Gareth Southgate

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Nations League: English, Dutch battle for place in final

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GUIMARAES, Portugal (AP) England is aiming to translate the recent European dominance of its clubs to the international stage when it meets the Netherlands on Thursday in UEFA’s inaugural Nations League tournament.

England is looking for its first international trophy since winning the 1966 World Cup, but a resurgent Dutch squad stands in its path to Sunday’s final.

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“We want to be in the habit of starting to win things,” England coach Gareth Southgate said on the eve of the Nations League semifinal.

England is in high spirits after reaching the semifinals of the World Cup last year. Also, the Premier League provided all four clubs in the recent Champions League and Europa league finals – an unprecedented feat.

“We’ve got players who are capable and hungry,” Southgate said in Guimaraes in northern Portugal. “We’ve shown incredible adaptability and resilience in the team.”

With a head-to-head record of six wins each and nine draws, the encounter is likely to be a tight affair between two teams that are on the up. England edged the Dutch 1-0 in a friendly game last year.

The Netherlands’ trophy cupboard has had no new additions since the 1988 European Championship title, when its current coach Ronald Koeman was still playing for the national team.

After failing to qualify for the 2016 European Championship and the 2018 World Cup finals, the Dutch got back on track by knocking out World Cup-winner France and powerhouse Germany to reach the Nations League final four.

“We’re playing (against) a very good team,” Southgate said. “I think it’s going to be a really exciting game.”

Koeman said Southgate has done “a fantastic job” by putting together a squad of young, gifted players.

“They have strong players, they have technical players, they have fast players,” Koeman said.

Dutch defender Virgil Van Dijk, who won the Champions League title with Liverpool last weekend, said he expects a tough and evenly-balanced game.

“They’re definitely full of confidence, but we should be as well,” he said.

The winner plays the final on Sunday in Porto, meeting host Portugal, while the loser goes into the third-place match versus Switzerland in Guimaraes earlier the same day.

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Report: Sterling to be named England captain for match against Netherlands

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On the occasion of his 50th cap, Raheem Sterling is set to be bestowed with a major honor.

The Guardian in England reports that England manager Gareth Southgate is planning to hand Sterling the captain’s armband for England’s first match of the UEFA Nations League finals in Portugal, with England set to face the Netherlands in Guimaraes, Portugal on Thursday. Sterling is coming off a terrific season with Manchester City, winning the domestic treble of the Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup.

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While this is a terrific achievement for Sterling, reading between the lines, it could also hint that both Harry Kane and Jordan Henderson, previous England captains under Southgate, may be rested or at least be on the bench for the match. Both Kane and Henderson played in last Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final and despite having a three-week break prior to that match, Kane is clearly still working back to fitness. Both players went the full 90 in the match and with two games scheduled this week regardless of Thursday’s outcome for Southgate, he could decide that both should be rested until Sunday’s match.

If Kane is rested, we could see Marcus Rashford starting up top, while Fabian Delph or Declan Rice could slot into midfield.

Kane, Sterling, Sancho headline England squad for UEFA Nations League finals

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Harry Kane is fit to play for Tottenham and thus, Gareth Southgate expects him ready to feature for England.

Kane, Raheem Sterling and Jadon Sancho headlined a 23-man England National Team squad for the UEFA Nations League Finals. England will face the Netherlands on June 6, with a second game in either the final or third-place game against Switzerland or Portugal. All the matches will take place in Portugal.

“We have got exciting players and picking a squad is really difficult because we have lots of depth of talent, not only the squad we have picked but the U21s as well,” Southgate said in a statement on the FA’s website. “There’s been some difficult decisions to make and we are obviously a little bit complicated with so many players involved in the Champions League as well but we are really excited by the squad and the players that are around it.”

While Kane, Danny Rose, and Eric Dier all made the squad, Southgate cut Harry Winks and Kieran Trippier from the original 27-man squad he named earlier in May. Southampton midfielders James Ward-Prowse and Nathan Redmond were also cut from the squad, but Southgate will keep them training with the group until the players involved in the Europa League and Champions League finals arrive.

With this squad, Southgate has on-paper a pretty decent team to contest the title.

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland, Tom Heaton

Defenders: Danny Rose, Danny Rose, Eric Dier, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Ben Chilwell, Michael Keane

Midfielders: Jesse Lingard, Jordan Henderson, Declan Rice, Fabian Delph, Ross Barkley, Dele Alli,

Forwards: Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford, Callum Wilson

Harry Kane named in latest England squad

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The England squad for the 2019 UEFA Nations League finals has been released.

Captain Harry Kane is fit enough to be named in the initial 27-man squad, as England play the Netherlands in the inaugural UEFA Nations League finals in Guimaraes on June 6, and will then play either Switzerland or Portugal in the final or third-place match.

Kane has been out since early April with an ankle injury and Gareth Southgate is hopeful he will be able to play in the games, as the star striker is set to return and be involved for Tottenham in their UEFA Champions League final against Liverpool in Madrid on Jun. 1.

Southgate admitted that Kane’s status is still “unknown” for these games, but the Three Lions are willing to take that risk.

With up to 10 England players involved in the UCL final, many will only link up with England a few days before their semifinal against the Netherlands.

One of the big surprises is no James Maddison in the squad despite his good form for Leicester in the final weeks of the season, but that is due to the England U21 squad being the European Championships this summer. Southampton’s Nathan Redmond was called up to the squad for just the second time after his fine second half to the season under Ralph Hasenhuttl.

Below is the squad in full.

Loftus-Cheek injured in Chelsea’s friendly v. New England

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Ruben Loftus-Cheek ruptured his Achilles in Chelsea’s 3-0 friendly win against the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday.

Chelsea have since revealed RLC will undergo surgery and that almost certainly means he will be out for at least six months.

This is a cruel blow for the Englishman, just as he had established himself in the first team at Chelsea.

England manager Gareth Southgate left Loftus-Cheek out of his latest squad and said RLC will miss the upcoming Europa League and UEFA Nations League finals after he left the stadium on crutches and with a protective boot on his left foot.

The powerful midfielder went down under no contact on the pitch in the first half, as he seemed to twist his left ankle in the turf and damaged his Achilles.

Loftus-Cheek, 23, has become a regular starter for Chelsea in recent months and we expected to be named in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for their UEFA Nations League semifinal against the Netherlands on June 6.

Chelsea’s post-season friendly, named “Final Whistle to Hate” raised money for charities combating hate as the west London club continues to focus on the ongoing battle against anti-semitism.

Ross Barkley scored in either half and either side of Olivier Giroud‘s header, as Chelsea used the game as a training exercise ahead of their UEFA Europa League final against Arsenal in Baku, Azerbaijan on May 29.

Many questioned why first team players were asked to travel to Boston to play in this game just over a week before a major European final, including Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri.

And and a serious injury, especially to a player who has become as important as Loftus-Cheek, is the last thing Chelsea would have wanted from this friendly game.