Southgate injury updates as England face ‘top level’ Italy

England manager Gareth Southgate confirms Phil Foden and Kalvin Phillips are unlikely to face Italy in the Nations League tomorrow. ‘This is a top level game.’

The match kicks off on Saturday at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT) at Wolverhampton’s Molineux.

It’s technically behind closed doors due to the crowd trouble that saw England fans fight with police and break into the EURO 2020 Final at Wembley Stadium, which Italy won on penalties.

There will be circa 2,000 people in the crowd anyway, most of them children under the age of 14 with some adults accompanying them.

“If it’s an embarrassment, it’s for England as a country, because a lot of the people who caused the problems I’m not sure where football fans,” said the manager in his press conference.

“We spoke about it so much, what I must say is that the vast majority of our fans who travelled to Germany behaved themselves brilliantly, so a big thank you to them, because maybe people were expecting something different.”

This was of course taking into account that seven England fans were arrested in Germany before the game for making Nazi salutes, insulting and hitting the local police and ‘alcohol-fuelled anti-social behaviour.’

Southgate confirmed Manchester City talent Phil Foden and Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Philips are major doubts to feature due to injuries.

“We’re still assessing both, Phil joined in with training this morning. He’s progressing, not quickly, so there’s still doubt he can be involved in either game.

“We’ve got to think about some things we want to see, the freshness of the team as well and this is a good game for some of the other players to come into it. This is a top level game, it’s a good sign to trust the players. If we only give players a certain type of match, you don’t find out enough about them and they don’t find out the tactical challenges.

“It’s a balance because we’ve got to win matches, but also find out about the players and give them good experiences. We could get 90 minutes out of any of the squad tomorrow, whether we do that is another matter, but all the players are in physically good condition.”

England have struggled so far in the Nations League group, losing 1-0 away to Hungary and scraping a late 1-1 draw with Germany thanks to a Harry Kane penalty.

Italy, on the other hand, held Germany 1-1 and beat Hungary 2-1 with an experimental and largely untested squad filled with debutants.

“We give our players a structure and prepare them for the game, but then we want their individual talents and strengths to come out.”