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Euro 2020 qualifiers: Club rivalries will not split England camp, says Harry Kane

Several of Gareth Southgate's players are competing for trophies at club level

England captain Harry Kane says all the players in Gareth Southgate's squad are united '100 per cent'. Reuters
England captain Harry Kane says all the players in Gareth Southgate's squad are united '100 per cent'. Reuters

England's team spirit under manager Gareth Southgate has helped players from competing clubs to set aside their rivalries when they report for national duty, according to captain Harry Kane.

England begin their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign against Czech Republic on Friday at Wembley Stadium and visit Montenegro three days later, with several of Southgate's players competing for trophies at club level.

Club rivalries have contributed to England's failure to perform at major tournaments in the past, with former players Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard revealing how factions had formed when players reported for England duty.

"We've heard about things happening in the past - people sitting on different tables and teams being divided," Tottenham Hotspur striker Kane told reporters.

"We put that to one side and even with Liverpool and [Manchester] City boys when we are here it is 100 per cent England. That has been part of our success."

City and Liverpool are in a race for the Premier League title and are two of four English clubs in the quarter-finals of this season's Champions League alongside Manchester United and Tottenham.

"I'm sure when we go back [to the clubs] there'll be plenty of text messages and group messages flying about," Kane added. "We have got a great bond here and at the end of the day we're all good friends whether we play for one club or another.

"When we are back at our clubs it is 100 per cent about winning but we have that respect for each other so we can talk to each other and be friends."

Tom Heaton meanwhile said he is more interested in Jordan Pickford's outstanding international performances than his club troubles, although the Burnley goalkeeper's determination to usurp him as England No 1 is clear.

Having gone to Euro 2016 and established himself as part of the England squad, Heaton's World Cup hopes were derailed at the start of the 2017/18 season by a nasty shoulder injury.

The 32 year old watched on as Burnley understudy Nick Pope broke into the England set-up and capped a fine season by heading to Russia, with club competition then increased by Joe Hart's summer arrival.

It meant that the former Manchester United youth prospect had to bide his time on the sidelines, although his impressive return to the fold at Turf Moor brought an international recall for this month's Euro 2020 qualifiers.

EURO-2020
EURO-2020

Heaton's return to the England squad comes with arguably the first calls for him to be England's No 1, thanks to Pickford's recent wobbles.

The Everton goalkeeper's penalty shoot-out heroics against Colombia capped a fine all-round tournament, but the 25 year old's recent form has been questionable with the Toffees.

"I think he's been outstanding wearing the England shirt," Heaton said. "I thought he was incredible in the summer in the World Cup.

"I think his performances were really top drawer and it's never an easy thing to do, putting the England goalkeeper jersey on, and I think he did it superbly well.

"We're here, we compete for the place. Of course, everyone wants to play. Try and get your things right and see what the manager decides."

Put to Heaton that Pickford's drop in form could offer him an opportunity, he said: "I don't tend to look at it like that, to be honest. I have to say.

"I think, for me, it's about myself, what I do, what each individual does.

"Jordan's performances have been outstanding for England and that's where it's at.

"I try not to look at anyone else, as ever the thinking is on myself and we'll see what happens.

"We've got a few days training. You obviously try and perform, and try to impress the manager, and see what decision he makes."

Updated: March 20, 2019 12:51 PM

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