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Harry Kane ready to put club tribalism aside for Nations League glory

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No rest for England’s best as they move straight into international competition.

England v Croatia - UEFA Nations League A Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur’s club season is now over, but for England’s national team stars that doesn’t mean they get to rest quite yet. Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Danny Rose, and Eric Dier all head to international duty with Gareth Southgate’s England squad as they prepare to play in the Nations League semifinals this week. Spurs’ players should arrive tonight or early tomorrow to England training camp.

The Three Lions play the Netherlands this Wednesday in Portugal for a chance to play in the finals, lift an international trophy, and automatically qualify for EURO 2020 next summer.

The four Tottenham players will be joining three players from Liverpool — Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, and Jordan Henderson — and you’d think that it might be difficult after losing the Champions League final just two days prior not to feel some resentment towards those players who got to lift the biggest trophy in club football. But England skipper Kane says that’s not so.

“We’ve got such a great bond and, although we’re at different clubs, when we come here everyone’s fully focused on here. You don’t have to talk to people about switching off from club football. Everyone just naturally does it and I think the fact we’ve played with each other in club sides and younger England sides (means) we’re all good friends.

“Whether you’re at Spurs or (Manchester) City or Liverpool, we’ve known each other long enough that we’ve become mates. When you come here, you just look forward to meeting up and being friends.”

This dynamic isn’t unusual in the national team of any country — players from Real Madrid and Barcelona have to come together to play for Spain, and it’s the same in France, Argentina, or any major football country. It’s just that the feelings are still pretty raw for Tottenham’s Champions League runners up. But Kane says that everyone will be able to switch their focus to winning the first major international trophy for England since the World Cup in 1966, and he’s not at all worried about camaraderie.

“It’s a new tournament, but it’s still a chance to win a trophy in an England shirt, and 1966 was a long time ago. We’re going to try and take full advantage.

“We all want to win trophies and have the experience of sharing that with the group and the fans, so it’s a huge incentive. The fans are going to be out in numbers and hopefully be part of history. You want to bring that joy to people – as a footballer that’s what you want to be a part of.

“I think if we go on and win, it will be another stepping stone to go on to achieve big things in the future. Winning trophies breeds that mentality to go on to do more and more, so it’s a chance for us to start early and try to achieve that.”

Should England defeat the Netherlands on Wednesday they will play the winner of Portugal and Switzerland on Sunday, June 9.