Ashley Young excluded from England squad: Picking Andros Townsend instead is harsh on the Manchester United winger

COMMENT: Despite being among Manchester United's most effective players this season, Young remains in the international wilderness

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Roy Hodgson caused few ripples with his latest England squad, with the headline inclusion that of Harry Kane. However even a turnip would have picked the Tottenham striker based on his current form.

The England manager also opted to name just two goalkeepers rather than bring Robert Green into the fold in place of the injured Ben Foster. But no-one cares about third-choice keepers.

But if there was a slight wave to be found in the squad, and one that at least spread as far from Wembley as Old Trafford, it was the exclusion of Ashley Young.

The absence of the Manchester United winger was compounded by the continued presence of Andros Townsend - the most like-for-like inclusion among the 24 players in contention for the upcoming games against Lithuania and Italy.

Young has 30 caps for the national side but last played for the national side 18 months ago, appearing for just 22 minutes as a substitute in the drab 0-0 World Cup qualifier away in Ukraine. His last appearances before that were two years ago, which included the 29-year-old scoring in the 8-0 win over San Marino. Despite his contributions to England's qualification for the World Cup, Hodgson opted not to take Young to the tournament in Brazil.

It would be fare to say the former Aston Villa player's international career has sunk, but it looked like it could be salvaged thanks to his impressive form this term at Manchester United.

"Fingers crossed I can get myself back into the England team," he said after Manchester United's 3-0 win over Tottenham on Sunday.

"I've always said that I want to represent my country. It's always an honour to play for England and hopefully I've done enough to get myself back in the squad."

Van Gaal's Manchester United side play Liverpool this weekend


Under Louis van Gaal, Young has become a key member of the squad at Old Trafford, seemingly taking on board the functions of the Dutchman's preferred systems better than the majority of his team-mates. His late winning goal against Newcastle earlier this month brought the deserved attention to a player who has been as pivotal as anyone in a Manchester United shirt in taking the club to within two points of second-placed Manchester City.

However he remains on the peripheral and in the place that he wanted to be is Townsend. Admittedly the Tottenham player brought life to England's World Cup qualification campaign when they needed it against Montenegro and Poland. His performances and the wins that followed ensured England were on the plane for Brazil. But since those lively displays at Wembley the 23-year-old's career has faltered.

Townsend was taken off after 31 minutes in the recent defeat to Manchester United


The injury that ruled Townsend out of the World Cup impacted on his pre-season at a time when he should have been trying to impress new Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino. It appears to have had a knock-on effect with the winger unable to command a regular place in the side at White Hart Lane. It's also given him little opportunity to impress Hodgson.

Yet the England manager has deemed Townsend more worthy of a place than Young in the latest squad. Had England faced a tougher competitive assignment than Lithuania (the Italy match is a friendly) Hodgson's decision could have left him with a sinking feeling.