Gareth Southgate advised players not to get stressed out about summer transfer talks after he joked that the England side “chatted” at each other during the camp.
This mammoth, unprecedented season finally comes to an end with the qualifier for Euro 2024 on Monday against North Macedonia in a sold-out Old Trafford.
England won 4-0 in Malta on Friday and are expected to take another step towards next summer’s tournament by winning a Group C game, played amid transfer talks.
Harry Kane, Declan Rice and Kyle Walker are the focus of attention over the summer, while Harry Maguire, Conor Gallagher and Kalvin Phillips all have decisions to make due to their lack of playing time at club level.
There is also speculation about Jordan Pickford and James Maddison but Southgate hasn’t felt the need to speak to players about it – although the former defender has some advice.
“I didn’t feel the need to say anything,” Southgate said. “I mean, the players are silently berating each other anyway, so there’s nothing I can do about it!
“What I said is that these things take their course, they happen at their own pace, you can’t force it as a player.
“Don’t be frustrated, don’t ask all summer. You don’t need to be kept up to date with every call.
“There is a lot of negotiation. As a player, I remember being too engrossed in every detail.
“Ultimately there is only a small part that you can actually control.
“I think all of those things will happen later in the summer and I think the players really understand that.
“And they know the focus for the next 36 hours is on this game, on finishing the season well and making sure we get 12 points. If we can do that, we’ll be in a very healthy position.”
Southgate spoke alongside left-back Luke Shaw at Sunday’s pre-game press conference and the defender smiled when the mention of ‘address’ was made.
England are training at Manchester United’s Carrington base and the 27-year-old posted an Instagram Story on Saturday showing pictures of him alongside Kane and another with Rice.
The Old Trafford giants have a long-standing interest in both, and Shaw captioned them “Carrington tour” and an eye emoji in the post.
When asked who he contacted, Shaw said, laughing, “There are a few.”
When Mason Mount was mentioned to him, who United are also interested in, Shaw said: “Obviously he’s not here but I think it’s just a little joke really.
“Of course we joke and laugh about it, but we’re not entirely sure what’s going on behind the scenes.
“Actually it has to do with the club, but of course when we’re here we’re always together and we joke about it.
“I don’t really know much about what’s going on. It really is.”
Shaw is expected to start Monday as Old Trafford hosts the men’s national team for the first time since 2007.
England also played Macedonia there last year – a dismal 0-0 draw in a failed EURO 2008 qualifier.
They drew in their only other home game against the Balkan country in a 2-2 draw that Southgate is not taking lightly as he seeks third-time luck.
“You should have won against Ukraine the other night,” said the England coach. “So we know the quality of some individual players.
“They have some players who play for big European clubs. They work well as a team.
“They obviously knocked Italy out of the last World Cup and narrowly edged out Portugal in those knockout games. So you have a family tree.
“They bring you a little closer to the game than we might have had recently.
“So it’s not just about going on from Friday, it’s about taking a step forward in intensity and quality and we have to do our best to win the game.”