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Mourinho questions Sterling’s withdrawal from England games


London (AFP) – Jose Mourinho called on England boss Gareth Southgate to name the managers pressurising their players to pull out of international duty as he suspects Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling will be fit to start against Tottenham on Saturday.

Southgate hinted several times during the recent international break that some players faced pressure from their clubs to withdraw from his squad.

Sterling withdrew from the squad with an injury niggle which Southgate would not elaborate on, while Spurs striker Harry Kane played all-but 14 minutes of the Three Lions’ two Nations League fixtures.

“Gareth Southgate, I read, supposedly told that some football club managers put pressure on their players not to play for the national team,” Mourinho said at his pre-match press conference on Friday.

“And because of that he feels the need sometimes to call club managers to try and cool down the emotions and cool down difficult situations for him.

“I would like him to say who. I would like him to say which are the coaches who put pressure on the players not to go. And I would like him to say which are the coaches that he calls and speaks on the phone with them.”

Sterling also withdrew from England’s internationals in October, but then scored the winner against Arsenal in the first match after the international break.

“We all know Sterling will play tomorrow,” added Mourinho.

“When Eric Dier left the national team injured in the previous month, he didn’t play two matches for Tottenham. He didn’t play a Premier League match and a Europa League match.

“He needed a couple of weeks to recover and Raheem is going to play tomorrow. These are the little details I think Gareth should explain to us all.

City boss Pep Guardiola confirmed that Sterling took part in training for the first time since his injury on Friday.

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