Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho has explained that he meant no offence by calling England boss Gareth Southgate ‘Gary’ – and simply thought it was a shortened version of the name.
Eyebrows were raised earlier in the week when Mourinho was discussing how much Southgate should make use of Harry Kane in England’s three upcoming fixtures.
“What I can promise to my friend Steve Holland and for Gary not to be jealous,” Mourinho said. “For my friend Gary, I can promise that until the end of the season I don’t play Harry Kane one minute of any friendly match.
Some suggested Mourinho was being deliberately disrespectful to Southgate in getting his name wrong, but speaking ahead of Tottenham’s game against Manchester United, Mourinho took the opportunity to set the record straight.
“I spoke already with Southgate but I want to tell the public,” he said. “When I said Gary Southgate I promise, and I promised to him, that I always thought, with so many years in England, I always thought that Gary was short for Gareth.
“I called him Gary and I apologised to him and I want to make that public because I only have respect for him. I thought I was being nice to him and in the end I was insulting him!
“So he can call me John if he wants and I will accept that.”
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Mourinho will be hoping his Spurs side can come out on top against his former club at Old Trafford and round off what has been a hectic but satisfactory week for the club.
Spurs recorded victories in the Carabao Cup and Europa League during the week, and will hope to go into the international break with another win in the Premier League.