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I’d never put a player at risk – Lee Carsley answers Jurgen Klopp criticism

Curtis Jones File Photo
(Image credit: Joe Giddens)

Boss Lee Carsley insists he would never put his England Under-21 stars at risk after criticism from Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool manager Klopp was unhappy Curtis Jones returned to Anfield injured after international duty last month.

He questioned why Jones played 33 minutes against Andorra – where he set up Emile Smith Rowe’s winner after coming off the bench.

Jones had missed the Euro 2023 qualifying draw in Slovenia with a groin issue and aggravated it in the 1-0 win in Andorra.

He is missing this month’s games against the Czech Republic and Georgia with an eye injury and Carsley insisted there is no issue with Liverpool.

He said: “No, definitely not. One thing as a coach who has been around younger players and prides myself in developing players, I’d never put a player at risk injury-wise.

“It’s best for us they are playing for their clubs because it gives us a better case to push them forward to the seniors. Ultimately we want them playing for their first teams and our senior team.

“I’ve not spoken to Jurgen. Curtis made a key contribution in that game, coming on as a sub and setting up the goal which was a real important goal for us.

“He is a player I enjoy working with, he is very good in camp, he is good on and off the pitch. He is a player I look forward to working with in the future.

“He’s not involved in this squad, he got injured before the Champions League game (against Atletico Madrid), which is unfortunate for us because he is a key player.”

Carsley, though, has given Everton’s Anthony Gordon his first call-up to the Young Lions.

The 20-year-old is joined by Fleetwood defender James Hill, who has earned a surprise promotion from the Under-20s, while Morgan Gibbs-White, on loan at Sheffield United from Wolves, returns.

The midfielder was part of the Young Lions squad for the 2019 European Championship in Italy, while he also won the Under-17 World Cup.

Attacking midfielder Gordon has played 28 times for Everton since making his debut in 2017 and has made eight appearances this season.

Hill has made 15 appearances for Sky Bet League One Fleetwood this term and became the club’s youngest ever player when he made his debut at 16 in 2018.

Noni Madueke came off with a hamstring injury in PSV’s Europa League defeat to Monaco last month and misses out.

Carsley’s youngsters face the Czech Republic in a Euro 2023 qualifier in Burnley next week before travelling to Georgia for a friendly on November 16.

England are third in Group G, five points behind leaders the Czech Republic with a game in hand.

England Under-21 squad: Bursik (Stoke), Green (St Etienne), Griffiths (West Brom, on loan at Lincoln), Aarons (Norwich), Cresswell (Leeds), Guehi (Crystal Palace), Harwood-Bellis (Manchester City, on loan at Anderlecht), Livramento (Southampton), Hill (Fleetwood), Thomas (Leicester), Doyle (Manchester City, on loan at Hamburg), Gallagher (Chelsea, on loan at Crystal Palace), Garner (Manchester United, on loan at Nottingham Forest), Gibbs-White (Wolves, on loan at Sheffield United), Ramsey (Aston Villa), Skipp (Tottenham), Balogun (Arsenal), Brewster (Sheffield United), Gomes (Lille), Gordon (Everton), Palmer (Manchester City), Smith Rowe (Arsenal).