The latest England Squad promoted much debate.
Basically the last chance saloon for the World Cup, any players (excluding injured etc) not included in this 27 man squad for the Holland and Italy friendlies, surely having no chance whatsoever of getting on the plane in June to Russia.
Two names missing were Jonjo Shelvey and Jamaal Lascelles.
Plenty of Newcastle fans appeared to be vocal in criticising Gareth Southgate’s decision but always hard to gauge exactly what the overall reaction of NUFC supporters was, as those who thought one or both players weren’t deserving of a place, aren’t going to be as animated in wanting to tell everybody.
So we put a poll up (see below), asking Newcastle fans whether Shelvey and/or Lascelles should have been in that 27 man squad, as well as posing the question of whether they deserve to be in the 23 man squad for the finals.
The question was ‘What should Gareth Southgate have done with England Squad?’ and we gave the following six options to cover all angles, with the more simplified results below them:
26% Choose Lascelles but not Shelvey for 27 man squad AND 23 man finals squad
22% Choose Lascelles and Shelvey for 27 man squad BUT only Lascelles for 23 man finals squad
19% Leave out Shelvey and Lascelles from 27 man squad AND 23 man finals squad
15% Choose Lascelles and Shelvey for 27 man squad BUT only Shelvey for 23 man finals squad
12% Choose Lascelles and Shelvey for 27 man squad BUT neither for 23 man finals squad
6% Choose Shelvey but not Lascelles for 27 man squad AND 23 man finals squad
Taking those answers overall, this is what it came out at for each player:
27 man England Squad for March friendlies: Yes 75% No 25%
23 man England Squad for finals in Russia: Yes 48% No 52%
27 man England Squad for March friendlies: Yes 55% No 45%
23 man England Squad for finals in Russia: Yes 21% No 79%
I think these were pretty good results and very much reflect my thinking overall.
I think Lascelles was a very very strong contender for this friendlies squad and then considering there are no outstanding English centre-backs, he should have had a toss of the coin chance of getting on the plane to Russia, if he then impressed and played well for Newcastle these next two months.
As for Jonjo Shelvey, we all know he has the ability and if he had played all season like he has done against Man Utd and Southampton in the last two home games, then his case would be compelling. However, he has been poor to average most of the season and even struggled to get into Newcastle’s side at times, particularly when Merino was fully fit.
In recent games his workrate has been on another level to what has gone before, particularly in his defensive work, so I think that marginally he did deserve a chance in this 27 man England Squad for the friendlies, particularly because he has got that passing ability that could unlock a tight game.
However, the 21% support to be in the squad for Russia is about right, an outside bet who could have swayed those odds possibly in these next two months.
The Mag – Friday 16 March 2018:
On Thursday afternoon, the latest England squad was announced.
Gareth Southgate naming a 27 man squad to face Italy and Holland in friendlies.
If you weren’t included in this squad, then unless there were injury/fitness issues, then you surely stand no chance of getting in the final England squad that will travel to Russia in the summer.
Southgate gave some strange justification for his selection process (see below), with Newcastle fans disappointed that neither Jonjo Shelvey or Jamaal Lascelles were chosen.
Remember, this was a 27 man England squad and the final one will be only 23 that goes in June, plus Southgate named another four players he would have chosen if they hadn’t had fitness issues at the minute.
So do you think one or both of the Newcastle players should have been selected for this 27 man England squad for the March friendlies?
Also, do you think that one or both of them should make the final cut for the 23 man finals squad.
Vote now below please and select the option that most closely matches your opinion (We haven’t included option(s) to say the Newcastle players should have been picked for the 23 man finals squad but not the 27 man squad as that wouldn’t make sense).
The Mag – Earlier Today (Friday 16 March):
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…