Southgate opens up on awkward chat with Jurgen Klopp about Joe Gomez injury

Gareth Southgate has opened up on the chat he had with Jurgen Klopp after Joe Gomez suffered an injury on England duty.

The Liverpool centre-back seriously injured his knee in a non-contact incident while training at St George's Park with his international team-mates.

There is no time frame yet on when Gomez is expected to return to action, amid fears the Englishman could be sidelined for months.

Southgate spoke to Liverpool boss Klopp after Gomez sustained the injury, and provided some insight on their conversation.

"I had a long chat with Jurgen, we're all worried about player welfare," Southgate told ITV.

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"To lose a player in the way we did – for us and Liverpool, but most importantly for the boy – was really tragic.

"I said to him, 'There needs to be a look at the calendar'. We've got to try and lessen the load as much as we can for the players."

When asked how Klopp reacted to the news, Southgate appeared to shrug his shoulders before adding: "Unfortunately the injury was so unique in how it happened, we know it was just a consequence of the number of games really.

"Wherever he had been, there is a chance that could have happened. So, we were on the same page. We think the welfare of the players is critical."

Southgate is in full agreement with Klopp – and the rest of the Premier League bosses who have spoken out on fixture congestion in recent months – that the current football calendar is too demanding on players.

The Three Lions boss recently took aim at football's authorities, saying: "I spoke about this right at the beginning of the season. With Joe [we have] a good example.

"We knew the load he has had in the last six weeks or so. We gave him and the other players who had been in European matches who played Sunday, an extra day's recovery.

"Yet still something like this has happened.

"There are lots of discussions about extra subs. But the bigger picture here is, everybody in the game needs to work together.

"There was an opportunity this year to think differently. The pandemic has thrown up all sorts of difficulties for people. But everybody has tried to cram the programme into a smaller period.

"We are going to see injuries. It's a desperately sad situation. When you see the impact on an individual, it hits home even more.

"A lot of these discussions should have happened in the summer.

"We could have adjusted the calendar in its entirety and all worked together. But people haven't done that."

Is the current football calendar too demanding on players? Have your say here.

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