Gareth Southgate. Picture: BACKPAGE PIX/JOHN SIBLEY
Gareth Southgate. Picture: BACKPAGE PIX/JOHN SIBLEY

London — England manager Gareth Southgate insists he will not accept burnout as an excuse should the country suffer a familiar World Cup flop in Russia in 2018.

England are on the brink of wrapping up their place at the 2018 finals and face Slovenia on Thursday and Lithuania on October 8 in their concluding Group F qualifiers.

Former England football bosses Fabio Capello and Sven-Goran Eriksson blamed fatigue for tournament failures.

"I’m not a huge believer in burnout," said Southgate who appeared 57 times for England as a central defender during his playing career, from 1995 to 2004. "I think there’s mental fatigue, but physically, it’s about getting the right level of training, the appropriate stimulus to make sure people are ready."

Key to England’s hopes in Russia, should they qualify, will be Tottenham’s prolific striker Harry Kane who hit 13 goals in all competitions in September.

However, at Euro 2016, where England were humiliated by Iceland in the last-16, Kane struggled after a long season with Tottenham.

"We should have enough expertise to get to the best possible level. There needs to be some mental switch-off at the end of the season, but the danger is that you tail off too much and can’t get back," Southgate said.

Kane has 10 goals in 21 appearances for his country, but Southgate insisted there will not be an overreliance on him, despite the team being without five-goal Jamie Vardy.

"I never go into games thinking ‘I’m not sure where our goals are going to come from’," said the England boss.


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