Southgate defends Shaw, Smalling

8 November 2016 03:01

England interim manager Gareth Southgate backed Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling after Jose Mourinho appeared to criticise the Manchester United duo.

Shaw and Smalling missed United’s win over Swansea City on Sunday, leading to Mourinho seemingly questioning their bravery.

Neither will feature for England in upcoming matches against Scotland and Spain, but Southgate has no question over their character.

“I don’t know Chris well but that wouldn’t be my impression, having worked with him,” he told UK media.

“Luke I know well and Luke’s had a really tough injury [broken leg last year]. I think very often it’s easy to look from the outside or to make judgements on people without knowing them really, really well.

“If Luke wasn’t fit to play yesterday – and he was with us in September under Sam Allardyce and was feeling problems with the leg – there’s clearly something.

“After an injury as severe as that, we’ve got to handle that with care as well. It’s a difficult balance to find but that’s where we have to trust our medical teams.”

England host Scotland in a World Cup qualifier on Friday before a friendly with Spain four days later.

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