South­gate swings axe with new-look squad

Alli, Lin­gard, Walker and Dier left out of squad Chelsea pair To­mori and Abra­ham are called up

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Front Page - Ja­son Burt CHIEF FOOT­BALL COR­RE­SPON­DENT

Gareth South­gate has stated that there is no “priv­i­leged ac­cess” for play­ers to the Eng­land squad af­ter again mak­ing bold changes, leav­ing out se­nior in­ter­na­tion­als Dele Alli, Jesse Lin­gard, Kyle Walker and Eric Dier.

In come the Chelsea pair of Tammy Abra­ham and Fikayo To­mori, which, re­mark­ably, means that just 11 of the 23-man squad who reached the semi-fi­nals of the World Cup in Rus­sia are in the 25 who have been se­lected for the Euro 2020 qual­i­fiers away to the Czech Repub­lic and Bul­garia. “That is quite a big shift,” South­gate con­ceded.

Eng­land can seal their qual­i­fi­ca­tion for next sum­mer’s tour­na­ment and South­gate is de­ter­mined to choose play­ers on merit rather than rep­u­ta­tion, hav­ing called Alli, Dier and oth­ers to in­form them they had again been left out.

“When you’re se­lect­ing a squad, the play­ers need to see some sort of mer­i­toc­racy when pos­si­ble, and to bring those guys back in, who am I go­ing to leave out?” South­gate said. “Does it mean leav­ing out some­body who is scor­ing freely and play­ing ex­cep­tion­ally just be­cause they’re younger? I think that every­one within the squad would look and say, ‘OK, there’s a priv­i­leged ac­cess to cer­tain play­ers.’”

Alli, like Alex Oxlade-cham­ber­lain, has been ex­cluded be­cause he has not “had the num­ber of games this year to get into a rhythm”. South­gate said he ex­pected them to show they were “fight­ers”. Dier has barely fea­tured for Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur.

Lin­gard, South­gate said, had not con­trib­uted enough in goals and as­sists for Manch­ester United, and is be­hind other at­tack­ing play­ers such as Jadon San­cho and James Mad­di­son. “I think Jesse’s had a dif­fi­cult pe­riod and he’s aware of that,” South­gate said, adding that he re­tained “huge faith” in the mid­fielder.

The sit­u­a­tion is more wor­ry­ing for Walker, who has again been left out, de­spite Aaron Wan-bis­saka not be­ing se­lected through ill­ness. South­gate con­tin­ues with Trent Alexan­der-arnold and Kieran Trip­pier, whose re­call since mov­ing to Atletico Madrid is an ex­am­ple to oth­ers, the Eng­land man­ager ex­plained, that there was a way back. But South­gate said Trip­pier and Alexan­der-arnold of­fered more than Walker go­ing for­ward.

It has been some over­haul of the squad since South­gate’s first game, then as a care­taker, which was a World Cup qual­i­fier against Malta in Oc­to­ber 2016.

From that squad, just Tom Heaton, Danny Rose, Jor­dan Hen­der­son, Ra­heem Ster­ling and Mar­cus Rash­ford sur­vive, although Harry Kane was in­jured then, as John Stones is now.

South­gate said the hard­est de­ci­sion as Eng­land man­ager was the first time he left out Wayne Rooney “be­cause of what he’s done in the game and his se­nior­ity”.

“What the lads I’ve spo­ken to need to know is that we still have be­lief in them,” he added.

“When­ever I have to make a call to a player, I find that the most dif­fi­cult part of the job. It’s not some­thing that I en­joy or some­thing that I look for­ward to. But what I think it means is that hav­ing seen how pro­fes­sion­ally he [Rooney] took that and how he dealt with that, you know ev­ery­body else should take that on board and re­act as he did.

“I guess that’s what is al­ways in the back of my mind, how my ad­mi­ra­tion for him as a player and as a per­son went fur­ther be­cause of how he was re­al­is­tic as to where he was at that mo­ment in his ca­reer. He would al­ways say, ‘Look, I’m not play­ing reg­u­larly for my club, I don’t ex­pect to be with Eng­land.’ That’s the kind of con­ver­sa­tion I’ve had with Eric Dier re­cently and with a cou­ple of the oth­ers.”

There is a re­call for Fabian Delph – “it’s not fan­tasy foot­ball, we can’t just put 11 at­tack­ing play­ers on the pitch,” South­gate said – but the great­est in­ter­est will be over the in­clu­sion of Abra­ham who has scored eight goals this sea­son for Chelsea, in­clud­ing on his 22nd birth­day in the Cham­pi­ons League against Lille on Wed­nes­day, and 21-year-old cen­tral de­fender To­mori, who has started just four Pre­mier League games.

“It shows how many good young play­ers are com­ing through,” said South­gate. “And, gen­er­ally speak­ing, those lads come in and stay in, which is a credit to them.”

Jack But­land, Kyle Walker, Eric Dier, John Stones, Jesse Lin­gard, Jamie Vardy, Danny Wel­beck, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Ash­ley Young, Dele Alli, Ruben Lof­tus-cheek. 2018 World Cup squad mem­bers who have now been left out Out

Over­haul: Gareth South­gate says his selec­tion rep­re­sents ‘a big shift’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.