Morning all.

Just when I hoped Gareth Southgate would apply common sense by giving Declan Rice the night off having played in the first England friendly against Brazil, he’s made him captain for tonight’s match against Belgium which of course means he’ll start. 50 international caps for our midfielder could have waited and if Southgate thought that much of Rice, he’d give him the captains armband for a game which matters rather than a pointless friendly and just because Kane and Walker are ruled out.

Talking about England’s chances of winning silverware, our midfielder said:

It’s the talk of the town before every major tournament. It’s the pressure that comes with playing for England. If you look at the players we have now and the level they are playing at in terms of form, everyone is playing well. We lost narrowly to France at the World Cup and lost in the Euros final to Italy. We are close now. We have players that are winners. Players that have been and done it at the highest level, but it is on us at the end of the day. We are the ones that have to go out there and perform. I’m sure we are capable of going to Germany and delivering history.

There’s no doubting the quality of English players in the game but in my opinion, Gareth Southgate isn’t the manager to lead them to silverware. England won’t win anything with Maguire at the heart of defence. I don’t think Pickford is the best English keeper either, not when Nick Pope is fit. Henderson, why? Lewis Dunk, oh dearie me. I know every team/squad needs experience but…

France manager Deschamps has had another dig at William Saliba:

He is having a good season, but he also does things that I don’t like so much. For France, he has limited game time, but when he plays, that hasn’t necessarily gone well. The hierarchy doesn’t favour him at the moment, but he is here.

I wonder how William Saliba feels about that eh, I think if it were me, I’d not bother next time.

Any and every player should be picked for a team/country on merit and nothing else. Why a manager feels the need to make public the whys and wherefore of a players career is something I really don’t understand. Southgate did it with Ben White and since he announced his ‘unavailability’ our right back, one of the best right backs in English football in my opinion, has been constantly criticised by anyone who has a voice in the media.

Southgate has been talking about injuries within the England camp and how he’s never known anything like it before. If he really believes every player who has either withdrawn from the camp or returned home since they got together is injured, I don’t think he’s reading the room very well. I don’t think all of the players are injured at all, I just think they are putting club before country with just two months of the season to go.

Anyway, tonight is the final round of international fixtures which involves Arsenal players so fingers crossed they all come through unscathed. Then we can start talking about Sunday…..

Catch up in the comments..