Jose Mourinho has suggested that Gareth Southgate should rest Declan Rice, Harry Maguire, and Kalvin Phillips for England’s Euro 2020 quarter-final clash against Ukraine.
The Three Lions booked a place in the last 8 by beating Germany 2 nil in the round of 16 and it was their first victory against the Germans in a knockout tie at a major tournament for the first time in 55 years.
They will now face Ukraine in Rome after the latter beat Sweden 2:1 in the previous round. The duo of Phillip and Rice started in all four of England’s games in the tournament while Maguire returned from an ankle injury to play in victories over the Czech Republic and Germany.
However, the three of them were booked against Germany and a yellow card for any in the game against Ukraine would rule them out of the semifinal if they make it past the last 8.
Therefore, Mourinho thinks they should be rested on Saturday to protect them against fatigue and a potential ban.
‘I’m so confident England will beat Ukraine that if I were in charge I would rest both Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips to save them for the semi-final,’ Mourinho told The Sun.
‘And Gareth Southgate shouldn’t stop there because he should also consider giving Harry Maguire a break so he can be key to the defense for the final week of the tournament.
‘All three are on yellow cards, and in the case of Maguire, he is also lacking the same kind of preparation fitness-wise because of his injury.
‘He could easily be replaced by Tyrone Mings, who was so impressive in the first two games.
‘For Maguire, a rest will be perfect because it not only means he avoids a yellow card that would stop him playing the semi-final but also means England do not accumulate fatigue in a player that didn’t prepare as well as the others have.
‘I would make three or four changes for this game even though it is a quarter-final, including the important defender and the two engines in midfield.
‘Obviously I’m looking from the outside and don’t have to work under the pressure of Gareth but I would say you don’t need Rice and Phillips to beat Ukraine.
‘At the most, one of them is needed but you have Jordan Henderson who is in the right condition to play and other younger players, fresh with the right conditions, desire and motivation to play
‘Rice and Phillips have been magnificent so far but look at the way they worked in the last match, and how Declan finished the game completely exhausted and with cramp in his legs.
‘Saturday’s semi-final will be much more difficult than the quarter-final.’