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Southgate says faith in players influenced by Eddie Jones

MILAN (AP) – England coach Gareth Southgate is taking inspiration from his rugby counterpart, Eddie Jones, by continuing to pick valued players even if they are not regularly competing at the highest level.

In his book entitled Leadership: Lessons from my Life in Rugby, Jones wrote about how he selected players from English champion Saracens – like star flyhalf Owen Farrell – despite the team’s relegation to the second tier at the end of the 2019-20 season following salary-cap breaches.

Southgate likens that to the situation he finds himself in two months out from the World Cup, with players like Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell retaining their places in the England squad despite limited game time in the English Premier League this season.

Maguire and Shaw were regulars for England in its run to the European Championship final last year.

Referring to Jones’ book and the selection of Saracens players, Southgate said, “Even on reflection, he felt they were his best players and although they were undercooked, they were still going to be better than players that weren’t at the level. So I don’t think there are many players that aren’t here now that are at the level yet to go in and play.”

England manager Gareth Southgate leads a training session. PHOTO: AP
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