Gareth Southgate announced on Thursday his first England squad since the 2018 World Cup, with five changes from the cohort that represented the Three Lions so well in Russia. On the most part, Southgate has given opportunities to youngsters like Luke Shaw and James Tarkowski – but which players that should be part of this team did the England gaffer somehow overlook? Football FanCast’s expert writers give their verdicts below…
“A stand-out player in a forgetful season for West Ham last year, Rice showed maturity beyond his age and is expected to have a bright future. While he is still a way off being a regular for the Three Lions, naming him in the squad would have been a good call if only to stop him committing to Ireland.”
“There was a lot of talk that youngsters like Jadon Sancho could get their opportunity in this England squad with Southgate keen to look to the future, and while he is still only 18 years of age it seemed like the ideal opportunity to give him a shot given his impressive performances for the Borussia Dortmund first team. The fact that Danny Welbeck has got in ahead of him must be even more galling for the talented teenager, and it is a decision that casts some doubt on Southgate’s long-term vision for the Three Lions.”
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“Leicester’s new signing James Maddison can feel aggrieved that he has missed the cut for Southgate’s first squad of the new season. The 21-year-old joined the Foxes this summer and has impressed in his first four games, netting his first goal for the club thanks to a deflection against Wolves.
“Last season in the Championship he racked up 14 goals and eight assists for Norwich from midfield and there is no doubting he has the quality on the ball to be able to fit straight into Southgate’s system. With only three caps for the U21 side it may have been a risk, but Maddison certainly looks ready to make his England debut.”
“Jack Wilshere is back playing regularly in the Premier League and should also have been returned to the international frame. Whilst he still has plenty to do to prove his long term fitness and get back to his best form, his attributes and style of play are currently lacking in Southgate’s squad. At the World Cup, the Three Lions could have done with a ball carrier able to dribble between the lines and retain possession in tight areas. Wilshere can still be that man for England, and selection here would have been a welcome confidence boost for the ex-Arsenal man.”
“Wilson has had an electric start to the season. The 26 year-old has scored twice and grabbed an assist, has superb pace, is full of confidence, and most importantly he knows where the back of the net is. It’s two harmless friendlies, why not give a chance to a guy who could catch fire and earn himself a spot in the next squad?”