Gareth Southgate hopes for Premier League help to aid World Cup preparations

Gareth Southgate hopes the Premier League keeps England’s World Cup preparations in mind when deciding next season’s fixtures.

ESPN recently reported that the Football Association has submitted a formal request to the league requesting that no match between the so-called big six takes place on the weekend of November 12/13.

England are scheduled to fly to Qatar on November 15 ahead of their opening match against Iran on November 21, before completing Group B against the United States and neighbours Wales.

The Premier League reveal their fixture schedule for the 2022/23 season on Thursday and Three Lions boss Southgate hopes they have considered the request to help deal with the rapid turnaround.

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“We have asked the Premier League to have a think about things but we also understand that they’ve got a lot of (things to consider),” he said.

“The fixture programme is very complicated you can’t have Manchester City the same weekend as Manchester United (at home) and so there’s all of those variations that we recognise are tough.

“We’d have a preference for none of those big games but to be honest the difference it’s going to make is fairly marginal.

We’d be stupid not to ask the question if it could make a difference

“It could help us with perhaps a medical report if a team played Saturday it would give us an extra day to assess.

“Because we’re going to have to meet on the Monday and fly on the Tuesday and we’re going to have to make really quick decisions on medical situations in particular.

“So that’s the only thing that we’re looking at that might help us but we understand the landscape. We’d be stupid not to ask the question if it could make a difference.”

Southgate says “information sharing is pretty good medically” and the FA receives performance data from the Premier League, giving England “some markers” to aid selection calls.

  • November 21 – Iran
  • November 25 – United States
  • November 29 – Wales

There is, though, “a bit of an element of the unknown in that period” as clubs that have big matches may want to keep information close to their chest.

England now only have three fixtures before the World Cup, with Tuesday’s Molineux encounter against Hungary followed by the trip to Italy and home match against Germany as the Nations League concludes in September.

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Asked if there would be a meeting before the World Cup, Southgate said: “Well, no, because there’s going to be midweek fixtures every week whether that’s a couple of League Cup weeks but definitely six European weeks and midweeks with Premier League games so you just won’t be able to.

“I’ve got to bear in mind the load for the players and to drag them for a meeting probably wouldn’t achieve very much and would actually end up being detrimental rather than anything else.”

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