Southgate defends Manchester United pair following Mourinho criticism

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Gareth Southgate has leapt to the defence of Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling after Jose Mourinho appeared to suggest the Manchester United pair lacked commitment.

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The talented duo missed the Red Devils 3-1 win away at Swansea on Sunday through injury, but despite the victory an unhappy Mourinho questioned their desire to play through the pain barrier to help the team.

“For the team, you have to do anything,” he told the BBC.

“Smalling doesn’t feel that he can play 100% with his pain. Shaw told me this morning that he was not able to play.

“There is a difference between the brave, who want to play at any cost, and the ones for whom a little pain can make a difference.”

Speaking at his pre-Scotland press conference, however, Southgate refuted the Portuguese coach’s allegations completely when asked about the situation.

“That wouldn’t be my impression,” he responded.

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

Neither Smalling nor Shaw was included in the latest England squad for games against Scotland and Spain, with the Manchester United stars instead expected to undergo treatment on their respective injuries.

 

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