José Mourinho is strongly against Gareth Southgate’s plan to start Harry Kane for England in the Nations League tie with Denmark on Wednesday night and has communicated his concerns to the national setup.
The Tottenham manager had urged his England counterpart to handle Kane with care during the international window, given his high workload in the season so far, and the situation became more delicate when the striker felt an issue with his thigh last week.
Related: England’s class of 2018 return favour as Southgate looks back to go forward | David Hytner
Southgate has said Kane is not injured, rather he began to suffer from “muscle fatigue” last Wednesday when he started to train with England, having been given the Monday and Tuesday off. The Football Association sent him for a scan and there has been regular dialogue between their medics and those at Spurs.
Kane was never going to feature last Thursday in the against Wales, which England won 3-0 and, because he was unable to train fully, he was used only as a 66th-minute substitute in the 2-1 Nations League victory against Belgium on Sunday.
But now club and country are on a collision course, with Southgate wanting to start Kane against Denmark. Spurs argue that the fact Kane was sent for a scan shows the FA is worried that the player is carrying something, and they also know he will always turn out when asked to do so. The club blame the FA in part for the number of games Kane has already played this season. Before Belgium he had played 10 in 29 days – eight of them as a starter.
“Medically, there’s been conversations [with Spurs],” Southgate said. “He started to train on the Wednesday, was a little unhappy with how he felt, so then worked with our medical team the next couple of days. We scanned just to be certain but it’s a muscular fatigue issue rather than an injury so it just needed a bit more confidence.
“He knew by then he could push on a little bit but he just needed a bit more confidence in it and so his training week really wasn’t suitable to start [against Belgium]. I think he’ll have gained more confidence from the spell he had [as a substitute] and so, all being well, we hope he’ll be good to start on Wednesday.”