Wales manager Rob Page has promised not to jeopardise the health of Brennan Johnson by telling him to turn up for international duty when carrying an injury.

Johnson will miss Wales’ crunch Euro 2024 qualifier against Croatia in Cardiff on October 15 after sustaining a hamstring injury on his first start for Tottenham against Arsenal in the north London derby.

Spurs boss Ange Postecoglou confirmed on Friday that Johnson will miss Tottenham’s Premier League trip to Luton this weekend but will be fit to return after the international break.

Page said: “The communication between us and Tottenham has been first-class. It’s about having mutual respect. Both managers want a talented player fit so it’s about working together.

“I’m not going to insist that he has to come away and we’re going to play him, jeopardise his safety and health. I wouldn’t do that. But they also understand the importance of our games.”

Page criticised Johnson’s former club Nottingham Forest after he missed Wales’ Euro 2024 qualifier away to Croatia in March.

Page said at the time that he should have been “stronger” to ensure Johnson arrived on camp for Wales to make their own medical assessment of the 22-year-old forward.

Johnson has since joined Tottenham for £47.5million – the second highest transfer fee paid for a Welsh player after Gareth Bale – and is considered to be a hugely influential figure as Wales move forward in the post-Bale era.

On communicating with Tottenham over Johnson’s fitness situation, Page added: “We’ve had great conversations with them, but ultimately his injury will dictate whether he can meet up or not.”

Wales realistically need to avoid defeat against World Cup semi-finalists Croatia and win both games of their November double-header to secure automatic qualification for next summer’s Euro 2024 in Germany.

Captain Aaron Ramsey was not named in the squad for the Croatia game after damaging a knee tendon and has also been ruled out of November’s games against Armenia and Turkey by his Cardiff manager Erol Bulut.

England manager Gareth Southgate says he would never risk Bukayo Saka’s long-term fitness by selecting him to play when he is not fit.

Saka was included in Southgate’s 26-man squad for forthcoming games against Australia and Italy, despite limping out of Arsenal’s last three games.

He is being assessed ahead of this Sunday’s Premier League clash with Manchester City before the squad is due to meet up early next week.

Southgate says he wants his best players available for the biggest games, with a crunch European Championship clash against Italy at Wembley on October 17, but never to the detriment of their health.

“I can only go via what Mikel (Arteta) has said about the last few games,” Southgate said regarding Saka’s fitness. “He is in contention for the weekend so we’ve obviously got a very important qualifier.

“We look after the players as well as any country. There’s always a focus on our players because they are playing their club football, in the main, in England and then we are playing here as well.

“Whereas all the other countries call the players that are playing in the Premier League and nobody looks at how they look after them and how they train them.

“When we have really good dialogue with all of their clubs, I think they pretty much all would agree that we probably give better feedback than every other nation.

“They have trust in us that we make decisions that are right for the long-term whenever we can. We only have 10 matches a year. And there’s been times when … Bukayo, for example, we haven’t always played.

“But there are certain key games where if it’s possible to have your best players then you do want to have them. So we’ve got that responsibility of qualifying for the country but … I’ve been a player … I’ve never ever taken a risk on a player’s physical wellbeing. And nor would I.”

Raheem Sterling was left out again, with Southgate explaining his side are no longer reliant on the Chelsea forward to supplement Harry Kane’s goals.

The England boss continued: “We know what Raheem is capable of and (Jarrod) Bowen has got five (goals) in seven (games), so in terms of the opportunity opened up with (Eberechi) Eze and (Callum) Wilson out, (Ollie) Watkins and Bowen are both in a hot streak of form. That’s the thinking.

“In the end, we’ve got brilliant competition for places in several areas of the pitch.

“There is a battle now, without a doubt. For a long period of time Raheem was the one that was scoring goals for us and his club.

“We now have goals from Saka, (Phil) Foden, (Marcus) Rashford. Rashford’s always been a scorer with us.

“(Jack) Grealish is a different type of wide player, so now we’re getting goals from Jude (Bellingham).

“We’re not just reliant on Harry Kane. For a long time it was Harry and Raheem that were knocking up the goals. But there’s a different competition in place.”

England manager Gareth Southgate is hoping for a positive update on Bukayo Saka after selecting the Arsenal star despite fears over his fitness.

Having failed to finish the matches against Tottenham and Bournemouth, the 22-year-old again left the field early in Tuesday’s 2-1 Champions League defeat at Lens.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta admitted afterwards that it “didn’t look good” for Saka, yet the forward was still named in Southgate’s 26-man squad two days later.

The England boss is awaiting news on the national team’s back-to-back men’s player of the year and has not given up on him being available for this month’s double-header against Australia and Italy.

“He’s still being assessed,” Southgate said of Saka, who faces a race to be involved for Arsenal against Manchester City on Sunday before attention turns to international matters.

“Obviously, they’ve got a big game this weekend and then there’s another seven days before we play Australia and 10 days before we play Italy as well.

“So, everybody will monitor everything as we go forward.”

England could wrap up their place at Euro 2024 this month, with the Wembley qualifier against Italy following their friendly under the arch against Australia.

Uncapped Levi Colwill and Eddie Nketiah got the nod along for the October fixtures, while Ollie Watkins received his first call-up since March 2022 and Jarrod Bowen returned for the first time since that September.

But there was no place for Mason Mount, James Ward-Prowse or Raheem Sterling, with the latter having not added to his 82 caps since the 2022 World Cup.

Asked if he spoke to Chelsea forward Sterling like he did last month, Southgate said; “No, we spoke before the last squad.

“As I said, we’ve been happy with the wide players and the performances in the last four games, in particular, and the two in March. The team are playing really well, so clearly there’s some stability there.

“We have added Jarrod Bowen in those wide areas – I mean, he scored five in seven games, he’s playing really well.

“With the Australia game as well, there’s an opportunity to learn some different things as well.”

On Watkins, who Southgate saw score a hat-trick for Aston Villa against Brighton at the weekend, he said: “There’s a little bit with Callum Wilson as well, so he’s carrying an injury.

“Not certain he’d be available. Ollie has started the season well. He’s hit a bit of scoring form in the last couple of weeks.

“You have to be careful with that because you can’t just go on recency bias when you’re looking at selection, but he is in good form.

“He’s obviously coming in on a high and he’s been with this before.

“We know his character, we know his personality. He’s a good guy around the around the group.

“Team are playing well, he’s playing for a club that are really well coached and the team are in a good moment.”

Ben Chilwell and Eberechi Eze join Wilson in missing this month’s matches through injury, while Harry Maguire, Jordan Henderson and Kalvin Phillips retain their place despite questions over their spots.

John Stones returned having missed a September camp that ended with a 3-1 win in Scotland, who are vying with England for Elliot Anderson’s international future.

The 20-year-old left the last Scottish camp after two days following his first call-up to the full squad and last week indicated he wanted more time to consider his international future.

“I haven’t (spoken to him),” Southgate said of the Newcastle talent. “I mean those things (Football Association technical director) John McDermott deals with that, really.

“So, I think we’re the same as Steve. We’re respectful that those sorts of decisions are big decisions and we don’t want to pressure anybody.

“We like Elliot, we think he’s a very good player, got high potential.

“He’s obviously at a club that are absolutely flying, so, yeah, we’ll just have to wait and see.

“But we’re very much respectful that if he needs time to think that through we completely understand.”

Gareth Southgate says it will be “brilliant for everybody” if the UK and Ireland’s bid to host the Euro 2028 gets the green light as expected.

Turkey’s withdrawal to focus on a joint submission with Italy for Euro 2032 means the five-nation bid is now the only option on the table for the finals in five years’ time.

UEFA will formally announce the hosts for the two tournaments following a meeting of its executive committee in Switzerland next week.

“Well, it’s clearly a joint bid with all the other home nations so brilliant for everybody if that opportunity arises,” England manager Southgate said. “There’s still a little bit to do, I think.

“But I think you know, all the nations are fantastic football nations, huge pride.

“They’ll have huge pride in hosting and if the teams get qualified as well then there’s obviously some home advantage to hosting as well.”

The news came on the same day that it emerged Spain, Portugal and Morocco are set to co-host the 2030 men’s World Cup, with three South American nations.

Montevideo in Uruguay – the city which hosted the first World Cup finals match in 1930 – is poised to stage the opening contest, with games in Argentina and Paraguay to follow.

The rest of the 48-team tournament will then move to north Africa and Europe, under a proposal from UEFA, the Confederation of African Football and South American confederation CONMEBOL which was accepted by the FIFA council at a meeting on Wednesday.

The hosting arrangement is now subject to formal approval by FIFA’s congress.

Asked about the impact of these plans on player welfare, Southgate said: “I’m not sure what they’ve got in mind for that, really!

“I should enjoy a invite to Buenos Aires as a TV pundit if that’s the plan.”

Aaron Ramsey will miss Wales’ November Euro 2024 qualifiers, according to his Cardiff manager Erol Bulut.

Ramsey had already been ruled out of October’s qualifier against Croatia with a knee injury sustained in training last month.

But Wales boss Rob Page, announcing his squad for that fixture on Wednesday, said he was hopeful Ramsey would recover in time to play in the final two group games against Armenia and Turkey in November.

However, Bulut has said Ramsey faces at least two months on the sidelines, and that timescale will be increased should the 32-year-old require surgery.

“Aaron, we were talking about how many weeks he would be out, we were waiting also,” Bulut said at his pre-match press conference for Cardiff’s home game against Watford on Saturday.

“Hopefully without surgery, he will be out at least eight to 10 weeks.

“If he does get surgery, it will be up to 12 weeks. If something happens in these weeks, it will add 12 weeks.

“You could see, when he was on the field, he was great. He linked the game. We will miss him.”

Former Arsenal and Juventus midfielder Ramsey rejoined hometown club Cardiff in July and had been in fine form for club and country.

He scored from the penalty spot in the two games before his injury, for Wales in their Euro qualifying victory over Latvia and against derby rivals Swansea in a 2-0 Sky Bet Championship win.

Tottenham defender Ben Davies, the Wales vice-captain, will lead the Dragons in Ramsey’s absence.

Wales realistically need to draw against World Cup semi-finalists Croatia and win both games of their November double-header to secure automatic qualification for next summer’s Euro 2024 finals in Germany and avoid the play-offs.

Republic of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny has urged his young hopefuls to learn from veteran James McClean after he announced his impending retirement from international football.

The 34-year-old Wrexham midfielder revealed his intention to end his time with Ireland after 102 caps, 11 goals and two European Championship campaigns following next month’s friendly against New Zealand on Thursday morning.

Hours later, international boss Kenny, who first managed the player as a youngster at Derry City, paid tribute to both his quality and intensity after naming a 24-man squad which did not include him for the Euro 2024 qualifiers against Greece and Gibraltar.


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Kenny said: “He’s had a terrific career, James. Young Irish players can learn a lot from him, how he approached his career. Ireland was always at the forefront of his thoughts, it was always the pinnacle for him and it was always the most important thing, to play for his country. You had to respect that.

“From my point of view as a manager – obviously I managed him as a teenager, gave him his debut and then sold him to Sunderland. But people change in that period and obviously he’s a different personality then when I managed the Irish team (Derry) because he’s in his 30s by the time I take up the Ireland team, so he’s a different personality.

“But if there are any grey areas about who might play in the team sometimes and decisions are not made and depending on who’s available, he’s so forceful in his training performances, sometimes he gets himself in the team by just his sheer intensity in his training in the sessions.

“It’s hard to ignore him then, when someone trains like that, in the games.”

Derry-born former Sunderland, Wigan, West Brom and Stoke man McClean, who has repeatedly found himself at the centre of controversy over his decision not to wear a Remembrance Day poppy on his club shirt, had earlier spoken of his pride at representing his country over 11 years.


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He said in a statement issued on social media: “It has the meant the absolute world and more to be able to pull on the green jersey with honour, step out onto a football pitch – especially at the Aviva Stadium – to represent our great country, standing singing Amhran na bhFiann ready to go out into battle with your fellow countrymen.

“Nothing has ever come close. I gave absolutely everything I had of myself to ensure that I did the jersey, the fans and the country proud, and know that I never took it for granted each time. I hope that showed.

“It will be heartbreaking not to be involved beyond this year, but I feel now is the right time to step aside without any regrets.

“I lived my own and every young Irish footballer’s dream – and represented this country with pride.”

McClean’s absence from the squad was not the only one of note, with Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher also missing after suffering a gash to his knee in training which required 12 stitches, while Sheffield United defender John Egan and Cardiff winger Callum O’Dowda are also unavailable because of injury.

However, Celtic winger Mikey Johnston and Cardiff forward Callum Robinson were included for the games against Greece in Dublin on Friday, October 13 and Gibraltar in Faro three days later.

Ireland’s hopes of qualification are all but over after Group B defeats by France and the Netherlands last month left them with just three points from a possible 15.

Squad: Gavin Bazunu (Southampton), Mark Travers (Stoke, on loan from Bournemouth), Max O’Leary (Bristol City), Matt Doherty (Wolves), Festy Ebosele (Udinese), Nathan Collins (Brentford), Shane Duffy (Norwich), Dara O’Shea (Burnley), Andrew Omobamidele (Nottingham Forest), Liam Scales (Celtic), Ryan Manning (Southampton), Josh Cullen (Burnley), Jayson Molumby (West Brom), Alan Browne (Preston), Will Smallbone (Southampton), Jason Knight (Bristol City), Jamie McGrath (Aberdeen), Mark Sykes (Bristol City), Evan Ferguson (Brighton), Adam Idah (Norwich), Aaron Connolly (Hull), Chiedozie Ogbene (Luton), Callum Robinson (Cardiff), Mikey Johnston (Celtic).

Liam Cooper, Greg Taylor and Jacob Brown have been recalled to the Scotland squad for the Euro 2024 qualifier in Spain.

Hearts striker Lawrence Shankland drops out along with, as expected, Newcastle midfielder Elliot Anderson.

Whitley Bay-born Anderson last week indicated he wanted more time to consider his international future, having left the last Scotland camp after two days following his first call-up to the full squad.

Leeds defender Cooper returns from injury while Celtic left-back Taylor replaces Kieran Tierney, who suffered a hamstring injury while playing for Real Sociedad on Saturday.

Luton striker Brown is yet to score in the Premier League since his move from Stoke, while Shankland has gone seven matches without scoring after hitting five goals in his first six games of the season for Hearts.

Scotland have won their opening five games and are six points ahead of second-placed Spain ahead of their trip to Seville on October 12.

Steve Clarke’s side then face France in a friendly in Lille five days later.

Gareth Bale will boost the bid from the UK and Ireland to host Euro 2028 by joining the Welsh delegation in Geneva next month.

Bale, the Wales men’s team’s most capped player and record goalscorer, retired from football in January after an illustrious career that saw him win five Champions League titles and three FIFA Club World Cups at Real Madrid.

The 34-year-old has now offered a helping hand for Wales to become a Euro 2028 co-host alongside England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Republic of Ireland.

Turkey are also in the running to stage the tournament, with the final decision to be made in Geneva on October 10 when Bale will be present.

Football Association of Wales chief executive Noel Mooney said: “We are hoping for a successful bid and Gareth is very much part of the FAW and what we do. He has been identified as one of the faces of the bid presentation.

“Gareth is globally famous. You can get into a taxi in Sydney or Peru and if you mention you are from Wales they will say ‘Gareth Bale’. It is an instant reaction.

“When I go home to the west of Ireland the first thing people say to me is ‘how is Gareth Bale?’

“Gareth is so good for us. We went to him and asked him if he would get involved in the Euro ’28 bid and he just said: ‘What can I do for Wales?’

“It was instant – ‘how can I help you get the bid over the line?'”

Ten stadia across the five nations would host matches if the Euro 2028 bid is successful – Wembley, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the Etihad Stadium, Everton’s new Bramley-Moore Dock Stadium, Villa Park and St James’ Park being the venues in England.

A redeveloped Casement Park in Belfast, the Dublin Arena in the Republic, Hampden Park in Scotland and the Principality Stadium in Wales – the 74,500-capacity home of Welsh rugby – would also stage matches.

The Principality Stadium would be referred to as the Cardiff National Stadium during the tournament due to UEFA rules over sponsorship.

Wales hope to stage as many as six matches if the bid is successful, with Mooney having said last October that Cardiff could be in line to stage the opening game of the tournament.

Mooney said: “Six games for Wales has been mentioned before, but it is ultimately up to UEFA to decide on the division of games, qualification from the five host nations and things like that.

“We’re lucky in that we have a fantastic stadium to offer in a magnificent city. Cardiff hosted a very successful Champions League final in 2017 and UEFA were very happy with it.

“But we feel we can get more out of hosting a series of games than from a stand alone match.

“There were tens of thousands of Spanish and Italian fans in Cardiff for Real Madrid against Juventus, and they all had a great time. But they were gone the next day.

“What the 2016 Euros did for France as a brand, and 2024 will do for Germany, was fantastic.

“The Covid-hit Euros weren’t the same and the World Cup in Qatar was a different experience.”

Mooney is confident that work on upgrading the Principality Stadium to meet UEFA standards will be completed should the bid from the UK and Ireland prove successful.

He said: “Cardiff Council and the Welsh Government are backing the bid and are happy with the projected return on investment.

“Millions of pounds will need to be spent on the Principality Stadium to get it up to scratch. It needs new floodlights and a scoreboard.

“There are also issues over hospitality numbers and the TV compound. But these are all things that will be resolved.”

Lamine Yamal has burst onto the scene for Barcelona and former Spain midfielder Marcos Senna believes the teenager could emulate Lionel Messi's Blaugrana exploits.

Yamal has enjoyed a meteoric rise into professional football this season, becoming Barcelona's youngest starter in La Liga and the youngest player to assist in the competition in the 21st century.

The Blaugrana talent also marked his name as the youngest debutant and scorer for Spain in the 7-1 victory over Georgia this month, aged just 16 years and 57 days.

Only two players have scored for a European nation at a younger age (Sam Johnston in 1882 for Northern Ireland and Jozsef Horvath in 1906 for Hungary), and Senna believes Yamal will go to the top.

Senna, a former Villarreal midfielder and 28-cap Spain international, told Stats Perform at the Thinking Football Summit: "He has had a big impact.

"He is really young with big talent. Obviously, he has to be very well looked after, like cutting a diamond.

"It's important not to rush, so that in the future he can be one of the best, like Messi himself, who left Barcelona.

"He has already shown that he has a great future."

Senna had a fine career in Spain as a La Liga regular as well as being a part of La Roja's European Championship-winning side in 2008.

The 47-year-old played with a golden generation of Spanish footballers, and picked out three midfielders as the best he has lined up alongside.

"I think it would be really unfair to choose just one," he responded when asked about his former team-mates.

"There are many players I played with. I can name a few. For example, at Villarreal, Riquelme, was one of the great players I had the opportunity to play with.

"Santi Cazorla and others in the Spanish national team. Andres Iniesta was very important and created a legacy.

"They are historic players and special players. In my list, I can fit many more but I gave you the names of a few players from Villarreal and the national team."

Yet Messi – who Yamal has drawn comparisons to – remains Senna's greatest challenge.

Senna said: "A big part of my career was in Spain, at Villarreal. I was there for 11 years. During this period I met Barcelona's Pep Guardiola, and I didn't even have the chance to get a draw against them!

"It was a very complicated period when Messi came along. And let's say that was the biggest difficulty we had.

"Messi was a revolution of the century. For me, it was the biggest challenge as a player."

Wales kept their Euro 2024 qualification hopes alive with a 2-0 win in Latvia as Aaron Ramsey’s 100th career goal and a David Brooks clincher lifted the pressure on under-fire manager Rob Page.

Ramsey stroked home a 29th-minute penalty – his 21st goal for Wales – before Brooks, on as a substitute for the injured captain, settled matters in the sixth minute of stoppage time.

The victory was Wales’ second in 14 attempts and gives them renewed hope that they can claim a top-two place in Group D.

On a night when Wales simply had to win or be left with a play-off route to Germany next summer, there was further good news before kick-off as group leaders Croatia did them a favour by winning 1-0 in Armenia.

Croatia are Wales’ next Euro opponents in Cardiff next month, and Page can now look forward to that game after heading to Riga with huge question marks over his future.

The 49-year-old was feted as a national hero after leading Wales to their first World Cup for 64 years, but poor performances at that tournament and in this campaign had prompted large parts of the fan base to call for managerial change.

Page had drawn encouragement from Thursday’s friendly with South Korea – and he named 10 of the side who started that goalless draw in Cardiff.

Captain Ramsey returned in place of Nathan Broadhead as Burnley’s Connor Roberts won his 50th cap.

Jordan James made his first competitive start and the 19-year-old suggested he may be a mainstay of the Wales midfield for some time to come.

Latvia had drawn a complete blank in Euro 2024 qualifying, losing all four games, with three of them – including a 1-0 away defeat to Wales in March – by a single goal margin.

The tiny three-sided Skonto Stadium, with cars parked behind one goal, seemed at odds with what was such an important night in Welsh football. But over 1,000 Wales fans were in a crowd of 6,464.

There had been a mood of sporting celebration in Riga throughout the day as Latvians turned out to honour their basketball players, who had recorded a best finish of fifth at the sport’s World Cup, in the city.

Wales should have had the perfect start inside 75 seconds when Ethan Ampadu released Brennan Johnson but Tottenham’s new striker skied over on his unfavoured left side.

Ampadu was off-target from a Harry Wilson corner but Wales were threatening at set-pieces.

Chris Mepham met another Wilson corner at the far post and Ben Davies reached the deflected ball first to force Roberts Ozols into a flying save in the Latvian goal.

Chances continued to come and go for Wales with Johnson wayward again and Ozols producing stops to deny Wilson and Roberts.

There was a danger that frustration would creep in, but Latvia provided a helping hand when Kaspars Dubra bundled over Wilson after 28 minutes.

The incident survived a VAR check for a potential offside in the build-up and Ramsey coolly converted for his landmark goal.

Wales should have been out of sight in the next 10 minutes as Neco Williams and Johnson fired wide when well-placed and Ozols denied Wilson again.

Latvia had shown nothing as an attacking force for 41 minutes before suddenly bursting into life.

Ward shovelled out a Janis Ikaunieks header that Roberts had to clear as the Latvian striker prepared to pounce for the rebound, while Raimonds Krollis almost profited twice after being left unguarded.

Wales suffered a blow four minutes into the second half when Ramsey signalled to the bench to come off, with David Brooks taking his place.

The worry was that Wales would miss Ramsey’s stabilising influence and Krollis went close after Johnson had driven wide.

Latvia might have been reduced to 10 men when Ikaunieks aimed a wild kick at James.

Slovakian referee Michal Ocenas brandished a yellow card before being asked to review the decision at the VAR monitor. After a two-minute check Ocenas stuck with his original decision and Ikaunieks escaped further sanction.

The final quarter became very fragmented with a series of niggly fouls.

Ikaunieks’ 20-yard shot flew into the side netting and, while that would have represented the cruellest punishment for Wales, Brooks ended matters by racing on to Wilson’s pass and scoring with the most delicious of chips.

Gareth Southgate says Harvey Barnes is a player England “like a lot” and Kieran Trippier praised Elliot Anderson’s potential amid talk of a possible tug-of-war with Scotland for the Newcastle duo.

There is an increasing number of players that have been part of the English set-up that have gone on to represent another country, including Jamal Musiala and Wilfried Zaha.

Angus Gunn was called up to the England senior squad by Southgate before switching allegiance to Tuesday’s opponents Scotland, who are now reportedly targeting Barnes.

The 25-year-old has yet to add to the solitary senior England cap he won in 2020 but remains on the manager’s radar, as does Newcastle team-mate Anderson.

The Whitley Bay-born 20-year-old spent two days with Scotland last week before withdrawing from the squad due to injury.

“Both are very good players,” England boss Southgate said of the Newcastle pair in the bowels of Hampden Park ahead of Tuesday’s friendly.

“In terms of Harvey, he’s obviously a player who has played for us. We have a lot of competition in that area of the pitch so he is a player we are always monitoring and he’s a player we like a lot.

“With Elliot, I think he’s a player who has progressed really well. We’ve previously spoken with him, but of course he was named in the squad here so assumed that was that.

“I thought he had an excellent pre-season with Newcastle as well.

“You could see that evolution that he has got as a young player and the potential he has got. I know at Newcastle they rate him very highly.

“I don’t know the answer to the ultimate question for either player, but there are going to be more and more of these sorts of situations.

“There are so many players with dual or triple nationality now.

“It is very complicated for every country and sometimes you can’t offer the player something as quickly as they like.

“We have benefited from it and we have lost players because of it and I think that is always going to be the case, really.”

The pair’s club team-mate was sat alongside Southgate in Glasgow, with right-back Trippier full of praise for homegrown Newcastle talent Anderson.

“As the gaffer said before, in pre-season he’s been unbelievable,” Trippier said of a player who has represented both nations at youth level.

“I think it was good for him last year to stay with us and not go out on loan again, to gain that experience.

“He’s a young lad with great potential. Obviously we’ve had talks but, like Gareth said before, he went away with Scotland.

“Ultimately that’s his decision. He’s a young lad with great potential so that decision is ultimately up to him.”

Gareth Southgate says it would be “ridiculous” to overly experiment as England head to hostile Hampden Park to face in-form foes Scotland in a so-called friendly.

Both sides are on the cusp of qualification for next summer’s European Championship as they meet on Tuesday evening for the 116th edition of the world’s oldest international fixture.

Southgate sees England’s first friendly fixture since March 2022 as an important test and learning step for his side, fresh from Saturday’s challenging 1-1 draw against Ukraine.

Scotland have won their last five matches and will be roared on by a sold-out Hampden Park crowd on Tuesday, when the 53-year-old knows he has to get the balance right with his selection.

“We’ve got to find the right balance of physical freshness – we’ve had a day less preparation – experience, finding out about some players, winning, playing well,” Southgate said.

“So, the usual things that are expected of us with England, really.

“But I think the first thing is we can’t fiddle around with the team because we’re playing a top-level side, who are going to be at full tilt and giving us a really high-level challenge.

“So, you can’t overly experiment because that would be ridiculous.”

Southgate largely stuck with the tried and tested with his squad selection for this September double-header, leading to starts for Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson against Ukraine.

It was the former’s first competitive start of the season and the first time the latter had represented his country since swapping Liverpool for Saudi Pro League side Al-Ettifaq.

Southgate was criticised by some for selecting the pair against Ukraine, while a disjointed, toothless performance hardly set pulses racing.

“I haven’t seen it, so the reaction for us is, we’re top of the group,” said the England boss, who could hand Levi Colwill and Eddie Nketiah their debuts in Glasgow.

“I think we’re the top scorers in Europe. The boys did a really good job in a difficult environment and we know that our attacking play didn’t quite click.

“I think some of that was the surface, really, because to make those really incisive, quick passes at times you just needed a little extra touch or there was a little bobble.

“I’m very conscious I wasn’t going to be too harsh on my internal review with the players.

“Because you could see moments when we’re watching it back where the ball pops over players’ feet or (someone) goes to play a ball first time, and it lofts in the air.

“Equally, that wasn’t the case with everything that we did, so we’re always challenging. We want to be better and better and we’ve got to set a high standard.

“We weren’t as happy coming away with the point as we might have been but it’s still a really good result.

“We saw what happened in our group later that night (with Italy drawing 1-1 with North Macedonia).

“When we beat North Macedonia people were questioning the quality that they had and the standard of the opposition, but Italy went there and couldn’t get the win.

“So, we kind of know the cycle, frankly, with England. I’ve been in the job long enough now.

“It’s constant, it’s never-ending, but we have to really focus internally on what’s important for us.

“Review to our own standards, review and make sure that we know what we’re working towards, and what we’re comparing ourselves against, really.”

Southgate believes the trip to Glasgow will help in that on a night when England and Scotland will commemorate the 150th anniversary of their first meeting on November 30, 1872.

The former defender admitted he was briefly a member of the Tartan Army in his childhood.

“I mean, this is horrendous what I’m going to say here ahead of tomorrow, but I was supporting Scotland in 1978 because obviously we hadn’t qualified,” the England boss said.

“I kind of followed that through the trauma of Peru and the Netherlands.

“Then we were back in ’82 and all of a sudden, you know, for me then onwards it was all about England.

“But, yeah, great fixtures. I’ve met so many of the former players over the years – worked with some of them, played with some of them.

“It’s a fabulous game. I know there’s a rivalry and I know people will be wary of it crossing a boundary, but it’s a brilliant sporting rivalry and it’s a great game to be involved in.”

England boss Gareth Southgate stressed Harvey Barnes is “a player we like a lot” while also emphasising the competition he faces amid talk of the winger possibly switching allegiance to Scotland.

Barnes is reported to be considering a switch three years on from winning his sole England cap to date in a friendly against Wales.

At a press conference ahead of Tuesday’s friendly clash with Scotland at Hampden Park, Southgate said of the 25-year-old: “He’s obviously a player who has played for us.

“We’ve got a lot of competition in that area of the pitch. He’s a player we’re always monitoring and he’s a player we like a lot.”

Southgate was asked about on a potential swap of allegiances for Barnes and Newcastle team-mate Elliot Anderson, who has played for both countries at youth level and received a call-up to the Scotland squad last month, only to be forced to withdraw due to injury.

Southgate said: “Both very good players. With Elliot, again I think he’s a player that has progressed really well. We’ve previously spoken with him, but of course he was named in the squad here, so assumed that was that.

“I thought he had an excellent pre-season with Newcastle, you could see that evolution that he’s got as a young player and the potential he’s got. I know Newcastle rate him very highly.

“I don’t know is the answer to the ultimate question for either player, but there are going to be more and more of these sorts of situations.

“There are so many players with dual or triple nationality now, it is very complicated for every country, and sometimes you can’t offer the player something as quickly as they’d like.

“We’ve benefited from it and lost players because of it, and I think that’s always going to be the case.”

Southgate was joined at the press conference by Newcastle full-back Kieran Trippier, who said of Anderson: “As the gaffer said, in pre-season he’s been unbelievable. It was good for him last year to stay with us and not go out on loan again, to gain that experience.

“He’s a great lad with great potential. We’ve had talks, but he went away with Scotland. That’s his decision, it is ultimately up to him.”

A defiant Stephen Kenny is refusing to contemplate his position despite seeing the Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2024 qualification hopes ripped apart by the Netherlands.

Three days after a 2-0 defeat by Group B leaders France in Paris left them facing the point of no return, Ireland went down 2-1 to the Dutch in Dublin to effectively slip out of contention for a top-two finish.

Kenny, who was adamant in the build-up to the game that he still expected to be in charge for next month’s double-header against Greece and Gibraltar whatever happened on Sunday evening, remained just as determined in the wake of a heart-breaking defeat.

Asked about his future, he said: “Listen from my point of view, I’m not thinking about that now. I’m just very disappointed that we can’t finish in the top two in the group. I’m just very, very disappointed with that and it’s gut-wrenching that we can’t, you know?

“I think France are the best team in the world, up a level. Holland are probably not at the level of France, but they’re still… Argentina beat them in the World Cup on penalties.

“They have a lot of world-class players, but it’s still one that when you take the lead like we did, you are capable of winning. But we didn’t defend well enough overall to do that.”

Kenny’s men could hardly have got off to a better start when, having already caused panic in the Dutch defence, they were awarded a fourth-minute penalty for handball by Virgil van Dijk.

Adam Idah, who had only previously scored one senior international goal – and that against Gibraltar in June – dispatched the resulting spot-kick with the confidence of a man with a far more impressive record and the locals among a crowd of 49,807 dared to believe.

However, a defensive lapse allowed Denzel Dumfries through on goal and when he went down under keeper Gavin Bazunu’s challenge, Cody Gakpo was equally decisive from 12 yards.

Ireland gave as good as they got before the break, prompting Ronald Koeman to send on Wout Weghorst and Tijjani Reijnders before the restart, and it was Weghorst who scored what proved to be the winner within 11 minutes when he converted from Dumfries’ knock-down.

Asked about the pressure on his shoulders, Kenny said: “There is pressure on, pressure from ourselves because we were desperate to go into the October window still very much in the hunt.

“We were desperate to do that, so there’s that pressure from within ourselves, so we’re disappointed with that, really disappointed with that.

“From our point of view, we’ve Greece and Gibraltar to prepare for in October, which is only a few weeks away, and Holland, so we have to finish the group strongly and see if we have a play-off [via the Nations League] in March then. We’re not sure about that.”

Koeman admitted he was far from happy at the break, but delighted with the way his players responded to his half-time message.

He said: “The start was really poor. We expected high pressing from the Irish team, but we lost many balls in our possession and we did not have control in the game.

“After 20, 25 minutes, it was a little bit more calmed down and the decision at half-time to change the system to play four at the back was a good decision.

“After half-time, we controlled the game. Only in the last 10 minutes, maybe they brought the same pressing, but they did not create any chance to score and we defended well in the last part of the game, and finally I think it’s a fair result.”

The Republic of Ireland’s hopes of qualifying for Euro 2024 were all but ended by the Netherlands for whom substitute Wout Weghorst’s goal secured a 2-1 win in Dublin.

The hosts, in need of victory to put themselves in contention in Group B, took the lead on four minutes when Adam Idah scored from the penalty spot after Virgil van Dijk had been penalised for handball.

Goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu brought down Denzel Dumfries as the Netherlands won a penalty of their own midway through the first half, with Cody Gakpo levelling from 12 yards.

Weghorst ensured his side moved second with a game in hand behind leaders France when he scored from Dumfries’ cut-back after 56 minutes to leave the Republic requiring a Dutch collapse if they are to progress.

Elsewhere in the group, Greece beat Gibraltar 5-0 in Athens to remain in the race for the second qualifying spot.

Dimitrios Pelkas opened the scoring after nine minutes before Konstantinos Mavropanos followed up midway through the half with the first of two goals.

Giorgos Masouras netted after the break, before both he and Mavropanos each grabbed another to seal the victory and put the hosts level with the Dutch on nine points, albeit having played a game more.

Northern Ireland fell to a 1-0 defeat in Kazakhstan, their fourth by the same scoreline in a run of five straight losses, to leave their hopes of qualification virtually extinguished.

Striker Maksim Samorodov drilled into the bottom corner from outside the box and beyond Bailey Peacock-Farrell after 32 minutes to keep the home side in with a realistic chance of reaching their first major tournament.

They are one of four teams separated by a point at the top of Group H, with Denmark leading the way thanks to Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s 86th-minute strike to seal a 1-0 win away in Finland.

It meant the Danes briefly replaced their hosts at the top of the group, before being knocked back into second on goal difference after Slovenia romped to a 4-0 win in San Marino.

Zan Vipotnik, Jan Mlakar, Sandi Lovric and Zan Karnicnik scored the goals against the section’s bottom side, who remain without a point.

Poland’s hopes of reaching the finals received a serious knock as they lost for the third time in five games in Group E, this time going down to a 2-0 defeat in Albania.

Jasir Asani and Mirlind Daku scored either side of half-time in Tirana to send Albania two points clear of the Czech Republic at the top of the group.

Moldova are behind the Czechs on goal difference after they kept up their surprise bid to reach the finals with a 1-0 win in the Faroe Islands.

Vadim Rata netted early in the second half in Torshavn to move his side onto eight points and leave the Faroes adrift at the bottom with a single point on the board.

In Group G, Montenegro and Serbia kept up the pressure on leaders Hungary in a three-way fight to qualify.

Montenegro needed a goal six minutes into added time from Stevan Jovetic to snatch a 2-1 win against Bulgaria in Podgorica despite having played more than 30 minutes with 10 players.

Igor Vujacic was sent off just before the hour mark after Stefan Savic had given the hosts the lead on the stroke of half-time, but Preslav Borukov levelled in the 79th minute before Jovetic’s dramatic late intervention.

Aleksandar Mitrovic score a first-half hat-trick as Serbia coasted to a 3-1 win in Lithuania, with Gytis Paulauskas’s goal not enough to rescue the home side’s faint hopes of qualification.

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