‘He keeps having a swing’ – Gareth Southgate confused by Jurgen Klopp criticism

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England manager Gareth Southgate does not understand why Jurgen Klopp has been “having a swing” at him in recent months.

The Liverpool boss expressed his surprise at the decision to overlook defender Joe Gomez in October, saying it “makes no sense” to select John Stones over him given his lack of club game time.

Klopp also took aim at Southgate the previous month after Trent Alexander-Arnold was deployed in midfield against Andorra, leading the German to ask why he would play the world’s best right-back out of position.

Asked if he was aware if he had done anything to upset the Liverpool boss, Southgate said with a laugh: “Well, no, not really.

“Yeah, I agree, I don’t quite know why he keeps having a swing but, yeah, you’d have to ask him.

“I think we’ve always got on reasonably well but I have noticed quite a few articles and quite a few comments, which is always interesting to see.”

Southgate said he had “no problem with Jurgen at all” ahead of the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Albania and Andorra, when Alexander-Arnold was selected among three right-backs in the squad.

When asked if it was important to have good relationships with top Premier League managers, Southgate said: “Well, they come and go pretty quickly, to be honest, so it’s important to have good relationships somewhere in the clubs.

“But maybe the managers aren’t the priority because it’s very transient – I don’t think that will be the case with the Liverpool manager, by the way.”

There have already been four top-flight managerial changes this season, with Nuno Espirito Santo’s exit from Tottenham preceding the departure of Daniel Farke from Norwich on Saturday night.

Portuguese coach Nuno endured a difficult four-month period at Spurs, whose star turn Harry Kane has struggled to get going having looked to leave over the summer.

Southgate brushed aside the suggestion the England captain’s position is under threat, calling him “the outstanding centre forward of his generation”, but hopes Antonio Conte’s arrival acts as a spark.

“It’s been a really complicated summer for him,” the England manager said. “It was a very difficult situation for everybody there.

“I can imagine for Nuno going into a club where the relationship with him and Harry, the first thing you’re dealing with is a player that’s asked to leave so on both sides I’m sure on that was very complicated.

“Now there’s an opportunity for Harry to be able to put everything behind him.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Tottenham Hotspur – Premier League – Molineux Stadium
Harry Kane, left, hugs his then manager at Tottenham, Nuno Espirito Santo (PA)

“He’s understood and announced he wanted to stay earlier in the season. Now there’s a change of manager, I think there’s a fresh start for him.

“I think that will be a good stimulus for him because I’m sure the whole thing has been an experience that has been difficult.

“He’s ended up with, understandably, an adverse reaction from some of the fans there and so he’s had to deal with a lot of probably unintentional consequences of the possible move in the summer.

“I think now Antonio coming in actually is probably a good thing from Harry’s personal point of view.

“Knowing Antonio as I do, an outstanding coach, a very good man, I’m sure he’ll get a response and a reaction out of Harry very quickly.”

While Kane will be attempting to shoot Tottenham to victory at Everton on Sunday, Aaron Ramsdale will be attempting to keep another shutout back in north London.

Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale
Gareth Southgate is a confirmed admirer of Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Arsenal host Watford on Sunday afternoon as the only uncapped member of the England squad looks to increase the pressure on established first choice Jordan Pickford.

“He’s got super attributes in terms of not only having the ability to keep the ball out of the net but his distribution and his ability with his feet,” Southgate said.

“In the modern game, at the club he’s at and the way we would want to play, they are vastly important.

“He’s progressing really well. Of course he’s got to do this now over a longer period of time.

“But his performances at the end of last season were very good and his performances at the beginning of this season have been very good as well.”

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