England’s latest squad has been announced for the upcoming European Championship qualifiers against Bulgaria and Kosovo. Gareth Southgate has seen this as a good opportunity to call up more youngsters as he builds his team in preperation for Euro 2020.
Manchester United full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Aston Villa centre-back Tyrone Mings have won their first call-ups. Wan-Bissaka made a big-money move in the summer, following his impressive season at Crystal Palace.However has he been fully convincing? He struggled (like many) for England at the European U21 Championships this summer, and England have a lot of quality at the right-back position. Maybe he Aaron should continue developing with the U21’s? His call up means an England regular in Kyle Walker has missed out on the squad, Kyle had a disappointing Nations League in the summer but still possess a lot of excellent attributes. Also in this position Athletico Madrid’s former Tottenham right-back Kieran Trippier is recalled after being dropped for the Nations League finals.
Southgate said he wanted to “reintegrate” Trippier back into the squad on the back of a big move and solid start to the season for his new club, while also looking closely at Wan-Bissaka and Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander Arnold. “That’s the reason on this occasion that Kyle Walker isn’t with us,” he said, adding that he had explained his decision to Walker. “It’s not the case that he’s not playing well for Manchester City – it’s quite the opposite,”
Tyrone Mings has been excellent since he moved to Aston Villa, initially on loan, but has limited Premier League experience and takes advantage of John Stones’ absence through injury. Southgate clearly believes that the qualifiers are the best opportunity to test these younger players and it’s hard to argue with him. The Introduction of the Nations League means England no longer have friendlies to experiment in, therefore if they aren’t tested now when are they going to be?
Chelsea playmaker Mason Mount and Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are also in the 25-man squad. Mounts inclusion comes as no real surprise as he has started life in the Premier League very well. Oxlade-Chamberlains inclusion is an surprising one, as he is still gaining match fitness following a long injury lay off and hasn’t necessarily earned his inclusion through his brief appearances for Liverpool this season. Leicester City’s James Maddison also gets a recall after missing out on the Nations League Semi-Final squad.
Burnley striker Ashley Barnes, who has scored more goals than any other Englishman apart from Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling in the Premier League this season, can feel unlucky to have been overlooked however his age may have gone against him.
The Squad in full is
- Goalkeepers: Tom Heaton (Aston Villa), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley)
- Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Leicester), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Michael Keane (Everton), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Manchester United)
- Midfielders: Ross Barkley (Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), James Maddison (Leicester), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool), Declan Rice (West Ham), Harry Winks
- Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth)
The line-up I would choose for the first qualifier against Bulgaria is;
- Jordan Pickford
- Trent Alexander-Arnold
- Harry Maguire
- Joe Gomez
- Ben Chilwell
- Declan Rice
- Harry Winks
- James Maddison
- Mason Mount
- Harry Kane
- Raheem Sterling
This line up has flexibility as Maddison and Mount could alternate between being part of the front 3 and midfield 3, there is also the option to play 4-4-2.