Club rivalry will be put to one side in England’s cause, says Harry Kane
England’s build-up has been higgledy-piggledy as club finals ate into their preparation time, meaning the seven players involved in Saturday’s Champions League final will not train with the squad until today.
Jordan Henderson lifted the trophy in Madrid alongside Liverpool team-mates Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez, as defeated Tottenham players Eric Dier, Danny Rose, Dele Alli and Kane watched on at the Wanda Metropolitano.
England manager Southgate admitted dealing with the highs and lows experienced by those players will be a challenge, but captain Kane says club issues are always put to one side when the national team convenes.
“We’ve got such a great bond and, although we’re at different clubs, when we come here everyone’s fully focused on here,” said the World Cup Golden Boot winner.
“You don’t have to talk to people about switching off from club football.
“Everyone just naturally does it and I think the fact we’ve played with each other in club sides and younger England sides means we’re all good friends.
“Whether you’re at Spurs or Manchester City or Liverpool, we’ve known each other long enough that we’ve become mates.
“When you come here you just look forward to meeting up and being friends.”
England have to fulfil some UEFA requirements today, when the first team meetings and training sessions involving the full 23-man squad will also take place as Southgate attempts to make up for lost time ahead of Thursday’s semi-final.
But Kane and company are sure to knuckle straight down as the Nations League offers the chance for the Three Lions to win a first major senior trophy since the World Cup in 1966.
“It’s a new tournament, but it’s still a chance to win a trophy in an England shirt, and 1966 was a long time ago,” continued Kane.
“We’re going to try and take full advantage.
“We all want to win trophies and have the experience of sharing that with the group and the fans, so it’s a huge incentive.
“The fans are going to be out in numbers and, hopefully, be part of history.
“You want to bring that joy to people – as a footballer that’s what you want to be a part of.
“I think if we go on and win it will be another stepping stone to go on to achieve big things in the future.
“Winning trophies breeds that mentality to go on to do more and more, so it’s a chance for us to start early and try to achieve that.”
Hosts Portugal or surprise package Switzerland await in Sunday’s finale at the Estadio do Dragao should England win, although Holland are unlikely to prove a pushover.
Talents like Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong are complemented by experienced players such as Dutch captain Virgil van Dijk, out of whom Kane got precious little change in the Champions League final.
“It’s going to be tough,” said Kane ahead of the Estadio D Afonso Henriques encounter. “They’ve been in great form.
“Obviously they’ve had a disappointing last couple of years, so they’ve really bounced back.
“They had a tough group in the Nations League and probably weren’t expected to get through, which they did.
“Again they’re a team that looks like they try to express themselves and try to play good football, attacking football.
“We’ve got to be ready for the challenge. It’s going to be a very, very tough game.
“But again whenever we look at teams we look at ourselves first and see what we can do to beat them.”
Kieran Trippier says his future lies in the hands of Tottenham.
The right-back, a key player for England at last summer’s World Cup, has had a disappointing campaign, not helped by a niggling groin injury picked up in Russia.
This poor form has seen him dropped from the Three Lions’ squad for this week’s Nations League finals.
Spurs are understood to be willing to allow Trippier to leave the club and he has been heavily linked with a move to Italian club Napoli.