Soccer-I commit a crime every time I pick a team, says Southgate


FILE PHOTO-Soccer Football - World Cup - UEFA Qualifiers - England Training - Tottenham Hotspur Training Ground, London, Britain - October 11, 2021 England manager Gareth Southgate during training Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

(Reuters) - England manager Gareth Southgate said the strong competition for places in his squad gives him a selection headache every time he picks a team, as he prepares to field a heavily rotated side for Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Hungary.

Southgate also praised England's performance after they eased to a 5-0 victory over Andorra on Saturday and moved a step closer to guaranteeing their spot in next year's World Cup finals in Qatar.

England, top of Group I with 19 points from seven games, will take on fourth-placed Hungary at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday.

"There will be changes. We've got a very strong squad, and we want the squad to feel involved. It is important they know their value and can contribute," Southgate told a news conference on Monday.

"I have a headache and commit a crime every time I pick a team. We have such strong competition for places; there were lots of players who did their own confidence and reputation the world of good the other day and that is pleasing to see.

"It wasn't a friendly (against Andorra) the other night, there were qualification points at stake and I was really pleased with the quality of the performance as well as the application."

Southgate said the Nations League showcased the high standard of international games during major tournaments but expressed reservations about adding more matches to the calendar in the form of FIFA's proposed biennial World Cup.

"I don't know how far things have progressed. There seemed to be a lot of things not in the original proposal I was shown, it is hard to keep track," Southgate said.

"We all want high level games, the Nations League showed the quality and that is exactly what we want to be involved in. But you can't keep just adding to the calendar."

(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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