Gareth Southgate: England will need clubs’ help in ‘unique’ 2022-23 season


Gareth Southgate
Friday’s World Cup qualifying win over Albania was Gareth Southgate’s 67th match in charge as England manager

England manager Gareth Southgate says next season is “unique” with the World Cup taking place mid-campaign and hopes to get the full co-operation of clubs.

The Premier League announced that the 2022-23 season will pause after the weekend of 12/13 November, with the Qatar World Cup starting a week later.

The final is on 18 December and clubs return to action on 26 December.

“The unknown is what will happen with the tight turnaround after the last league matches,” said Southgate.

The World Cup is usually held at the end of the season in the summer but due to extreme heat in Qatar at that time, it has been put back to the winter.

There will be only eight days between the last Premier League game and the start of the tournament in the Middle East.

Next season will begin a week earlier than normal, on 6 August, and finish a week later on 28 May.

Southgate added: “When you pick up any injuries before summer tournaments, you can sometimes have a few weeks to get things right.

“That won’t be possible for any of the countries that qualify, so everybody is going to have to select their squad in a very short period of time. It is going to be key to get those decisions right.

“I think, without a doubt, that medically we will hope to get the help of clubs because medically you can’t always get the full picture until the players are with us.

“And because the turnaround is so tight, we are going to need a bit more insight.

“But every club has always allowed us that opportunity and we’ve got to make sure we keep that as much as we can.”

England still need a point against minnows San Marino on Monday to guarantee themselves a place at the tournament.

‘I’ve gone to spread my wings’

Tammy Abraham
Tammy Abraham has scored two goals in nine caps for England

Roma striker Tammy Abraham said he moved to Italy “to spread my wings” as he looks to earn a start in the final qualifier on Monday having replaced hat-trick scoring Harry Kane against Albania.

Abraham, 24, joined Jose Mourinho’s Roma from Chelsea in the summer and has scored five goals so far, though only one in his last eight games.

“I think one of the things he [Mourinho] said was I was too much of a nice player and that you have to show that aggressiveness as you’re getting older as a striker,” said Abraham.

“It’s not always about being nice on the pitch. You need that character, you need that presence to frighten defenders and I think that’s something I’m learning and getting better at.

“It’s always tough, moving and going to experience a different country and different culture.

“I felt the sooner I settled in the better, and started learning different types of football and different styles. I’ve gone to spread my wings and hopefully I can keep up the level of performances I need to stay in the team.”

‘I’d like to meet Pirlo’

Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips says he received a good luck message from former Italy international Andrea Pirlo before last summer’s Euro 2020 final.

Phillips has been nicknamed ‘Yorkshire Pirlo’ with his playing style being compared to the World Cup and Champions League winner.

“It’s always nice to get the recognition of some unbelievable players,” said Phillips.

“The night before the final, Jack Harrison, who used to play at New York City with him, sent me a video of Pirlo.

“It was a video to me saying ‘good luck in the final and he wishes me all the best’ so that was very nice.

“It was a very nice feeling and obviously I thought it was going to say something about Italy but, no, he wished me well – full respect for that.

“I just got the video and I was like ‘oh my God’. I’ve never met him, I’d like to meet him to be honest. I’ve seen that he is a very cool guy, but I’ve heard he’s a nice guy as well.”

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