Jose Mourinho tells Gareth Southgate to rest Kalvin Phillips and two others for England vs Ukraine
Roma boss Jose Mourinho is ‘so confident’ that England will defeat Ukraine in their Euro 2020 quarter-final that he has suggested Gareth Southgate should rest two to three players.
The Three Lions came through their biggest test yet in the Round of 16, finally defeating Germany to advance to the quarter-finals, and from there, the draw is very much on their side.
Southgate’s men face Ukraine on Saturday in the quarter-final, and if they progress through that, a tie with either of Czech Republic or Denmark at home in Wembley will be the only thing standing in their way of a European Championship final, and that too would be at home.
The Three Lions are yet to concede a goal in this competition, and while goals haven’t been particularly forthcoming, there is a confidence they will have more than enough to progress past Ukraine in Rome.
And that sentiment is echoed by Mourinho, who believes Southgate should even rest up to three players with a tougher quarter-final in mind.
“I’m so confident England will beat Ukraine that if I were in charge I would rest both Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips to save them for the semi-final,” Mourinho told The Sun.
“And Gareth Southgate shouldn’t stop there because he should also consider giving Harry Maguire a break so he can be key to the defence for the final week of the tournament.
“All three are on yellow cards, and in the case of Maguire he is also lacking the same kind of preparation fitness-wise because of his injury.
“He could easily be replaced by Tyrone Mings, who was so impressive in the first two games.
“For Maguire, a rest will be perfect because it not only means he avoids a yellow card that would stop him playing the semi-final, but also means England do not accumulate fatigue in a player that didn’t prepare as well as the others have.
“I would make three or four changes for this game even though it is a quarter-final, including the important defender and the two engines in midfield.
“Obviously I’m looking from the outside and don’t have to work under the pressure of Gareth but I would say you don’t need Rice and Phillips to beat Ukraine.
“At the most, one of them is needed but you have Jordan Henderson who is in the right condition to play and other younger players, fresh with the right conditions, desire and motivation to play
“Rice and Phillips have been magnificent so far but look at the way they worked in the last match, and how Declan finished the game completely exhausted and with cramp in his legs.
“Saturday’s semi-final will be much more difficult than the quarter-final.”