England manager Gareth Southgate has expressed surprise at multiple prickly comments made by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp over national team selections.
Klopp was critical of Southgate utilising right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield during a match in September and questioned why Manchester City centre-back John Stones keeps getting called up and Joe Gomez does not when neither has played much club football this season.
“Why would you make the best right-back in the world a midfielder? I don’t understand that really,” Klopp said of the Alexander-Arnold situation, which saw the Liverpool defender start as a central midfielder in the 4-0 win over Andorra.
Klopp also sarcastically suggested there is a ‘special thing for Mr Stones’. The City player has spent most of the season so far on the bench and has only been picked by Pep Guardiola very recently. Gomez, meanwhile, has scarcely featured since recovering from a long-term injury.
Southgate has said he can’t get his head round Klopp’s stance, insisting from his perspective that the pair have always got on and have no problem.
“I don’t quite know why he keeps having a swing, you’d have to ask him. I think we’ve always got on reasonably well. I’ve noticed quite a few articles and quite a few comments, which is always interesting to see,” the England boss is quoted as saying by The Guardian.
“I’ve got no problem with Jurgen at all. You’d have to ask him why he’s made the comments he has.”
England face Albania and Hungary on 12 and 15 November respectively in the final two qualifiers for a place at the 2022 World Cup. The Three Lions lead the group by three points ahead of Poland and need four points from the last two matches to finish top – fewer if Poland drop points.
Only the top team in each European group will automatically qualify for the finals in Qatar, with the second placed countries entering a playoff tournament to determine the last three qualifiers.
Source : 90min