Gareth Southgate named his latest England squad on Thursday afternoon.
With friendlies against Holland and Italy this month, Southgate named 27 players.
Ahead of the squad being revealed, there had been a lot of speculation, particularly amongst Newcastle fans, as to whether Jamaal Lascelles and/or Jonjo Shelvey would be included.
Gareth Southgate instead named the following:
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (West Ham), Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley)
Defenders: Kyle Walker, John Stones (Manchester City), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Kieran Trippier, Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), James Tarkowski (Burnley), Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Ashley Young (Manchester United), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Alfie Mawson (Swansea)
Midfielders: Eric Dier, Dele Alli (both Tottenham Hotspur), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Adam Lallana, Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (all Liverpool), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal), Jake Livermore (West Brom)
Forwards: Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal)
After the 27 man squad was announced, Gareth Southgate attempted to explain/justify his selections.
Some of his reasoning makes about as much sense as the decision by the FA to appoint him in the first place, his only previous experience of management being to relegate Middlesbrough from the Premier League.
“My preference is always that you have clarity for the players, in terms of you need to be playing regularly, you need to be in good form.”
Danny Welbeck has only started two Premier League matches in the last five months.
As for Jake Livermore…like his team, he has been really poor and has scored no Premier League goals and has only one assist all season. The only form he has shown is nicking the taxi in Spain with his three West Brom team-mates.
Southgate goes on to say…
“It’s obvious to everybody we have a very small number of English-qualified players in the Premier League.
“On top of that a lot of our better players have missed time with injury or through selection have missed matches.
“There are a few players that are not in this squad that are not out of our mind.
“There are clearly some inclusions of players that are playing well for their club and who are getting their first call-up.
“There are some in particular that if they were playing at the moment they would have been in – Fabian Delph, Phil Jones and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
“They are all close to fitness but have not played in matches and are in the early stages of their recovery. Plus Harry Kane, they are four that would be in our thinking.”
The England manager has named four uncapped players – Burnley’s James Tarkowski and Nick Pope, Swansea defender Alfie Mawson and Bournemouth midfielder Lewis Cook.
I think you have to say that the chances of Lascelles and/or Shelvey going to Russia are about on the same level as seeing Sunderland back in the Premier League any time soon.
Gareth Southgate can only name 23 in his World Cup squad, so when you think he picked a 27 man squad yesterday AND said Kane, Delph, Jones and Loftus-Cheek would all have been included if they were fully fit.
That makes 31 players who are already definitely ahead of the Newcastle pair in his thinking…