International football may not warrant the same anticipation and entertainment as the club side of the game yet there are a number offer benefits to the players who will look to maintain fitness levels in the build-up to the new season.
For Gareth Southgate, it represents the first opportunity to look at his squad since November following the effects of the pandemic.
Amazingly, England haven’t been in action since 2019 with the last get together back in November when the Three Lions met up for a match against Montenegro last November.
Instead of the football dominating headlines 10 months ago, it was two players from Manchester City and Liverpool respectively who were the main talking points.
England’s upcoming fixtures against Iceland and Denmark represent the first fixtures since Raheem Sterling was dropped from international duty following his altercation with Joe Gomez after a clash during Liverpool’s 3-1 victory over City that same month.
According to James Pearce of The Athletic, the incident between Gomez and Sterling only last 10-15 seconds yet it was enough for Southgate to send the City star packing from the England camp.
Gomez was disgracefully booed by a section of supporters following events despite the Liverpool man seemingly the victim during the confrontation. The 22-year-old defender was then forced to pull out of the Kosovo game, which Sterling returned for, through injury.
Sterling and Gomez have come up against each other since following Manchester City’s victory over Liverpool back in July.
The pair are, therefore, due to play for England for the first time since their bust-up in the St George’s Park canteen despite the issue seemingly resolved and addressed long before the duo are expected to take to the pitch during England’s inaugural Nations League fixtures against Iceland on Saturday and then Denmark on Tuesday.
Southgate, himself, has seen no reason to address the issue and according to the Telegraph, has no plans to speak to either player about the incident with Gomez and Sterling who are expected to start in both of the respective fixtures.
Gomez is likely to be Southgate’s first-choice central defensive option given Harry Maguire was withdrawn from the initial squad following the events of the Manchester United captain’s arrest in Greece.
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