Southgate hopeful on Kane, Rashford fitness as England draw Belgium in Nations League

AMSTERDAM (AFP) – England can look forward to facing the world’s top-ranked side Belgium in the next UEFA Nations League later this year, but for now manager Gareth Southgate’s chief concerns surround the coronavirus outbreak and the fitness of forward duo Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford going into Euro 2020.

Tuesday’s draw for the next Nations League saw England – who finished third last year in the inaugural version of the competition – come out in a group with Belgium, Denmark and Iceland in League A.

Those matches will be played from September to November, with the four-team finals set for June 2021.

“We enjoyed the competition last time, and the quality of the fixtures again shows how exciting this could be,” Southgate said after Tuesday’s draw ceremony in Amsterdam.

England played Belgium twice at the 2018 World Cup, in the group stage and the third-place play-off, and lost both matches.

They are also due to host Denmark at Wembley in a friendly on March 31. However, there are currently worries that game – and the scheduled March 27 clash with Italy – might be postponed or played behind closed doors if required to contain the coronavirus outbreak which has already caused the postponement of numerous sporting events worldwide.