With the international break coming up for England, they will face Ukraine in the UEFA Euro 2024 qualifiers. Recently, the squad was released to some skepticism. Gareth Southgate has made some questionable decisions regarding some players chosen for the side.
The likes of Harry Maguire, Jordan Henderson and Kalvin Phillips have been put ahead of players Ben White, Jarrod Bowen and James Ward-Prowse, and this has sparked up conversations about the thought process behind Gareth Southgate’s decisions.
Your #ThreeLions squad for September camp! 🦁
— England (@England) August 31, 2023
Another notable mention is Raheem Sterling, who has been playing well so far this season and is in the best form in a while. Southgate said “Raheem’s not particularly happy about it” and that it was a “difficult call” when it came to the selection of whether to include him in the squad or not.
Notable Misses in the England Squad
Ben White Left Out
The situation with Harry Maguire at the club level has seen him play a total of 759 minutes in the Premier League last season, and he is yet to feature for Manchester United so far in this campaign. Considering the lack of playing time, and being stripped of captaincy, it should say something about his ability as a footballer playing at the highest level, however, Gareth Southgate has seen right past this.
Compared to Harry Maguire’s minutes last season, Ben White played a total of 3,066 minutes in the Premier League, starting every game for Arsenal in their title-challenging campaign. He was a consistent performer throughout the entirety of the run and is a standout player in the squad. To add, he can play centre-back comfortably, which he played predominately before being converted into a right-back by Mikel Arteta. Ben White has started this season playing centre-back as a part of a new system at Arsenal. It makes you question whether it is something to do outside of footballing reasons.
🚨🎙️ Mikel Arteta on if he is surprised Ben White is not in the England squad: “Ben has been incredible since the start of the season again.”
“We know that he was there and what happened is totally down to Gareth Southgate and him to make that decision. But he certainly has the… pic.twitter.com/Tvn3EXVG0V
— afcsphere (@afcsphere) September 1, 2023
James Ward-Prowse Missing
Since joining Manchester City, Kalvin Phillips hasn’t played much football for the side, in total he has played 593 minutes, which comes into question what puts him ahead of the likes of James Ward-Prowse who already has three goal contributions since signing for his new side West Ham.
Something England could use is his ability on set pieces, bagging an assist on his debut from a corner against Chelsea, alongside being just one more free-kick goal behind David Beckham’s record of 18, is just one of the many reasons he should be in the squad.
WHAT A START FOR WEST HAM! ⚒️
Aguerd heads home! 💥 pic.twitter.com/D9PxPZSrqa
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) August 20, 2023
Let’s not forget what a player Kalvin Phillips was during his time at Leeds United, however when these players performing consistently, proving themselves and why they should have a chance on the international stage are being left out, it is very questionable from Gareth Southgate.
Jarrod Bowen Omission Sparks Questions
Alongside his teammate James Ward-Prowse, he has been left out of the squad, and many would like to see him be given a chance at an international level. Last season he was vital to West Ham’s winning run in the Europa Conference League, scoring a 90th minute winner, and also contributing 5 goals and 2 assists throughout the competition. Throughout the whole season, he managed to pick up 13 goals and 8 assists, and he is off to a fast start in the new campaign, scoring 2 and assisting 1.
It really is a shame to see considering the success he had last season and the continuation of amazing form coming into the new one, it raises the question of what players have to do to impress Southgate when it comes to international selection.
Gareth Southgate Unpredictable As Always
Gareth Southgate has explained why he's called Harry Maguire up to the England squad 🗣️
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) August 31, 2023
Since being appointed England manager he has always been renowned for making strange decisions when it comes to team selections. When being questioned about some of the selections he based them on needing experience in areas of the pitch, however, it feels like choosing players who haven’t touched a ball consistently over top performers is questionable.