Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad announcement was highly anticipated. The September international break is the last chance for Southgate to evaluate players ahead of this winter’s World Cup. However, when the England squad was announced it was met with frustration by fans. Southgate had stuck to his favorites once again.
Stars Miss Out On England Squad Despite Good Start
For Many players, this was the final chance to get back into the England squad before the World Cup. Southgate is unlikely to select players who have not played for England in nearly a year to go to Qatar. We take a look at four players who missed out and evaluate whether they still have any chance of making The Three Lions’ World Cup squad.
Perhaps the most controversial omission. Sancho has started the season in fine form with goals against Liverpool and Leicester City. He has started every league game and has been one of Manchester United‘s best players. Sancho hasn’t been in an England Squad since October 2021, so this would have been the perfect time to recall him ahead of the World Cup.
The winger’s main competition for a place in the England squad is Manchester City’s Jack Grealish and West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen. Neither has scored a Premier League goal this season. Grealish has only started three games altogether. The former Aston Villa man has struggled at Manchester City, similar to Sancho’s struggle since joining Manchester United but continues to be selected. It would have been worth picking Sancho this international break to see what he has to offer.
If Grealish’s form does not improve before November, Southgate will have to choose between an out-of-form Grealish and a Sancho that isn’t familiar with how England plays.
A harsh omission, though fair. Ben White has not played enough games at center-back to deserve a place in the England squad. With the emergence of William Saliba and Gabriel, Ben White has become Arsenal’s first-choice right-back this season.
England possesses four talented right-backs already, so his inclusion does not make too much sense.
White can argue that he has not been playing at Centre-back, but at least he has been playing. Harry Maguire has not started a league game since Manchester United’s 4-0 loss to Brentford. In every game, the Red Devils have lost every game he has played. England does not possess top-class depth at center-back, so White’s exclusion is a surprise. The Arsenal defender last played for England in March as a right-back and does not currently appear to be in Southgate’s plans.
Crystal Palace full-back Tyrick Mitchell looked set to benefit from being the only English left-back playing regularly.
Southgate’s latest England squad showed his loyalty to established players. As a result, Mitchell missed. Mitchell has started every league game for Palace this season.
At 23, he would learn loads from the World cup, even if he plays less.
Mitchell’s only real competition is the two players selected ahead of him. Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell and Manchester United’s Luke Shaw have lost their starting places at their respective clubs. It has been an awful year at Shaw, who one year ago scored for England in the Euro 2020 final. Chilwell is still recovering form and fitness following a knee injury sustained in November. Match sharpness will be imperative with no warm-up games before the World Cup. If things continue the same way, Mitchell might be rewarded with a selection.
Marcus Rashford was in serious contention for Southgate’s England squad before his injury.
The Manchester United forward has had a fantastic start to the season scoring three times and setting up two goals in six games. He scored the winners against fierce rivals Liverpool and Arsenal and has benefitted from Erik Ten Haag’s counter-attacking tactics in these big games.
Rashford will hope his injury clears in time for him to continue to impress Southgate ahead of the World Cup.
Rashford has not played for England since the Euro 2020 final loss to Italy but is still in Southgate’s thoughts. Rashford’s main competitors include Ivan Toney, Tammy Abraham, and Ollie Watkins.
Toney has five league goals already this season and joins the England squad for the first time. Tammy Abraham has had a less prominent start to the season at Roma.
Rashford can argue he is more deserving of a call-up based on his current form. Ollie Watkins has just one Premier League goal this season and is yet to replicate his form from last season. An advantage Rashford holds over Toney and Abraham is that he can play on the wing. With Harry Kane likely to start most games at the World Cup, Southgate will want as many options as possible that can play with the Tottenham Hotspur Forward.