England squad announcement: Gareth Southgate names Fabian Delph in 26 for final World Cup qualifiers

Fabian Delph returns to the international fold ahead of qualifiers against Slovenia and Lithuania while Dele Alli is included despite his impending disciplinary action

Mark Critchley
St George's Park
Thursday 28 September 2017 15:10
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England are preparing for qualifiers on 5 and 8 October
England are preparing for qualifiers on 5 and 8 October

Gareth Southgate has named Fabian Delph in his 26-man squad for England's remaining World Cup qualifiers against Slovenia and Lithuania.

​The Manchester City midfielder has not made an international appearance since a 2-0 defeat to Spain in November 2015 but returns having taken up a makeshift left-back role for his club side.

“We think he's a really good player,” Southgate said of Delph. “He was a very important player for a period with Roy. He's been unfortunate with injury and he's at a club where chances have been a little bit limited but he's dug in.

“He obviously hasn't had as many games as we would like but we have a situation in midfield where we need to have more competition for places and more alternatives. We think he's a player who can provide that and we're looking forward to working with him.”

Dele Alli has also been included in Southgate's squad despite the fact that he could be banned for one or both of England's remaining games.

The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder is waiting to hear from Fifa's disciplinary panel after he was filmed making a one-fingered gesture in the direction of the referee during England's 2-1 win over Slovakia earlier this month.

“Obviously we run the risk of looking a shambles,” Southgate admitted. “He could get withdrawn again in half an hour but our hope is that common sense prevails and that he's available for our matches, but we have to wait and see on that.”

Alli claims that the gesture was not aimed at official Clement Turpin but his team-mate Kyle Walker. A decision on his availability is expected to be made on Thursday.

Jamie Vardy is the squad's most high-profile absentee, with the Leicester City striker left out through injury.

Southgate expects Vardy to play for his club side this weekend at Bournemouth but chose to omit him while he receives medical treatment for a hip problem.

“We've had a conversation with the club but more importantly I've had a conversation with him,” the England manager said. “He's not been training, he's playing in a lot of pain. That's unsustainable over any longer period so it's not ideal from our point of view.

“We're missing too many players from this squad through injury. It's not a squad I'm looking at thinking it's as strong as I'd like it to be but that's where we are. We've got a high level of injuries and we've still got some good quality within that squad.”

England will qualify for next summer's World Cup in Russia if they beat Slovenia at Wembley on 5 October or if they draw and Slovakia, their closest challengers in Group F, fail to win.

England squad to face Slovenia and Lithuania

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart, Fraser Forster, Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford.

Defenders: Ryan Bertrand, Aaron Cresswell, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, John Stones, Michael Keane, Chris Smalling, Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier.

Midfielders: Eric Dier, Fabian Delph, Jake Livermore, Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jesse Lingard, Dele Alli.

Forwards: Marcus Rashford, Harry Kane, Jermain Defoe, Daniel Sturridge.

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