Southgate welcomes Nations League

24 January 2018 12:55:27 EST

England boss Gareth Southgate has welcomed the new UEFA Nations League tournament and believes England can benefit from it.

The new tournament begins in September with the draw pairing England with Spain and Croatia.

The whole concept of this tournament is that you play high-quality matches and competitive matches.

Gareth Southgate

They are in League A with the four leagues having promotion and relegation and the new competition will largely replace international friendlies in a bid to give teams more competitive matches.

Southgate, present at the draw in Switzerland, welcomed the new concept, though he acknowledged it was a tough draw for England.

He told Sky Sports: "The whole concept of this tournament is that you play high-quality matches and competitive matches, so that criteria is fulfilled with the group that we're in.

"In particular Croatia we haven't played for a little while so we're looking forward to that and of course Spain, one of the best teams in the world. It's good to test ourselves in these games."

Southgate also commented on Jack Wilshere who, after a frustrating time with Arsenal, is now back as a regular starter, giving him renewed hope of making the England squad for this summer's World Cup in Russia.

"It's a real plus to see him playing as well as he is and playing regularly. He is a player who nobody has ever questioned the quality that he has," he added.

"That's great because we want our best players to be available and in good form."

In Russia England have been placed in a group with Belgium, Panama and Tunisia. They are 22/1 to exit the competition at the group stages while they are 2/1 to be defeated in the quarter-finals.

Harry Kane is 1/500 to be the tournament's leading goalscorer.

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