Gareth Southgate has a ‘shambolic’ selection problem

Gareth Southgate has ruled out resting players for England’s summer games by saying it could lead to a “shambles” and a host of withdrawals.

England face Malta and North Macedonia in June with six points already in their Euro 2024 qualifying group after beating Italy and Ukraine.

But while his players will be at the end of a season that included a World Cup and when the Manchester clubs could both end up playing over 60 games, Southgate is adamant it sends the wrong message to leave anyone out.

He said: “I think we should always pick our strongest possible squad. We’re representing England. Caps have to be earned. Harry Kane won’t want to miss England matches in the summer; I’ll tell you that now.”

England only had nine substitutes against Ukraine after injuries to Phil Foden, Reece James, Mason Mount and Marcus Rashford, while Luke Shaw was suspended.

And Southgate thinks they could end up short of players if he omits some and then others opt out.

He explained: “I think if we don’t select certain players it sends the wrong message to the group. Then what’s to stop others pulling out and you could end up with a shambles pretty quickly.

“That’s always a fine balance because as you saw this week if you lose one or two players in the week then very quickly you are short. This time we would have had the opportunity with the under-21s to bring them in if needed but if that it’s the summer and everyone has been on holiday for three weeks then...”