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England captain Harry Kane named in Nations League finals squad

Netherlands' Virgil van Dijk insists there is a new buzz around the national team and they are ready to face anyone including a resurgent and impressive England side.
With the UEFA Nations League semifinals set, Craig Burley believes a resurgent Netherlands side will give England all they can handle.
Frank de Boer delves into Netherlands' return to form in the UEFA Nations League and feels the younger generation have reignited fire in the squad.

Harry Kane has been included in Gareth Southgate's 27-man England squad for this summer's UEFA Nations League finals in Portugal as he continues his recovery from an ankle ligament injury.

The England captain has not featured for Tottenham since damaging his ankle ligaments last month during a challenge with Manchester City midfielder Fabian Delph, who has also been included in the squad.

- When are the UEFA Nations League finals?

Southgate must finalise his selection to a 23-man group five days before the Champions League final on June 1 -- a less than ideal situation for the England manager with nine of his squad, including Kane, likely to be involved for Tottenham and Liverpool in Madrid.

"He's working towards being fit for their final, and we have to see how that progresses really," Southgate said of Kane. "Clearly he's a player we'd want to give every opportunity to.

"His goalscoring record is phenomenally high and he's captain of the team. We're keeping that door open and will see how that progresses."

Southgate said that he's looking to see if Kane will play for Mauricio Pochettino's side in the Champions League final, but added that may not be the deciding factor for his England availability either.

"Not necessarily because they might take a view that [Lucas] Moura scored a hat trick and Son [Heung-Min] played well so they keep Harry as an impact player," Southgate said.

"So without talking to Mauricio, I don't know what his thinking on that will be. I guess that depends on how Harry trains in the build-up to the game.

"So no, I don't think it is an absolute he has to play there or he is not ready four days later.

"Equally he could play in the final and not be right four days later for us, we are just going to have to play it by ear because he is not going to have had a game prior to that point.

"Where there are one or two others we need to know a lot more about in the next week, he is one I will make an exception for in that I will see how it goes in the final week."

Changes to the final squad can, however, be made up to 24 hours before the UEFA Nations League semifinal against Netherlands on June 6, as long as any alterations are greenlit by European football's governing body.

"Realistically we won't get those [Tottenham and Liverpool] guys on the training pitch until Tuesday before the game on Thursday," Southgate said. "That's not an easy situation, clearly. But I go back to the fact we have an excellent squad, excellent competition for places, and we've always had to adapt.

"You have to do that in international football. You have to make sure the decisions we make as a staff, and the contingency plans we have, are the right ones. The players are excited at the chance of being two games away from a major trophy. It'll be a huge step forward for us."

Southgate said Ruben Loftus-Cheek was a late scratch from the squad after suffering an Achilles' tendon rupture during Chelsea's 3-0 friendly win over New England Revolution in the United States on Wednesday.

"I went to bed last night with Loftus-Cheek in the squad and playing brilliantly, and now he misses a major European final and a big opportunity with us," Southgate added. "He's come on a lot in the last few months, playing with a lot of confidence and coming on strong. I'm really disappointed for him."

Loftus-Cheek's teammate Callum Hudson-Odoi would also have been included, but is another long-term absentee with the same injury.

Nathan Redmond could be in line for only his second senior England cap, while Southampton teammate James Ward-Prowse is also included.

"He's finished the season really well with Southampton," Southgate said of Redmond. "Since the change in manager, I've liked the way the team have played. He's playing in a style that we ask of our forward players, too.

"A lot of pace, presses well, has started to score regularly -- he had a difficult season last year, but has finished this season very strongly. He's done really well this season. It's a really good opportunity for him."

Liverpool defender Joe Gomez, Manchester United forward Jesse Lingard and Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks are recalled after missing the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Czech Republic and Montenegro.

However, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, recovering from a serious knee injury, is still not ready to be included in Southgate's plans.

"Not yet because I think when you are recovering from an ACL injury you need a period of time to get into more starts, more 90 minutes under his belt and it's an important thing for him that he's managed to get some minutes at Liverpool but I think a good preseason... because what's happened with him, a couple of minor hamstring injuries, is classic when you've been out with a long-term injury," Southgate said.

"We shouldn't be risking him in our games at this stage of his recovery from a serious injury. But he's very much in our thoughts for next season."

Full squad: Jack Butland, Tom Heaton, Jordan Pickford, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Chilwell, Joe Gomez, Michael Keane, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ross Barkley, Dele Alli, Fabian Delph, Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, Declan Rice, James Ward-Prowse, Harry Winks, Harry Kane, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, Nathan Redmond, Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling, Callum Wilson.

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