Gareth Southgate uses Roy Keane example to allay suspension fears

Gareth Southgate Roy Keane

The England manager has no plans to rest players against Ukraine.

Gareth Southgate doesn’t intend to rest players for Saturday night’s Euro 2020 quarter-final against Ukraine and he pointed to Roy Keane as “the best example” for his side not to worry about potential suspensions.

Harry Maguire, Declan Rice, Kalvin Phillips and Phil Foden have all been booked at Euro 2020 and would face suspension if booked against Ukraine.

But despite the advice of Jose Mourinho to rest a number of players on yellow cards this weekend, Southgate is determined to field his strongest team possible in the hope of reaching the semi-final.

Southgate has urged his players to follow the example set by Keane in Manchester United’s 1999 Champions League semi-final against Juventus to understand that the most important goal is to put in the best performance to progress rather than concern themselves with suspensions for the next match.

“I was on a yellow before the semi-final with Germany (at Euro 96) and would have missed the final had we ever got there, had I picked up a yellow,” Southgate said, via the Evening Standard. “So you are aware of it as a player.

“You have these situations in your career when you still have to be committed to the game, avoid unnecessary yellows if you can, but accept that you might mistime something. You have to have the same commitment because if you aren’t that committed we are not going to get to the semi-final anyway. That’s the reality. You can’t be thinking of what’s next.

“I suppose the best example was Roy Keane against Juve. That’s the ultimate personal sacrifice really. He knew he wasn’t going to play from fairly early in the game, but he kept leading the team on to the final.

Gareth Southgate cites Roy Keane example

“Our guys are committed to each other. They know where they are at. We have to do everything we can to give ourselves the best chance of winning this game and then a semi-final where we will have to deal with whatever situation we are in.”

Keane dismissed the idea that Southgate should rest players against Ukraine, with the Irishman insisting it would be too big a risk for England.

Speaking on ITV ahead of Friday night’s pair of quarter-finals, Keane urged Southgate to pick his best XI if he is to avoid the potential banana skin of Ukraine.

“This idea of resting players for a quarter-final of a big tournament, that’s a dangerous route to go down,” Keane said.

“Gareth’s got to focus on picking the best team that he thinks will get over the line and he’s done a brilliant job so far.

“This idea of resting players, that’s a dangerous road to go down.”

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