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English success in Champions League could make Nations League 'mess' - Southgate

England manager Gareth Southgate wasted no time in selecting Declan Rice in his latest England squad, citing the West Ham midfielder's versatility.
After Declan Rice's first England call-up, former Scotland international Steve Nicol believes the West Ham midfielder 'never felt right' with the Ireland squad.

England manager Gareth Southgate expressed concern that the success of Premier League clubs in the Champions League could make for a messy go of things for the Three Lions in the Nations League final four on June 5 and 6.

Four-of-the-eight teams in the UCL quarterfinals are English -- Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham and Liverpool -- and with the inaugural UNL semifinals starting four days after the June 1 European decider, fitness and fatigue could be a major factor for England when they face the Netherlands in Portugal.

"It will be a little bit like the World Cup in that players will finish at different times, so we'll have to have some preparation here, in terms of the pre-camps," said Southgate, who unveiled his England squad on Wednesday ahead of a pair of March friendlies. "And it could be a mess.

"Let's say if two of our teams made it to the Champions League final, then we wouldn't see them, at best, until the Monday before we play on the Thursday."

Southgate then noted the advice that he got from a colleague, Australian Rules coach Alastair Clarkson, who he met on a coaching course in the United States.

"So, as an Aussie coach [Clarkson] I know says to me: 'F------ good luck with that, mate!'," Southgate joked.

"We've been in a semifinal, qualified six months ago and what a great opportunity to win something, and then you don't actually get the team together."

England beat Croatia and Spain en route to the Nations League last four, that will also see hosts Portugal play Switzerland on the other side of the bracket. The final will be played on June 9.

Southgate said with a variety of factors at work for his England squad, preparation and planning could be touch and go.

He said: "With the emotion of that game [Champions League final], can those players even realistically play on the Thursday night for us?

"We'll have to work all of that out as that goes on. But, fundamentally, our preparation will be here, broken up with breaks at home to give them space that they would all need, bar the players that will play to the very end.

"They would all need a period where they would need to psychologically switch off, and we'd have to look at Champions League final players when we got to it."

The Premier League ends on May 12 and the FA Cup final is the following weekend, while Arsenal and Chelsea could also be involved in Europa League final on May 29.

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