European success for Liverpool good for England – Southgate
England manager wants Reds to win Champions League heading into World Cup
Gareth Southgate wants to see Liverpool win the Champions League next weekend as the England boss believes it will be a boost for his squad ahead of the World Cup.
The Reds travel to Kiev to face holders Real Madrid on Saturday with a number of England internationals in their ranks.
Jordan Henderson could follow in the footsteps of the likes of Steven Gerrard by lifting the famous European Cup trophy and remains a strong candidate to go on and captain England in Russia.
Teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold is likely to end an impressive campaign by starting the final, the uncapped full-back called up by Southgate for the World Cup, while Adam Lallana – currently on England’s standby list – could be involved having seemingly overcome a season of injury setbacks.
With Premier League champions Manchester City having their own quartet in the squad and two players coming from FA Cup winners Chelsea, Southgate’s 23-man group could be boasting even more silverware in Russia.
“I think it is big,” Southgate said when asked if victory for Liverpool would be a boost for the Three Lions.
“We want our players to be playing in those big matches and the experience for the likes of Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana and Trent in the last few months of playing in those matches that matter.
“It was a the same for the Spurs boys and Man City boys – you want them in those big-match environments.
“You want them to experience winning things because then they know what it has taken, the commitment that is needed and the mindset that is needed and that hurdles can be overcome and they have gained belief from being in those performances.
“So I think it is a great thing for English football – Liverpool represent England in that final. I know that won’t be seen universally by all supporters but why would we want Real Madrid to win? I can’t understand any of the logic in that, really.”
Southgate insists he is yet to make a decision over who will captain his side when England’s World Cup gets under way against Tunisia on June 18.
But he singled out Liverpool skipper Henderson for praise as he has overcome criticism from some quarters to establish himself for club and country in recent times.
“He didn’t have an impossible task but it was a huge task to fill shoes of Steven Gerrard, not only because of the calibre of player but because he was a local lad,” he added.
“To take on that challenge is one thing and to slowly establish yourself in the team and then play with the authority he has in the big matches which he has – and to a degree win the supporters over – is a huge credit.
“He is an impressive character, he is extremely focused, very resilient, very mature, understands responsibility for the group and I know he is a huge ally for (Liverpool manager) Jurgen Klopp with what they do.”