kane, Eric Dier and Harry Winks – all played in at least two of England’s three games, with Kane lasting 76 minutes of the victory over Iceland, despite the fact Southgate’s team could not qualify for the Nations League finals.
“I’m okay with that,” said Mourinho. “A national team match should never be a dead rubber. The only problem for me is it should be the same for everybody, not just for some.
“Gareth Southgate, I read, supposedly said that some club managers put pressure on the players not to play for the national team. And because of that he feels sometimes the need to call club managers to cool down the emotions and control a difficult situation for him.
“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 play. And I would like him to say which are the coaches that he calls and speaks on the phone with them. He has the right, the power to call the players he wants.
“He wants to win matches, especially after a defeat, even being a dead rubber is an important match. I sympathise totally with that.
“Of course, we all know that Sterling is going to play (against Tottenham). When Eric Dier left the national team injured in the past month, he didn’t play two matches for Tottenham.
“He didn’t play the Premier League match and the Europa League match. He needed a couple of weeks to recover. And Raheem is going to play tomorrow (Saturday).
“These are the little details that I think Gareth should explain to us all. But apart from that, I totally support him that in a country like England where the shirt and the three lions is always to be respected, that he plays with the players he wants to play.”