Sat 23 Mar 2024, 09:11 · Ash Harrison

'We adjust': England boss Gareth Southgate gives his thoughts on Newcastle's Australian friendlies

'We adjust': England boss Gareth Southgate gives his thoughts on Newcastle's Australian friendlies
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Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur have come under fire recently after announcing a post-season trip to Australia to take part in a couple of friendly matches.

The friendlies will take place between the end of the Premier League season and the FA Cup final which has drawn criticism from certain sections of the footballing world, particularly with the European Championships coming up this summer.

Both sides will have players who are likely to be called up for Gareth Southgate's England squad for the tournament so jetting off halfway around the world and back again after the end of the season isn't ideal preparation for those internationals.

The games are set to take place in May and obviously, neither club has announced the squad they are taking and whether or not they will be taking full-strength squads with them.

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Kieran Trippier is likely to be in England's Euro 2024 squad

Southgate says the Australian friendlies are not ideal but part of the game

For all anyone knows, both sides may choose to leave behind those players called up for international duty to allow them time to rest before heading into an international tournament, but that thinking doesn't enter into people's thoughts when there's faux outrage to be peddled.

Gareth Southgate was inevitably asked about the clubs' decision to participate in these exhibition games, and while he said he doesn't feel they're ideal preparation for his players, he does see why they are necessary in the modern game. (via The Daily Mail)

"It (end-of-season friendlies) is going to happen more and more. Why? Financial fair play means clubs need to generate their own money, so we're in a bizarre world where there's more money in the game than ever before, and yet everyone is scrambling across federations and clubs to generate more.

"The normal way of doing that is to play more games - so is that great news for us, in terms of preparation? No.

"But we're going to have players in the FA Cup final (May 25) probably, the Champions League final (June 1) hopefully and a chance of a few other European finals, so we are used to preparing this way.

"We had to go to Qatar with five days prep, so we adjust to whatever it is and hope there are no injuries from that game (in Australia)."


It's a bizarre thing when we are worrying about injuries in a game or two in May when there are still so many games between now and then, including two meaningless international friendlies set to take place over the next week - where's the outrage about those?

Let's save the outrage for if the worst does happen and a key player picks up a knock in one of those games in Australia, or go back to focusing on the massive carbon footprint that the teams will be leaving behind, at least that's an unavoidable consequence.

We agree it's not ideal, traipsing to the other side of the globe for a kick-about, but as Southgate said, FFP has made stupid things like this necessary so the Premier League and the FA only have themselves to blame.