Jose Mourinho urges Gareth Southgate to drop three players for Ukraine Euro 2020 clash


    Jose Mourinho has urged Gareth Southgate to leave out three key players for the Euro 2020 quarter-final against Ukraine. Mourinho is “so confident” that England will win, he believes none of Declan Rice, Kalvin Phillips or Harry Maguire should be risked.

    The Rice and Phillips partnership in central midfield has been a key to Southgate’s tactical plan throughout the tournament.

    But Mourinho told The Sun that a two-man defensive shield isn’t absolutely necessary to beat Ukraine, and even if that’s what Southgate wants, then Jordan Henderson or Jude Bellingham would be suitable alternatives.

    “I’m so confident England will beat Ukraine that if I were in charge I would rest both Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips to save them for the semi-final,” Mourinho said.

    “Obviously I’m looking from the outside and don’t have to work under the pressure of Gareth but I would say you don’t need Rice and Phillips to beat Ukraine.

    “At the most, one of them is needed but you have Jordan Henderson who is in the right condition to play and other younger players, fresh with the right conditions, desire and motivation to play.”

    READ MORE: Jack Grealish has ‘scary’ warning for England’s Euro 2020 rivals

    Both Phillips and Rice are also on yellow cards, so could be suspended for the semi-final if they picked up a booking against Ukraine.

    And the same is true of centre-back Maguire.

    The Manchester United defender returned from an injury lay-off during the group stage, and Mourinho is concerned that putting too many miles in the player’s legs at this stage could see him exhausted if England go further in the tournament.

    “For Maguire, a rest will be perfect because it not only means he avoids a yellow card that would stop him playing the semi-final, but also means England do not accumulate fatigue in a player that didn’t prepare as well as the others have,” Mourinho said.

    “I would make three or four changes for this game even though it is a quarter-final, including the important defender and the two engines in midfield.

    “Saturday’s semi-final will be much more difficult than the quarter-final.

    If England were to progress past Ukraine on Saturday then a semi-final against either Denmark or the Czech Republic would await on Wednesday evening.

    Southgate’s side beat the Czechs 1-0 during the group stage, while Denmark – ranked No 10 in the world – are on an emotionally driven run through the tournament following the collapse of Christian Eriksen in their opening group match.


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