Southgate: Uniting England players after Champions League final will be a "test of our management skills"

Testing time for Southgate

The 2018/19 season has certainly been one to remember and on 1st June it finally reaches its pulsating conclusion in Madrid.

For the first time in 11 years we have an all-English Champions League final, with Liverpool and Tottenham facing off at Atletico Madrid's fantastic Wanda Metropolitano for the honour of being crowned kings of Europe.

For Liverpool they're eyeing up a sixth crown, with them already the most successful British club in the competitions history. Whilst Tottenham on the other hand have reached the final of European footballs elite competition for the first time.

We're all set for an absolute belter of a contest in the Spanish capital and emotions are certainly going to be running high, but it's vital for the rest of England that once that full-time whistle goes, they can start to resolve their differences.

Just 6 days later many of the Liverpool & Tottenham players will become teammates for the Three Lions, as England begin their quest for UEFA Nations League glory against the Netherlands in the semi-finals.

Guimaraes (Portugal) is the host city for the big game on Thursday 6th June and should England be victorious they'll qualify for the final in Porto on the 9th. A defeat would see them play in the third place play-off on Saturday 8th. This is the first ever Nations League finals and it represents a fantastic opportunity for this young, vibrant England side to claim some silverware.

Gareth Southgate England
Gareth Southgate has worked wonders with England since replacing Sam Allardyce in 2016

But if they're to do that then the Liverpool and Tottenham players will have to put their differences from the final aside, so even though as neutrals we want to see a gripping, controversial final with plenty of talking points. We also want both sets of players to be gracious in the outcome so we can go on and win the Nations League!

England have made tremendous strides under Gareth Southgate over the last couple of years but even he admits that this game will provide a "test of our management skills" when speaking to BBC Radio 5 live.

"We have got to make a quick but accurate assessment on where they are over those few days. It will be a very individual thing having played in such a big game."

Last year Southgate had Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jordan Henderson join the World Cup squad fresh from losing the Champions League final against Real Madrid. "We had Jordan and Trent come into camp last year on the back of a big disappointment and that wasn't straightforward for them."

Gareth Bale Champions League Liverpool
Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold suffered Champions League final heartache last season - but this seasons showpiece in Madrid will deal the squad a bigger problem

"So somebody is going to come in in that frame of mind unfortunately. It is a unique situation. I guess the Spanish manager would have had that over a period of time in the past (two recent finals have involved all-Spanish clubs) and there will be others that have had to deal with it."

"That's a test of our management skills and our collective spirit as a team. It's the biggest challenge of all to compete against each other, then leave that at the door and remember with England we are a team, we support each other."

Gareth and the management team do have a big job on their hands and if they can pull it off and win the Nations League it will be an immensely impressive achievement. England have made fantastic progress under Southgate and winning the final on 9th June would be a huge step for our young team. Go on lads, bring it home.


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