Wilshere is ruled out again as dream fades
Jack Wilshere is out of England’s Wembley friendly against Italy on Tuesday and must be concerned that his chances of going to the World Cup finals this summer are slipping badly.
The Arsenal midfielder did not travel to Amsterdam for Friday’s friendly against Holland, having picked up a knee tendon injury on the eve of the game. There was some hope he could recover in time but the 26-year-old, who has not played for England since Euro 2016, will remain with Arsenal. Joe Gomez, who was substituted with an injury after 10 minutes on Friday, is staying with England for now.
Gareth Southgate says the door is still open for Ruben Loftus-Cheek to win a place in the World Cup squad now that the Chelsea playmaker, on loan at Crystal Palace, is back from injury, having been given his England debut against Germany in November.
Southgate has told his players that they need to be able to keep the ball in pressurised situations and said that he would continue to look at those capable of doing it. He also hinted that there might be a chance for Adam Lallana to play against Italy.
After England’s win over Holland, Southgate said he was open-minded about picking 22-year-old LoftusCheek. He added: “When I named the squad I said that Ruben was one that really impressed us in November, has different sorts of attributes and really is a No8 or No10 rather than a deeper player.”
Southgate said that his England team would continue to build from the back with composure and that the new generation of defenders had a “different skillset” that made them capable of doing so. “It really allows us to adopt a different mentality. I was really pleased with the composure they showed.
“We picked specific players in the squad to do that, from the goalkeeper right the way through the team – they played with a real confidence and enjoyed the ball.”
Praising goalkeeper Jordan Pickford (right) for his part in Jesse Lingard’s goal, he said: “If you can play with composure and play through and out of pressure, it affects the opposition in terms of their pressure. Eventually they stop running and you have more time in different areas of the field. The profile of goalkeeper and defence allowed us to do that.”