Gareth Southgate waiting to see how Cristiano Ronaldo affects England plans

By James Robson

Gareth Southgate admits Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will determine how Cristiano Ronaldo impacts his England plans.

Ronaldo’s sensational return to Manchester United could have an effect on the playing time of Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Jesse Lingard this season.

But the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s arrival will also provide them with an up close and personal view of a player who has stayed at the summit of world football for the best part of two decades.

Premier League defenders will also be faced with the challenge of trying to stop one of the deadliest goal-scorers of all time.

Southgate said: “I think the league is full of outstanding players. The players are used to that level of competition and it is fantastic for them.

“We will have to see what happens at Manchester United - that’s for Ole to decide.

“We always have to pick up from club selections and the effects of fitness and form. We will see how it plays out.”

(The FA via Getty Images)

Raheem Sterling is one player who has managed shake off a difficult time at club level with Manchester City to remain a key figure for England.

The forward has been pushed to the fringes by Pep Guardiola - starting just once this season after failing to hold down a regular place in the second half of last term.

But Southgate insists Sterling has repaid all of the faith shown in him at national level.

“He’s a top player and he’s got the hunger not only to play well and perform well for the team, but to score goals,” said the England manager. ‘That progression has added so much to his game.

Jesse Lingard and Raheem Sterling during an England training session (AFP via Getty Images)

“I can’t speak highly enough of how he has been with us. We have always had faith and kept with him. It has been easy to that over the last few years because of numbers he’s hit and how he’s played for the team.”

England have no injury concerns ahead of their World Cup qualifier with Poland on Wednesday, but Tyrone Mings is suspended.


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