Manchester United duo Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho have been dropped from the England squad, while Crystal Palace midfielder Marc Guehi has received his first call-up.
England are gearing up for the Winter World Cup in Qatar and have lined up two friendlies at Wembley against Switzerland on March 26 and Ivory Coast on March 29.
Kyle Walker is also not in the squad, with Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold and Chelsea’s Reece James, but Gareth Southgate says the Manchester City right-back will be back for internationals in June.
“It was a difficult time for [Rashford]. He’s clearly not at his best. There’s still time, but we know a lot about Marcus anyway and hopefully he can get some of his form back. “
Southgate says the form of others has pushed Rashford and Sancho out of his squad, with Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish preferred in wide attacking areas.
Rashford, who was included in the squad in November, has been dropped after scoring just two goals since, and has been largely used as a substitute by United interim manager Ralf Rangnick since the start of the year.
Southgate said: “It was a difficult time for [Rashford]. He’s clearly not at his best. There’s still time, but we know a lot about Marcus anyway and hopefully he can get some of his form back. “
Meanwhile, Sancho is absent again despite being given more game time in recent weeks for United.
Explaining Sancho’s exclusion, Southgate said: “Because the other attacking players in the team are slightly ahead of him at the moment in our opinion.”
Guehi, who was signed from Chelsea in the summer, impressed at Palace under Patrick Vieira in his first season in the Premier League and was promoted from the Under-21 side.
On including Guehi, the England coach said: “With Marc, he’s had a really solid season. I’ve been impressed with him on and off the ball. In the biggest games, he’s he is very calm.
“We know a lot about him through our development teams – he’s a junior World Cup winner – so there are some central halves pushing and we’re close, but We’ve added Marc and Ben White this time around and we thought it was a good opportunity to meet two slightly younger players and see how they deal with us.”
England’s 25-man squad
Goalie: Jordan Pickford (Everton), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal), Nick Pope (Burnley)
Defender: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Conor Coady (Wolves), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Ben White (Arsenal)
Midfielder: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Conor Gallagher (Crystal Palace), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Declan Rice (West Ham), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)
Striker: Tammy Abraham (Roma), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Emile Smith Rowe (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
Sky Sports’ Zinny Boswell on the Essential Football Podcast:
“He’s certainly the English goalkeeper with the best performance in the Premier League this season, but – and that’s a big but – Jordan Pickford, despite the criticism he’s received at Everton, has yet to. never let Gareth Southgate down.
“Before the Euros, there were a lot of question marks about whether he should play or not, but he played pretty spotless at that tournament.
“It would be a big call to go to Qatar,” said Southgate “on your bike” and put Ramsdale in goal. Any mistakes would only be magnified and people would ask where Pickford was.
“With that said, I just stress once again that he’s definitely the best English goalkeeper this season, so it’s definitely up for debate.”
Saturday, March 26: Switzerland (h)
Tuesday, March 29: Ivory Coast (h)
June 4: Hungary (a)
June 8th: Germany (a)
June 11th: Italy (h)
June 14: Hungarian (h)
September 23: Italy (a)
September 26: Germany (h)
When and where will the 2022 World Cup take place?
The 2022 World Cup is taking place in Qatar in the winter months, not summer as usual, due to the heat.
The tournament starts on Monday, November 21 at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor with the match featuring the host country.
The final will be played at Lusail Stadium in Doha a week before Christmas on Sunday, December 18.
Who has qualified so far?
As a presenter, Qatar get automatic status for next year’s tournament
Four-time World Cup winner Germany was the first team to secure a spot during quality control in Europe, while Brazil – the most successful national team in World Cup history with 5 titles – secured a quick spot as one of the top four of the South American groups.
England secured their spot in November by topping the qualifying pool.