Sunday 22 September 2019

Losing Saints stars to international duty can be a 'blow' - Mauricio Pellegrino

Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino is preparing for another international break
Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino is preparing for another international break

Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino has described it as a "blow" when his players are called up for international duty.

Saints full-back Ryan Bertrand was on Thursday named in England's squad for the upcoming friendlies against Germany and Brazil, while Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate opted to leave out Fraser Forster, James Ward-Prowse and Nathan Redmond.

Pellegrino could also lose a number of other key players for the forthcoming international break, including Northern Ireland midfielder Steven Davis, Dutch defenders Virgil van Dijk and Wesley Hoedt, Serbian winger Dusan Tadic, Republic of Ireland forward Shane Long and Italy striker Manolo Gabbiadini.

While the Argentinian coach accepts international football is good for his players' careers, he would prefer for them to remain at home and work on the training ground.

"For me, obviously it's a double feeling because when most of them are in the national team it's really good for them, really bad for me, to be honest, because 50 per cent, 60 per cent of the squad is away," Pellegrino said.

"It's a blow. Waiting for them and expecting everybody to come back healthy and be ready for the club."

Saints goalkeeper Forster, who has six caps for his country, was one of the notable absentees from Southgate's latest squad, with Joe Hart, Jack Butland and Jordan Pickford the preferred choices.

Pellegrino admitted the omission was a setback for the 29-year-old but believes disappointment is part of life.

When asked about Forster's situation, Pellegrino, whose side face Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday, replied: "I think we have got English players that can be in the national team.

"I have to respect the opinion of the manager. He knows better than me how they are in the competition in the squad.

"Fraser has got huge competition in this place and in the football life you are up and down all the time and we have to respect that."

PA Media

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