Club rivalries have tested harmony among Gareth Southgate’s England squad but Harry Kane and Fabian Delph have come through intact.
Harry Kane has no hard feelings towards England team-mate Fabian Delph after the tackle that wrecked the end of his season.
Tottenham striker Kane suffered his latest ankle injury setback when he and Delph launched themselves into a robust challenge during Spurs’ 1-0 Champions League quarter-final first-leg win over Manchester City at the start of April.
The 25-year-old only returned to action in Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Liverpool in the final of the same competition, appearing understandably off the pace at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Delph exchanged cross words with Kane as the latter remained on the turf at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium but it was a different story afterwards, and two of Gareth Southgate’s most experienced performers are looking at the bigger picture as England prepare to take on the Netherlands in the Nations League Finals on Thursday.
“Me and Harry are really close. We’re in the leadership group here together and we’ve got a lot of time for each other,” Delph said.
“I mean, it was heat of the moment type thing, I wasn’t quite sure what had happened.
“I just felt his knee hit my knee and I landed on him. A lot was made about that challenge, whether I’d ‘done’ him or he’d ‘done’ me.
“I just think it’s part and parcel of football. I spoke with Harry straight after the game. I went into the changing room to see him and we had a conversation, wished each other well.”
Delph also faced a shorter time on the sidelines, giving him opportunity to poke fun at his international colleague’s frame.
“I think I was out for two weeks after that tackle… his big knee,” he joked.
“It was just an unfortunate collision where we both came out on the bad side of it.
“We spoke to each other, we’re good mates, and hopefully he’ll come back and be firing.”
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Liverpool and Tottenham account for seven members of Southgate’s squad, with Tuesday marking the first time all 23 players trained together as a group.
“Although from the outside it looks like ‘bloody hell, where is everyone?’ we’ve been working diligently,” Delph said, having played a fuller part in the preparations.
“We’ve been watching a lot of clips on Holland, we’ve been working hard in training, we know what we need to know. We know the systems that we might need to play or adapt to.
“Going into the game I think we’ll be totally fine. The guys that are in the Champions League, they’re exceptional players.”