The biggest omissions from Gareth Southgate’s England squad

The England manager has made some big calls ahead of qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine this month

Jamie Braidwood
Thursday 16 March 2023 14:50 GMT
Gareth Southgate will stay on as England manager, FA announces

Gareth Southgate has named his England squad for the upcoming European qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine this month.

In his first squad since the World Cup, the England manager has stuck with the majority of the group who reached the quarter-finals in Qatar.

Ivan Toney has been selected despite being charged by the FA Cup with breaches of their betting regulations, but there have been some shock names not included.

Here are some of the biggest omissions in Southgate’s squad.

Trent Alexander-Arnold

The right back has been dropped due to his poor club form. Alexander-Arnold has been below his best at Liverpool this season and Reece James returns following injury, with Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier included.

“I have always communicated clearly with all the players on their strengths and what they can improve upon,” Southgate said when asked about Alexander-Arnold’s absence. “In the past we have maybe taken more players in that position but at this point in the season we are mindful not to take too many, especially if they aren’t going to play.”

Ben White

The Arsenal defender has played a key role in Mikel Arteta’s title challenge but has not been recalled to the squad. White left England’s World Cup camp midway through the tournament in Qatar due to “personal reasons” and has not been reselected despite his club form for the Premier League leaders. “It is similar with Trent and Ben, the three boys who are in as right full-backs we have them in ahead of those two,” Southgate said. “We are blessed in that position.”

Raheem Sterling

Southgate explained that Sterling is not fit and would have been selected had he been. The forward is expected to miss Chelsea’s match against Everton on Saturday due to injury.

Ollie Watkins

Sterling’s injury might have opened up a place for one of the Premier League’s most in-form players, but Watkins has not been picked. The Aston Villa forward could not have done more with seven goals in his last eight games, but he misses out on a recall.

Solly March

Similarly, the Brighton player is in the form of his life in Roberto De Zerbi’s high-flying side. March has represented England youth teams but misses out on a call up to the senior side. Southgate said Marcus Rashford, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and Bukayo Saka are ahead of him.

Conor Coady

The centre-back has been a Southgate favourite in recent years due to his presence in the England camp. The Everton defender was included in the squad that travelled to Qatar, but has been left out this time.

Fikayo Tomori

The AC Milan defender was excellent in the victory over Tottenham in the Champions League last-16 but has been overlooked. Coady’s place has been taken by the Crystal Palace defender Marc Guehi.

Jadon Sancho

The winger was given time off by Manchester United after missing out on the World Cup but returned to find form under Erik ten Hag, with goals against Leeds and Leicester last month. But given the competition for places among the forwards, Sancho will need to do more to get back into the England fold.

Callum Wilson

The Newcastle striker has been out of form and is another of the players who made the plane to Qatar who has not been called up by Southgate. Wilson has only scored one goal for Newcastle since the World Cup, while Toney has netted six times in 11 appearances for Brentford.

James Ward-Prowse

The Southampton captain has been the victim of several near-misses when it comes to England. With Ward-Prowse in a relegation fight with Southampton, he misses out again despite the likes of Mason Mount, Conor Gallagher and Kalvin Phillips having less game time with Chelsea and Manchester City respectively.

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