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Wearing poppies important for England

Gareth Southgate

Southgate is in temporary charge for two more games, against Scotland and Spain

England manager Gareth Southgate says he wanted his side to wear poppies on their shirt against Scotland on Friday.

Players from both sides will defy a Fifa ban on wearing poppies on their armbands when they meet in a World Cup qualifier at Wembley on Armistice Day.

World governing body Fifa has banned symbols with “political, religious or commercial” meanings.

“The poppy commemorates a lot more than that, it is a history of what we are as a team,” said interim boss Southgate.

“It represents the team. It is a very important part of history and tradition of what we are as a nation, to have freedom of speech to make statements as we see fit, owes to those people who gave their lives in two wars.

“It was important that we can wear the armbands and it was great to get that resolved last week and for it not to be a distraction.”

Players have enough ‘British-type’ fixtures

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England versus Scotland used to be an annual fixture in the Home Internationals

Southgate expects another “fantastic atmosphere” when England and Scotland meet, but does not wish to see a return to regular fixtures between the two countries.

The annual Home Internationals, featuring England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, were abolished in 1984 and Southgate says his players already encounter enough “British-type” games in their respective leagues.

“I think both sides would like to test themselves against South American opposition, African opposition, other European countries,” he added.

“You need to give players that different type of experience.

“Where everything fits into place about fixture planning and playing different types of opposition, for Scotland and ourselves we get lots of British-type matches every week in our leagues.”

Walcott could ‘disappear’ but Wilshere welcomed back

Southgate has named a 25-man squad for the games against Scotland on Friday and Spain next Tuesday, 15 November.

Forward Theo Walcott’s wife is expecting their second child and Southgate is aware the Arsenal forward could “disappear at any time”, but Gunners midfielder Jack Wilshere has been recalled to the squad after making a successful start to his season-long loan at Bournemouth.

“There has never been any questioning his quality, I feel he is a player that can play at the highest level,” said Southgate.

Tottenham forward Harry Kane is also available after returning to first-team action on Sunday, but team-mate Dele Alli missed out because of injury.

“The first thing I have to do with Harry is check how he is,” added Southgate. “It is great to see him back scoring and back scoring and with a smile on his face.

“He [Alli] is a super player, I like him a lot and have worked with him since he was in the Under-18s. It is a shame for us for him to miss two matches with England.”

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