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Nations League: Harry Kane in England squad, Ruben Loftus-Cheek out

Harry Kane has not played since getting injured against Manchester City in the Champions League on 9 April

Tottenham striker Harry Kane is one of nine Champions League finalists named in England’s initial 27-man squad for the inaugural Nations League finals despite his fitness being “an unknown”.

England captain Kane has not played since injuring his left ankle in the first leg of Spurs’ Champions League quarter-final victory over Manchester City on 9 April.

“He’s working to be fit for the [Champions League] final,” said England manager Gareth Southgate. “We are keeping that door open.”

He added: “That’s one of the unknowns. We are going to look post-Champions League final.”

Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek misses out, and will also sit out the Europa League final against Arsenal on 29 May after injuring an ankle in a friendly in the US on Wednesday.

“I went to bed last night and Ruben’s in the squad and playing brilliantly,” said Southgate.

“It’s a huge disappointment for him and he now misses a major European final and a brilliant opportunity for us.”

Loftus-Cheek’s Chelsea team-mate Callum Hudson-Odoi is also absent following Achilles surgery last month.

England squad

Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Jordan Pickford (Everton)

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Leicester City), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Michael Keane (Everton), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham), Kyle Walker (Manchester City)

Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham ), Ross Barkley (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Nathan Redmond (Southampton), Declan Rice (West Ham), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton), Harry Winks (Tottenham)

Strikers: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth)

England play their Nations League semi-final against the Netherlands on 6 June in Portugal, just five days after the Champions League showpiece between Liverpool and Spurs.

Kane is named alongside five Spurs team-mates – including Harry Winks, who has had groin surgery – with three Liverpool players also included.

“In the long term for England, it’s brilliant. All of these experiences are what this team hasn’t had before,” said Southgate.

“It’s been an incredible couple of weeks for English football and we are looking forward to continuing that.”

Southampton’s Nathan Redmond, who has won one cap, has been included after an impressive end to a season in which he scored nine goals.

Leicester’s Ben Chilwell and Tottenham’s Danny Rose are preferred to Manchester United’s Luke Shaw at left-back, an area where Southgate said his side are “blessed with so much talent”.

Asked if it was a tough decision, Southgate said: “No. Ben Chilwell and Danny Rose have been excellent for us, so they are ahead in the pecking order.”

Southgate must reduce his squad to 23 players by 27 May.

Should England beat the Netherlands, they will face Portugal or Switzerland in the final on 9 June in Porto.


BBC chief football writer Phil McNulty

The stability and lack of surprises in England manager Gareth Southgate’s squad for the Nations League finals is a strong indicator of its outstanding progress.

The Nations League cannot seriously be regarded as a major honour in the same way as other showpiece tournaments, but success and silverware will be another measure of England building on the platform laid by last summer’s run to the World Cup semi-final.

Southgate still has questions around his squad, hit by the serious injury to Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek, but he has clearly had a positive health bulletin over injured Spurs pair Harry Kane and Harry Winks.

Their selection may also be construed as a sign that Spurs are confident they will be available for selection in some form for the Champions League final against Liverpool in Madrid on 1 June.

That match and the Europa League final between Arsenal and Chelsea in Baku does complicate matters – 10 squad members are involved – and, with Manchester City players and Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho arriving late, only 12 from the 27-man squad will be at the first gathering.

Southampton’s Nathan Redmond is a rewarded for his outstanding form, while it is a sign of Manchester United’s parlous state that their player of the year, Luke Shaw, does not even make the squad.

Southgate will be keeping his fingers crossed during those European finals but this is a confident, motivated squad well capable of challenging the Netherlands – and then Switzerland or hosts Portugal.

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