By Ian Ladyman for the Daily Mail
Published: 22:30 GMT, 17 November 2020 | Updated: 22:42 GMT, 17 November 2020
As international football prepares to go into hibernation, Gareth Southgate knows the backlash from Premier League managers is about to begin.
The theme will be injuries, the load placed on players and whether a schedule of three games in a week — one of them a friendly and another Wednesday's Nations League dead rubber against Iceland — were all really necessary.
But on Tuesday night, Southgate gave the impression of a man who has probably heard enough of it.
Gareth Southgate knows the backlash from league managers on injuries is about to begin
The England manager insisted he will continue to listen and to protect over-worked players when he can. But ultimately he will not back down. He has a tournament to win next summer and will continue to call on his best players as he bids to do so.
‘We are representing 50 million people, we are trying to prepare for the European Championship,’ said Southgate. ‘The players want to play. They want to achieve personal landmarks.
‘They are in a really difficult situation. They are under huge pressure from their clubs. That is going on in the background, for sure. That is the landscape whether it is made public or not.
‘I totally get it from a club perspective. It’s never been more competitive in our league and we have lots of huge personalities and strong people who are always looking for an edge. So we’ve got to manage that.
‘We will help but we’ve also