England boss Gareth Southgate explains why Tottenham and Leicester stars Harry Winks and James Maddison were left out of Bulgaria and Kosovo games

Gareth Southgate has told talkSPORT the carnage of England’s 5-3 victory over Kosovo meant a number of his young players were left wanting at the end of this international break.

The likes of Tottenham and Leicester City midfielders Harry Winks and James Maddison were expected to get game time at St Mary’s on Tuesday after missing out on Saturday’s 4-0 victory over Bulgaria.

NINTCHDBPICT000519813442 e1568212137153 - England boss Gareth Southgate explains why Tottenham and Leicester stars Harry Winks and James Maddison were left out of Bulgaria and Kosovo games
James Maddison was unused during this international break by England boss Gareth Southgate
Getty Images – Getty

But they, along with a number of other inexperienced stars hoping for a game, were left on the bench as the Three Lions’ midfield and defence crumbled against the plucky minnows.

Fans were left particularly disappointed by Maddison’s no-show, especially given his brilliant form in a Leicester shirt so far this season and the clamour for his call-up before the squad was announced.

NINTCHDBPICT000516113189 e1567629043944 - England boss Gareth Southgate explains why Tottenham and Leicester stars Harry Winks and James Maddison were left out of Bulgaria and Kosovo games
Harry Winks earned a recall to the England side for his solid performances for Spurs, but also didn’t get a game against Bulgaria or Kosovo
Getty Images – Getty

But Southgate explained securing the result was his priority over handing out caps, and admitted Winks and Maddison weren’t the only players he had to disappoint.

“We had ambition to get more people into the games,” the Three Lions boss told talkSPORT’s Nigel Adderley.

“If you look at young players we’ve played [Declan] Rice, who is still in the very early stages of his international career, and [Jadon] Sancho and Trent [Alexander-Arnold] who only have a handful of caps, and then we got Mason [Mount] onto the pitch twice.

“But when the game goes 5-1, 5-2, 5-3, we can’t just be about giving everybody an opportunity.

NINTCHDBPICT000519803808 - England boss Gareth Southgate explains why Tottenham and Leicester stars Harry Winks and James Maddison were left out of Bulgaria and Kosovo games
Declan Rice has now made five appearances for England, while Mason Mount has graduated from the England Under-21s squad
AFP or licensors

“That’s tough on the guys who haven’t got on the pitch, but Tyrone Mings, Joe Gomez and Callum Wilson are all in the same position and our two other goalkeepers who have been brilliant all week are also in the same position.

“It’s a shame for those guys, but they just have to keep playing well for their clubs.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *