A verbal joust had broken out over the use of Harry Kane for club and country this season – with the Spurs manager admitting concern that his talisman may find himself overworked across multiple fronts.
Mourinho mistakenly called Southgate ‘Gary’ in the recent exchange, but has now insisted that it was simply the language barrier which sparked the spat.
Jose Mourinho has apologised to Gareth Southgate after a bizarre spat between them
A row broke out with both managers sharing jibes over the use of Tottenham star Harry Kane
‘I spoke with Southgate but I want to share with the public,’ he told Sky Sports. ‘I promised to Gareth Southgate that Gary was the short of Gareth.
‘I called him Gary and I apologise to him. I only have respect to him. I thought I was being nice to him. He can call me John if he wants.’
England captain Kane will be involved with international duty again next week for a friendly against Wales and two Nations League fixtures.
Kane, who also captains England, will be involved again on international duty this week
Mourinho is desperate to avoid a repeat of last season when Kane was sidelined for months
But Mourinho has made his dismay with the calendar pile-up increasingly clear amid fears that Kane may find himself burned out or injured again.
After Spurs’ rout of Maccabi Haifa, which secured them passage to the Europa League group stage, Mourinho hinted to Southgate in a thinly-veiled dig that he does not expect Kane to feature against Wales.
He said: ‘What I can promise to my friend Steve Holland and for Gary (sic) not to be jealous. 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.’
Southgate, who recently admitted to having been stung by criticism of his ‘cautious’ nature, fired back uncharacteristically with his own tongue-in-cheek remark.
Southgate had urged Mourinho to ‘look after’ Kane ahead of England’s Euro 2020 campaign
He warned Mourinho that he should in turn protect Kane towards the end of the season with the rescheduled European Championships rapidly approaching.
‘All Jose needs to do in April and May is look after Harry Kane for us because there will be 55 million people relying on that,’ Southgate said.
Tottenham were badly disrupted by injuries last season and Mourinho was left frustrated after losing several key stars to the treatment table.
Kane had been ruled out from January to June with a serious hamstring tear, and Mourinho appears to now be fearing a repeat with England about to embark on their triple bill of games.