I bet Harry Kane and Dele Alli play for Tottenham at Arsenal on Saturday. Both players were not fit enough to play for England against Germany and Brazil but no doubt will be fit as a fiddle for the north London derby. Withdrawals from international squads for minor complaints are a mark of a club’s status and Tottenham are now in with the big boys. Mauricio Pochettino doesn’t care about England and his focus is Tottenham beating their local rivals. Lets be honest he is from the Argentine!
While the two England boys were putting their feet up and making miraculous recoveries Christian Erikson of Spurs was destroying the Republic of Ireland and breaking their fans’ hearts. All three should be raring to go on Saturday and can make the short journey home with three points after beating Arsenal on their own patch. Tottenham are now a class act and having manufactured a rest for two of their best players can get the job done at the Emirates.
The England manager, Gareth Southgate, believes he does not have a club v country problem. However, almost a full team did not turn up for the latest international break and that must be a concern. However, it could work in his favour in that England did well against the two top ranked sides in the world. In Harry Maguire and Ruben Loftus Cheek Southgate saw players that are good enough for the first team in the World Cup in Russia next year. England’s best 11 did not play in the 1966 World Cup Final and in adversity Southgate could have unearthed two gems.
The fixture between Arsenal and Tottenham will attract a huge global television audience and the stadium will be full.
The Premier League is a massive success story but the England national team always disappoint in tournaments.
The six Premier League superpowers are managed by overseas coaches and mainly in foreign ownership. The powers that be at club level don’t care about England and that is why Kane and Alli did not bust a gut to play for their national team last week. The Premier League honey pot prospers even if England are rubbish.
Newcastle are owned by a native of the UK, Mike Ashby. Rafa Benitez is the manager and the country of his birth is Spain. However, players from the club are hardly knocking on the door for England duty except perhaps Jonjo Shelvey but he is well down the pecking order. Shelvey can pick a pass from midfield but his side will struggle to avoid defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford this weekend. After losing at Chelsea the home side need three points to get their season back on track. The players can deliver with a win by more than one goal.
Jose Mourinho faces the same pressures as the other managers of the major clubs but he seems to appreciate the value of international fixtures. In Marcus Rashford he has in his care one of the best young England players of the generation. Mourinho realises that playing against Germany and Brazil is good for his development and United will benefit. Ironically Phil Jones was injured against Germany and misses the match against Newcastle which Rashford and his mates can win with something in hand.
Sunday’s live match between West Ham and Watford and the Monday Night Football fixture that brings together Brighton and Stoke are not meetings to relish and anticipate with excitement. Both outcomes are hard to predict but they don’t have goals written all over them. Many more millions will tune in to the match between Arsenal and Tottenham and Kane and Alli could be stars of the show despite not being fit to play for England this week.