The Interlull is over …

Right, so that’s it, internationals are done until the summer, and now it’s all steam ahead for the Premier League and Champions League.

A big thanks this morning to Gareth Southgate who played Declan Rice for 90 minutes in two games that don’t matter, much appreciated. I will say I think Rice is a player who probably relishes the involvement, and maybe he’s a rhythm player who thrives when he plays consistently, but it’s still quite annoying. Especially when Man City players pretend to be injured after a few minutes. I fully expect both John Stones and Kyle Walker to line-up for them on Sunday despite the fact they had to leave the pitch early on in the fixtures they were involved in.

Elsewhere, Jakub Kiwior played the full 120 minutes as Poland qualified for the Euros at the expense of Wales, via a penalty shoot-out. It’s not ideal ahead of Sunday, but then he’s not someone who has played a huge amount of minutes so it’s more about recovery than his tank running empty after a long, gruelling season. The fact that Oleksandr Zinchenko was on the bench for Ukraine last night was probably instructive about his fitness levels ahead of this weekend.

He was called into action in the 64th minute with his side 1-0 down to Iceland, and helped them turn it around to win 2-1 in the end. But if a player of his quality and experience isn’t deemed fit enough to start a game of this importance for his country, I very much doubt he’s fit enough to play against his old club on Sunday. Not that I would be inclined to start him anyway, but let’s see how Kiwior is when he gets back from his travels (the game last night was in Wales, so he doesn’t have far to go). There is also Takehiro Tomiyasu to consider, but would Man City away as a first start in over three months be a bit too risky?

Kai Havertz played 73 minutes as Germany beat the Netherlands 2-1; Martin Odegaard played 78 minutes of Norway’s 1-1 draw with Slovakia (Haaland played just over an hour);…


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Publish date : 2024-03-27 07:41:45

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