Ryan Bertrand says England boss Gareth Southgate's comments were not meant in a bad sense
By Dev Trehan
Last Updated: 02/10/17 8:27pm
Ryan Bertrand believes England's players will be motivated by Gareth Southgate's recent comments that some of them may not warrant a place in his squad.
After naming his 26-man party for the World Cup qualifying double-header against Slovenia and Lithuania, England boss Southgate bemoaned the fact that a number of key players have been forced to miss out due to injury.
Danny Rose, Adam Lallana, Danny Welbeck and Jamie Vardy are all unavailable, and Southgate said there are one or two players in his squad "who haven't necessarily warranted it on their performances".
But Bertrand says there has been not been a negative response from the squad to Southgate's remarks, insisting the players will be hungrier than ever to take their opportunity if they get a chance to play.
He said: "I have seen no real reaction. I am not sure what sense it was meant, I am sure it wasn't meant in a bad sense.
"It will definitely [motivate the players in the squad]. I think here we have a fantastic competition for places and it can only mean good for the squad. So every chance people will get they'll be sure to take it."
With two matches remaining, England are five points clear at the top Group F ahead of the qualifying double-header but Bertrand insists the team still have plenty of hard work to do and are targeting maximum points from both games.
"It's not over, we are very much of a positive mindset," he said. "The work isn't finished and we will try to get the six points.
"All games internationally are tough. Slovenia will need the points but we need points as well."
Bertrand wants to get the job done at Wembley rather than waiting to go to Lithuania.
"For me personally, with a fan's head on, it would be nice to qualify in front of our fans, but we still have work to do."