Jesse Lingard has been recalled to England’s squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers after his tremendous form on loan at West Ham, while Ollie Watkins and Sam Johnstone have been included for the first time by Gareth Southgate.
Lingard has not featured for England since winning his 24th cap in June 2019, but has contributed four goals and two assists in six Premier League appearances after leaving Manchester United on loan in January. Watkins, who has scored 10 top-flight goals for Aston Villa already this season, has been preferred to Leeds’ Patrick Bamford. “We like his pressing, the speed and the runs in behind,” Southgate said of Watkins. “He’s got some improvement to make in linking the game, but in his first season in the Premier League at a big club, he’s done exceptionally well.”
The major casualty from Southgate’s squad was Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, while there was also no room for either Harry Winks, Michael Keane or Ainsley Maitland-Niles. “I don’t think he’s played at the level he’s been at during the last few years,” Southgate said of his decision to drop Alexander-Arnold. “He’s a big talent and I’m sure he will play a big role for England in the future.”
England will play three matches at the end of this month, against San Marino, Albania and Poland, with prodigious Borussia Dortmund teenager Jude Bellingham included despite potential quarantine issues, while Luke Shaw and John Stones both return as expected after standout seasons on either side of Manchester.
West Brom goalkeeper Johnstone has been called up in the absence of Jordan Pickford due to injury. Meanwhile, Joe Gomez, Jordan Henderson, Harvey Barnes, Danny Ings, James Maddison, Jack Grealish and Tammy Abraham are all also sidelined.
England squad in full
Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson, Sam Johnstone, Nick Pope
Defenders: Ben Chilwell, Conor Coady, Eric Dier, Reece James, Harry Maguire, Tyrone Mings, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker
Midfielders: Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden, Jesse Lingard, Mason Mount, Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice, James Ward-Prowse
Strikers: Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, Raheem Sterling, Ollie Watkins
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