Gareth Southgate says it is “embarrassing” for the whole country that the clash between England and Italy has to be played behind closed doors at Molineux on Saturday.
The Three Lions are set to play back-to-back games at Wolves’ home ground – but the first one will have very few supporters present as punishment for the fan mess at the Euro 2020 final.
After opening their Nations League campaign with a shock 1-0 defeat in Hungary and a hard-fought 1-1 draw in Germany, Southgate’s side will play a repeat of that final at Wembley.
But it will be played in front of empty stands except for a few thousand local schoolchildren.
The Football Association is to hold the game behind closed doors as part of UEFA’s punishment for the troubles that marred the Euro 2020 final, with a number of ticketless fans forcing their way into Wembley 11 months ago.
“Well, if it’s embarrassing, it’s really for England as a country,” England boss Southgate said of the punishment.
“A lot of the people who caused the problems, I’m not sure, were football fans, but we’ve talked about that enough.
“We spoke after the final, we spoke when the punishment was first given.”
Most Read Football
Man United confident on De Jong, Nunez close to Liverpool, Chelsea eyes Sterling
Tottenham are close to signing Middlesbrough defender Spence for £20million
Hummels wears Spurs shirt with surprise name as he jokes about ‘wild’ transfer
Everton lose £80m of talent for nothing with Jonjoe Kenny among exit list
‘Prime Welbeck was better than Rashford’ – Wilshere and Bent spark heated debate
Raheem Sterling tipped for shock return to Liverpool if he leaves Man City
Southgate will rotate their roster against Italy as they seek to balance the player load after a turbulent domestic season.
Full-back James Justin is back in contention after a knock kept him out of the match against Germany, which Kalvin Phillips limped off early after sustaining a collision injury.
As a result, the midfielder was unable to train on the eve of the match and looks set to miss the game against Italy, as does Phil Foden as he speeds up his return from Covid-19.
“We are still evaluating Foden,” said Southgate, who allowed Trent Alexander-Arnold to leave the side after the two away games.
“He joined training this morning so he is improving but not as fast as we would like.
“So there is still some doubt whether he will be involved in either game. Kalvin hasn’t trained with the squad and he will be uncertain for tomorrow.
Offer of the day
888Sport – Get 8/1 England to win OR 28/1 Italy to win (max bet £5)* – CLAIM HERE
Deposit at least £/$/€10 using promo code 888ODDS • Bet up to £/$/€5 on your selection at normal regular market odds • If your selection wins, we’ll pay you the normal price and any additional winnings from the advertised enhanced prize will be paid out to you as free bets • Free bets are awarded within 72 hours and expire after 7 days • Free bet stakes are not included in returns • Deposit balance is available for withdraw anytime • Restrictions apply to withdrawals, payment methods and countries and full terms and conditions apply 18+ begambleaware.org