Gareth Southgate has insisted he will not be overly loyal to the players that got England to the Euro 2020 final last summer.
The Three Lions have endured an underwhelming UEFA Nations League campaign so far, losing their opening game against Hungary before falling to a draw against Germany in Munich.
Of the 14 players that took to the field against Die Mannschaft just West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen was not part of the Three Lions’ Euro 2020 squad, while a majority of the starters lined up against Croatia in the 2018 World Cup semi-final.
Despite Southgate’s apparent desire for continuity, he has insisted there is no danger of him being too loyal to his favourites.
“No. We’re totally open-minded. Bukayo (Saka) came out of the pack and we didn’t hesitate putting Jude (Bellingham) into the fray, which was an incredible experience for him,” he said.
He added: “So many of them, when picking the team, you look at it and they’ve been to a World Cup semi-final and Euros final.
“So it’s not only the quality and experience of playing in an environment like that, but the spirit they’ve got and the fact they’re going to die for each other on the pitch.
“They could barely walk in the dressing room. It’s a phenomenal effort they’ve given, particularly after some of them having to play longer than we’d hoped on Saturday, at this stage of the season.
“What I would say is that we’ve clearly got to look after the welfare of the players. That’s part of what we were doing on Saturday, with a view to having the freshness we were going to need tonight to compete.”
Next on the agenda for the Three Lions is a visit from Italy on Saturday in what is a repeat of the Euro 2020 final. This round of Nations League fixtures is closed out by another home game, this time against Hungary.
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