Crisis In Burkina Faso Army As Gunshots Heard Near Presidency

Burkina Faso soldiers are seen deployed in Ouagadougou on September 30, 2022. Photo by Olympia DE MAISMONT / AFP)

 

Shots rang out before dawn on Friday around Burkina Faso’s presidential palace and headquarters of the military junta, which itself seized power in a coup last January, witnesses told AFP.

The government said the developing situation was linked to an “internal crisis in the army”, after AFP journalists saw troops block several main roads in the capital Ouagadougou.

Government spokesman Lionel Bilgo told AFP that “talks are continuing to try to reach a settlement without trouble.”

During the morning more shots were heard by an AFP video journalist in the Ouaga 2000 neighbourhood that houses both the presidential and military junta headquarters.

“I heard heavy detonations around 4:30 am (0430 GMT) and now the roads around my home have been sealed off by military vehicles,” said a resident who lives close to the presidential palace.

Bilgo said the “crisis” was based on claims related to salaries, and that junta leader Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba was taking part in discussions with the men.

A government source had earlier confirmed that Damiba was “in a safe place”.

The state television was cut for several hours, broadcasting a blank screen for several hours saying: “no video signal”.

A second government source said, “The negotiations are continuing… the soldiers are maintaining pressure through their presence at strategic points they occupied this morning” in the capital.

Soldiers were seen at the city’s main crossroads, especially in Ouaga 2000 but also outside the state television centre, an AFP journalist said.

In Brussels, the EU voiced “concern” at events in the Burkina capital.

“A military movement was observed from 04:30 this morning. The situation still remains particularly confused,” said spokeswoman Nabila Massrali.

– Rein in jihadists –

Violence has long wracked the landlocked west African country where Damiba took power in a January coup, ousting elected leader Roch Marc Christian Kabore.

Damiba has pledged to restore civilian rule within two years and to defeat the armed factions.

As in bordering countries, insurgents affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group have stoked the unrest.

Damiba earlier this month sacked his defence minister and assumed the role himself.

The mini-shuffle, the first since the appointment of a transitional government in March, saw only one new minister introduced — Colonel-Major Silas Keita was named minister delegate in charge of national defence and promoted to brigadier general.

Thousands have died and about two million have been displaced by the fighting since 2015 when the insurgency spread into Burkina Faso, which has since become the epicentre of the violence across the Sahel.

Attacks have increased since the start of the year, despite the junta’s vow to make security its top priority.

– Bloody September –

September has been particularly bloody.

On Monday, suspected jihadists attacked a convoy carrying supplies to the town of Djibo in the north of the country. The government said 11 soldiers were killed and around 50 civilians were missing.

On September 5 an improvised explosive device struck a supply convoy in the north killing 35 civilians dead and wounding 37.

In June, 86 civilians died in a massacre at Seytenga, near the border with Niger.

More than 40 percent of Burkina Faso, a former French colony, is outside government control.

Much of the impoverished Sahel region is battling the insurgency.

Starting in northern Mali in 2012, the insurgents attacked neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger in 2015. The violence has in recent years begun to spill over into coastal states Ivory Coast, Togo and Benin.

“The deteriorating security situation in Burkina Faso and Mali has made the north of the coastal countries the new front line against armed groups operating in the Sahel,” the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, a German think tank, said in a report in April.

French forces supported Mali against insurgents for nearly a decade, but President Emmanuel Macron decided to pull out after falling out with the Malian junta  in the wake of two military coups since 2020.

The last French troops from operation Barkhane left last month. Despite the exit from Mali, Macron insists Paris remains committed to the “fight against terrorism” in West Africa.

AFP

Nigerian Political Elites Not Committed To Following Rules Of The Game – Kukah

 

Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Matthew Kukah, has blasted Nigeria’s political elites, saying they have shown no commitment to the rules of the game.

Bishop Kukah made this known on Channels Television’s, Sunrise Daily on Friday, where he called for political office holders to show accountability and display sportsmanship in accepting electoral results.

“The truth of the matter is that the Nigerian political elites have shown no commitment to the rules of the game of politics; they are too many people who just see politics as a transaction just imagine an entry fee of 100 million Naira to be able to buy a form,” he said.

“Imagine the huge amount of money that people are asked to pay; it is just like going to watch a match or going to the nightclub. If you charge that much fee, what are you going to expect when you enter the hall. We are now hearing stories of the problem of vote buying and so on.”

The 70-year-old prelate believes the country’s democracy was below par as compared to other African nations.

“The quality of our democracy does not meet even local standards. That is the truth of the matter. We are operating in a very convoluted matter,” he said.

“Kenya, for example, has made a lot of mistakes, and guess what? Kenya already has had five or so presidents since December 13th, 1963. Jomo Kenyatta was prime minister for one year. Then, he became president but transported that to Nigeria.

“So, we don’t even have that sequence of that conversation. The point is that in every sense of the world very few African countries have such a checkered past as Nigeria has the series of military coups, the distortion of the political environment, the lack of commitment to law and due process, and the inability of this country having a very steady national assembly, “Kukah affirmed.

Kukah was a co-organiser of a peace accord signed by presidential candidates alongside the former Head of State General Abdulsalami Abubakar under the auspices of the National Peace Committee

Asked about the consequence of the accord, Kukah detailed that they will not just be mere witnesses but take up active roles in demonstrating its authenticity

“So they are more than just witnesses, they are penning their signatures is their affirmation of the commitment of all their parties apparatus to submit to the principles that have been laid down,” he added.

“The presidential candidates themselves had to sign, and that is why if you notice yesterday, it was the chairman of the APC that signed because Asiwaju was not present and of course, there were three other parties that didn’t show up for all kinds of reasons.

“Sometimes, people start up all these things, and then at the end of the day either they lose steam or then step out, but you know on balance we had 15 presidential aspirants that showed up and everybody appended their signatures it is really to give it a sense of validation.”

 

 

 

 

 

New Leaders Set To Emerge As NFF Congress Begins In Benin

Giwa Takes Control Of NFF As Dalung Asks Pinnick To Obey Court Order
A logo of the NFF.

 

The 78th Annual General Assembly and elective congress of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) are ongoing in Benin city, the Edo State capital.

The event was nearly stopped by a court ruling but an Appeal Court on Thursday paved the way for the elections to go ahead as earlier scheduled.

READ ALSO: [NFF Elections] FG Asks Stakeholders To Abide By Court Order

Ten candidates including NFF’s first vice president, Seyi Akinwunmi; former international, Peterside Idah, are in the race to succeed incumbent, Amaju Melvin Pinnick.

Also in attendance for the event are FIFA’s Head of Development Programmes for Africa and former Swiss international, Gelson Fernandes.

UK’s Royal Mint Reveals Coin Portrait Of King Charles III

A photo of the coin featuring King Charles III

 

Britain’s Royal Mint on Friday unveiled the official effigy of King Charles III that will appear on coins following his accession to the throne.

The effigy is the work of British sculptor Martin Jennings and was personally approved by the new king.

The first coins bearing the king’s portrait will be a special £5 coin and a 50 pence coin commemorating the life of Queen Elizabeth II.

Jennings said his portrait was sculpted from a photograph of the Charles.

“It is the smallest work I have created, but it is humbling to know it will be seen and held by people around the world for centuries to come,” he said.

In line with royal tradition, Charles’s portrait faces to the left, the opposite direction to his late mother.

A Latin inscription surrounding the effigy translates as “King Charles III, by the Grace of God, Defender of the Faith”.

The image of Charles will begin to appear on coins in circulation and on commemorative pieces in the coming months, the Royal Mint said in a statement.

Two new portraits of Elizabeth will feature on the reverse of the commemorative five pound coin.

The Royal Mint has been responsible for depicting monarchs on coins for over 1,100 years since Alfred the Great.

Elizabeth died on September 8 following a record-breaking 70 years on the throne.

Kevin Clancy, director of the Royal Mint Museum, said late queen had appeared on more coins than any other British monarch.

“Over the coming years it will become common for people to find coins bearing His Majesty and Queen Elizabeth II’s effigy in their change,” he said.

The Royal Mint said historically it had been commonplace for coins featuring the effigies of different monarchs to co-circulate.

“This ensures a smooth transition, with minimal environmental impact and cost.”

There are currently around 27 billion coins circulating in the UK bearing the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II.

“These will be replaced over time as they become damaged or worn and to meet demand for additional coins,” the Royal Mint added.

AFP

Trevor Noah To Exit Hosting ‘The Daily Show’ After 7 Years

A photo of Trevor Noah at the 74th Emmy Awards

 

Comedian and Daily Show host, Trevor Noah is set to leave the satirical news program after hosting it for seven years.

He made the announcement on Thursday, with a video on the show’s Twitter handle.

“My time is up,” the 38-year-old said.

“It’s been absolutely amazing. It’s something that I never expected,” he said of his experience hosting the show. “I found myself thinking throughout the time of everything we’ve gone through. The Trump presidency, the pandemic, just the journey, more pandemic and I realize that after the seven years, my time is up.”

The South African comedian said he missed travelling after being grounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I spent two years in my apartment, not on the road,” he said.

“I realized there’s another part of my life that I want to carry on exploring.”

The show rose to prominence under former host Jon Stewart, who hosted the show for 16 years before leaving in 2015.

It came as a surprise to many when relatively unknown Noah was announced as Stewart’s replacement.

There have been no indications of who will take over from Noah.

“With no timetable for his departure, we’re working together on next steps,” said Paramount Global cable network, which owns the Comedy Central show, in a statement to US media.

“We are grateful to Trevor for our amazing partnership over the past seven years. As we look ahead, we’re excited for the next chapter in the 25+ year history of The Daily Show as it continues to redefine culture through sharp and hilarious social commentary, helping audiences make sense of the world around them,”

Noah detailed his upbringing in apartheid-era South Africa as the son of a black South African mother and a white Swiss-German father in “Born a Crime, his 2016 best-selling memoir.

He expressed his gratitude to his viewers, “The Daily Show” team and to Comedy Central, “who believed in this random comedian nobody knew on this side of the world.”

“I’ve loved hosting this show, it’s been one of my greatest challenges and one of my greatest joys,” Noah said.

The Comedian, writer and producer has won various awards including the Primetime Emmy award.

SABER: World Bank Approves $750m For Nigeria

This file photo was taken on May 20, 2021, at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, DC. The World Bank said on October 21, 2021,

 

The World Bank has approved the release of 750 million dollars International Development Association (IDA) credit to the Nigeria State Action on Business Enabling Reforms (SABER) Program-for-Results.

This was announced in a statement that was released by the World Bank on Thursday.

The fund is supposed to help Nigeria accelerate the implementation of critical actions that will improve the business-enabling environment in states.

“Nigeria has made progress in advancing reforms to eliminate constraints in the business environment, especially through actions driven by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC),” the statement read.

The world bank stated that even though Nigeria has not been able to attract both domestic and foreign investments, it is able to catalyze private investments.

“However, Nigeria’s ability to attract domestic and foreign investment remains low compared to its peers. Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are capable to catalyze private investment but vary significantly in their efforts and ability to do so,” the statement added.

“It aims to strengthen the existing PEBEC-National Economic Council subnational interventions by adding incentives, namely results-based financing to the states, and the delivery of wholesale technical assistance–available to all states–to support gaps in reform implementation.”

“Following the significant progress made by states on fiscal reforms through the State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) program, the SABER program endeavors to offer similar support to the states to undertake critical business-enabling policy and institutional actions that will incentive private sector development,” said Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria.

“Private sector investments remain the major vehicle to create more jobs, increase revenues to the states and improve social and economic outcomes for citizens.”

“Overall, the SABER program looks to consolidate and deepen business enabling environment reforms across more states,” said Bertine Kamphuis, Task Team Leader for SABER.

“The use of the Program-for-Results model, which ensures disbursement of funds after achieving results, helps the government in strengthening its own program by incentivizing institutional performance at the state level through results-based financing. States will be responsible for achieving the program results and thus will be leading the implementation of the program.”

Anthill Studios’ Animated Web Series ‘League Of Orisha’s’ Receives Rave Reviews

A photo of the Animations cover

 

Nigerian film and animation production facility, Anthill studios recently streamed web animated series “League of Orishas” has been garnering positive reviews from audiences across social media. 

The first episode which aired on the 11th of September already has over 15 thousand views.

The series is said to explore the story behind this fantasy world and all its colourful characters. Inspired by various west African mythologies, and set in a time when gods, supernatural beings, humans and strange beasts all co-existed on the face of the earth.

Created by Nigerian filmmaker Niyi Akinmolayan and Nigerian Animator Eri Umusu, the short episode has had a lot of positive reviews from those who have watched it.

The episode was praised by audiences on Twitter.

Some tweets read;

“Just watched ‘league of orishas’ a Yoruba cartoon series by anthill studios and I’m impressed, It’s very short tho but it’s a big step for Nigerian animation in the future”

A particular Twitter user said the series was good enough to be on Netflix or Showmax.

“This series is so good, it should be on Netflix or Showmax,” the tweet read.

Another user praised the soundtrack for its feel.

“Incredible storytelling, an amazing soundtrack that would make you feel like you were there live with the ancient children of Olodumare,” she said.

Anthill studios have produced other animated series, including a short campaign for UNICEF titled Lara and friends. They have also produced movies including Elevator baby, and The man for the job among others.

Early this year, Anthill studios and Amazon Prime video signed an exclusive multi-year worldwide license arrangement.

Making Prime Video the official global streaming home for Anthill’s slate of films after they have completed their theatrical runs in Nigeria.

Burna Boy Drops Visuals For ‘Its Plenty’

A screen grab of Burna Boy’s ‘It’s Plenty’.

 

 

Nigerian Artiste, Burna Boy, has released the video of ‘Its Plenty’ the 9th track off of his sixth studio album, Love, Damini.

The visuals were released on Tuesday and was announced via The African Giant’s Twitter handle.

The video was directed by Troy Roscoe who is a film director from the UK. He garnered over 200 million views by creating visuals for some contemporary cultures.

It starts with scenes from a range of festival stages he rocked this year and brings to perspective his star power with the massive crowds he pulls wherever he goes.

The star’s birthday celebrations seem to have continued well into the year, as Burna’s global success Love, Damini was released a week after his 31st birthday this year, and birthday cakes and candles were sprinkled throughout the music video which seems to be an ongoing celebration.

Burna can be seen partying alongside his team members, as well as handing out sweet treats to fans and supporters from his “It’s Plenty Ice Cream” truck.

The 3 minutes and 55 seconds video already has over 1.5 million views on the artiste’s YouTube page, showing different clips of Burna Boy at different concerts with his fans and also cameos Canadian rapper and singer Drake.

 

 

The album which was released on the 8th of July has for the past 12 weeks been among the top 15 albums in the Worldwide apple music album chart, and has hit over 200 million streams on Boomplay and Spotify each.

The song has received a lot of positive reactions from the musician’s fans all over the world.

 

 

FIFA Ends Video Game Partnership With EA Sports After 30 Years

Fifa 2023 logo

 

One of the biggest franchises in video game history is coming to an end on Friday with the release of FIFA 23, the final installment of a football game that has entranced millions of fans for the past three decades.

US game maker Electronic Arts (EA) and global football body FIFA spent months negotiating over the licensing agreement that has underpinned the game since its first edition in 1993.

But they confirmed the split in May when FIFA said it would be seeking other partners and EA said it would rebrand its game as “EA Sports FC” from next year.

For the final version, EA has included women’s club teams for the first time — though only from England and France — several years after it introduced women players.

Australian superstar Sam Kerr, who plays in the English league, is on the game’s cover along with French World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe.

“It is — and remains — one of the most popular franchises in all of gaming,” said Tom Wijman of Newzoo, a firm that analyses data on the industry.

The decoupling is risky for both EA and FIFA, with neither guaranteed success from their new ventures.

But analysts say EA is in a stronger position after spending 30 years developing and marketing the game.

The firm said last year that FIFA had sold more than 325 million copies over its three decades — reportedly generating more than $20 billion in sales.

– ‘Out on a high’ –

Gamers were less bothered about the corporate fallout and just wanted to play the latest version of the game.

Professional eSports players — some of whom earn hundreds of thousands of dollars for playing the game — queued up to livestream their first attempts.

“One of my favourite videos ever,” tweeted Donovan Hunt, one of the most successful eSports players, linking to a YouTube video of his first try.

Swedish gamer Olle Arbin livestreamed his first attempt for 12 hours on Wednesday.

Reviewers have been impressed by the game’s improvements in graphics since the last edition, and praised additional features such as a “power shot” for giving gameplay another dimension.

“FIFA 23 sees the series bow out on a high, and provides encouraging signs for the debut of EA Sports FC this time next year,” wrote Ben Wilson on the specialist site GamesRadar.

– ‘Risky endeavour’ –

The video game industry, estimated to be worth around $300 billion a year, has become increasingly cutthroat in recent years with the biggest companies buying up many of their competitors.

EA had a turnover of $5.6 billion last year, making it one of the biggest game makers that remains outside the grasp of the four giants — Tencent, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo.

The end of the deal with FIFA came after the football body reportedly raised its licensing fee demand from $150 million a year to $250 million — bring the total for the mooted four-year contract to $1 billion.

EA will lose the right to use the FIFA name and competitions such as the World Cup, but it can still use player names and non-FIFA competitions such as the English Premier League — a key advantage over its rivals.

However, the firm was already pivoting increasingly towards club competitions, both on and off screen.

It is taking on a five-year sponsorship deal of Spain’s top-flight La Liga next year, for a reported 30 to 40 million euros a year.

Newzoo’s Wijman said “EA Sports FC” has a good chance of success.

“Losing the FIFA brand may hurt EA’s chances somewhat, but they have the game engine, development teams, marketing expertise, and branding expertise,” he said.

FIFA could struggle to attract potential parters after its reported $1 billion demand, Wijman said.

It would be a “risky endeavour”, he said, “in any circumstance, but especially if you then have to compete with EA to build the most popular football game”.

AFP

Zuckerberg Drops Out Of 10 Richest Men In US

 

Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg

 

Meta Chief Executive Officer, Mark Zuckerberg has lost his spot in the list of top 10 richest men in the United States for the first time since 2015, following the astonishing stock price drop in his company in the past year.

This was announced when Forbes released the 41st edition of its list of 400 America’s richest people.

 

The 38-year-old tech titan lost over half of his fortune ($76.8 billion) since September 2021 dropping him from the third richest man in the US to the 11th on the list now worth $57.7 billion, according to the new list released by Forbes on Tuesday.

The company, which has seen its stock price drop 38 percent in the last six months, has also faced increased government scrutiny on many fronts including an FTC antitrust investigation of Zuckerberg’s company.

According to Forbes, he has the cratering stock price of Meta to thank for his exit from the top 10.

The company shares have plunged 57% since last year’s Forbes 400, which used stock prices from September 3, 2021. Tech stocks are generally in a slump with the market downturn, but Meta’s fall outpaces both the Nasdaq (-9.8%) and the S&P 500 (-13.5%), as well as Microsoft’s 14% decline, Google-parent Alphabet‘s 25% drop and Amazon’s 27% dive.

Following the privacy policy update from Apple last year that made it harder for tech companies to track users across apps, impacting Meta’s ad sales, Mark Zgutowicz, an analyst at the research and investment banking firm Benchmark said.

“Facebook makes most of its money from advertising, and now it just doesn’t have that data anymore, All those data signals went away, which means that advertisers are having trouble telling whether a campaign was successful or not,” Zgutowicz stated.

In October 2021, Facebook officially became Meta, since then, their reality labs division has lost $10 billion in 2021, the company announced earlier in the year during its earnings call.

While the metaverse is all Zuckerberg wants to talk about, investors are less enthusiastic so far. “It’s a long tail investment and, for now, it’s kind of a cash suck,” Zgutowicz says.

Compounding Meta’s problems is the lucrative use of TikTok by Gen Z and Millenials, luring away advertisers, from Meta’s Instagram and Facebook.

In February, Meta announced its first-ever quarterly loss of daily active users. An internal report showed that Meta’s TikTok clone, Instagram Reels, is struggling to compete, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Zuckerberg first became a billionaire in 2008 at the age of 23 becoming the youngest self-made billionaire at that time, just four years after founding Facebook. He debuted on the list at No. 321, worth $1.5 billion. By 2011, his net worth had increased nearly 12 fold to $17.5 billion.

 

A photo of the top 3 richest men in the US (L-R) Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and, Bill Gates.

 

On the new Forbes 400 list,  Elon Musk, worth $251 billion reigns supreme, followed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, worth $151 billion and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, worth $106 billion compete in the top 3.

Software tycoon Larry Ellison sits at number four with $101 million, just above investor Warren Buffet at $97 billion.

Alphabet co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who also saw their net worth drop, take the fourth and fifth spots. Ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer sits at number eight with a worth of $83 billion.

Other than the Tesla CEO, the only other person in the top ten to see their fortune increase is Michael Bloomberg.

The youngest son of Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart,  Jim Walton, rounds out the top ten with a worth of $57.9 billion.

DJ Cuppy Graduates From Oxford

A photo of DJ Cuppy during her matriculation at Oxford University

 

Nigerian DJ, Florence Otedola also known as ‘Dj Cuppy’ has announced her graduation from the University of Oxford.

In March of 2021, the artist revealed that she had been accepted into Oxford for a master’s degree programme.

She took to her Twitter handle to mention how proud of herself she is even though she did not get a merit or a distinction.

Got my THESIS result, which classifies my MSc degree…”

“I didn’t get a Merit or a Distinction, but I PASSED!!!  After a tough year, I can officially say I am now a GRADUATE from @uniofOxford

And I am bloody PROUD of myself… To GOD be the GLORY!” She Tweeted.

The daughter of billionaire, Femi Otedola, ran a Master’s programme in African Studies at the prestigious university in the United Kingdom.

She later tweeted in July that ever since she completed her thesis, she had not been her vibrant self

“Since completing my thesis, I found myself completely fatigued and feeling pretty antisocial.”

“I thought I’d be partying hard every night celebrating but haven’t been out once. Dunno if it’s because of all the stress I experienced, just not feeling my usual bubbly self,” she said.

The 29-year-old plans to throw herself a huge party as she said in July once she graduates.

DJ Cuppy already had a masters in Music Business from New York University in 2015.

‘Proud Of Him’: English Teammates Defend Maguire After Error Show

Photo of Harry Maguire during the English side’s 3-3 draw against Germany at Wembley Stadium on Monday night

 

English captain Harry Kane and fellow teammates have rallied around the defender, Harry Maguire after the Three Lions escaped with a draw at Wembley Stadium on Monday.

It was a night Maguire would want to put behind him as his laxity in defence gifted the Germans a penalty which was cooly converted by Ilkay Gundogan before once more losing possession in the English half that resulted in Kai Havertz’s second.

But England fought back and led 3-2 from goals courtesy of Luke Shaw, Mason Mount and Kane before goalkeeper Nick Pope gift the English side an equaliser after he fumbled a shot from Serge Gnabry.

However, Kane was full of praise for his teammate claiming the Manchester United man played on “one leg” on the night.

”Any individual mistake, you’re going to be gutted. But we are a team, we will get behind each other.”

‘”They will learn from it and they’ll move on. They have been great for us every time they put the shirt on,” Lane said in the post-match interview.

The Tottenham striker also said of the 29-year-old defender'” I’m really proud of him for that.”

Also in agreement with Kane’s description of Maguire was fellow United mate, Luke Shaw who described his compatriot as an “amazing” player

“He has taken a lot of stick – probably more than I’ve ever seen before in football,” Shaw said.

‘He never hides away, he’s always there. You can have people who can hide away and not want to be in the spotlight.”

“Harry Delivered”

File photo of Gareth Southgate

 

England coach, Gareth Southgate, before his side’s defeat against Italy at San Siro, insisted Maguire remains central to his plans and even willing to put his job on the line

“Whatever reputation I have I’m putting it on there,” Southgate said. “I think you always have to back your judgement, and we feel he is an important player.”

“Clearly, it’s not an ideal situation. You want your best players playing regularly so that they’re physically in a good place and mentally in a good place.

Despite the draw and his side’s relegation to the UEFA Nations League B, the English boss defended his choice of starting the likes of Maguire and Shaw ahead of other players.

“That’s always going to raise debate, but I think in these moments we’ve got to back our best and our most experienced players unless we’re in a situation where it’s almost untenable and impossible to pick them.

Asked about sticking with his trusted players, Southgate said: “That’s always going to be a challenge, especially regarding how much football they’ve had.

“I know everyone will focus on Harry, but there were some very important moments Harry delivered during the two matches.”

“People are going to have an opinion, but I think it’s the best way for us,” he said.