Jose Mourinho has warned Gareth Southgate that Harry Kane cannot start all three of England’s triple-header games against Wales, Belgium and Denmark, as Harry Maguire prepares for his international return.
Kane will be part of Southgate’s squad that is named on Thursday and is expected to be joined by Manchester United defender Maguire, who had to be dropped for the Iceland and Denmark matches after being found guilty of assaulting a police officer by a Greek court, which he has subsequently appealed.
Maguire has started both of United’s opening Premier League games and Southgate is likely to include him in a squad that could also feature Kane’s Spurs team-mates Eric Dier and Harry Winks.
But Tottenham head coach Mourinho is worried about the condition of his players, following a gruelling schedule that has seen them play two midweek games, as they are doing this week, in the Carabao Cup and the Europa League.
Kane made a substitute appearance in Tuesday night’s penalty shootout victory over Chelsea, having started in the Premier League against Newcastle United, and he will start in Thursday night’s Europa League tie against Maccabi Haifa ahead of Sunday’s trip to Manchester United.
By the time the Premier League breaks for the latest round of international games, Kane, who started both of England’s games against Iceland and Denmark, could have already made 10 appearances for club and country in less than a month.
“When Kane is fit, he should start every game for Tottenham, but he didn’t yesterday [Tuesday night, against Chelsea], so I think this is the point,” said Mourinho. “When you have such a player and you want to win every match, you play him. But you just can’t do it.
“I believe that Gareth [Southgate] and Steve [Holland], they care about the players and I don’t think they want to be connected with something that can be a consequence of this week plus the three matches that the national team has, which is obviously too much – especially for my players.
“So I don’t speak with Gareth, I don’t speak even with Steve and, of course, with Steve I am a very good friend of his. I just let them do their job the way they want to do it, with the freedom they deserve.”
Mourinho revealed, ahead of the official announcement that followed later, that Gareth Bale will not be part of the Wales squad for their games, which start with a friendly against England at Wembley, and added: “I didn’t speak with Ryan Giggs too, I just leave with them also the respect they must have to their players because the players are our players but are also their players.
“So, hopefully, Gareth and Steve understand what happened with Tottenham players this week and they respect the players. That’s just my hope, but I’m not going to call, I’m not going to ask, I’m not going to beg, I’m not going to press. I think they deserve their freedom and I have the utmost respect for them.”
Tottenham hope Bale will be fit to make his second debut for the club after the international break against West Ham United.
“It looks like Giggs understands the player, knows how important this period is for the players and it looks like his decision is not to bring him to the national team,” said Mourinho.
“In fact, he is not ready, couldn’t play for them, but to be there and to lose the work he could do with us would be very important for the player and when I say the player, the player belongs to Tottenham, belongs to the Welsh national team and it looks like he will have this period to work, specifically, and it looks like he will be back in good condition.”
More generally on Tottenham’s international players, Mourinho added: “I hope the national team coaches they have their data and they realise how many minutes Tottenham players have played this week and I hope they care about the players and they protect them because Tottenham players this week they have an incredible amount of minutes and work and it's very, very dangerous. What I did with Eric Dier [against Chelsea] is very, very dangerous.”
Dele Alli was once again left out of the Tottenham squad for the Carabao Cup success against Chelsea, but the attacking midfielder could return against Maccabi Haifa as Spurs attempt to seal their place in the group stages of the Europa League.
“I cannot confirm that Dele is playing, but I also cannot confirm that he is not playing,” said Mourinho. “We still have decisions to make. The only thing I can say is that he is being very professional, I have only respect for him, very, very professional.
“Even yesterday [Tuesday], when the team was preparing for a game and he wasn’t. It would be perfectly acceptable for a lack of motivation even a lack of professionalism for his training session and it was exactly the opposite. He trained really well and hard, so he has my respect, has the respect of his team-mates and it’s possible that he plays.”