Last month, England manager Gareth Southgate told the press rather reluctantly that no-one in his team is undroppable. Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling were inevitably cited as two possible candidates to deserve such a title.
They have both made it into the England squad for two Euro 2020 qualifiers on the road over the next couple of weeks. However, the two attacking midfielders of last summer’s World Cup adventure, namely Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard, have both missed out.
Lingard has struggled for starts and form for an erratic Manchester United in the early months of the season, while Alli has struggled with both form and fitness. In their current states, neither are playing at an international level, and so they won’t get the chance to do so this month.
Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur have endured stormy starts to the season, losing points and struggling to rediscover their past identities.
“All of those players will recognise why I’ve made these decisions.”Gareth Southgate, on players he left out.
For England however, that is not the case. They have won every one of their qualifiers so far, losing only once in 2019 – their Nations League semi-final against the Netherlands in Guimarães.
For fixtures in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, Southgate has called upon an identical trio of goalkeepers to those that faced Bulgaria and Kosovo last month. Nick Pope, Tom Heaton and Jordan Pickford are all in. Heaton in particular has made an excellent start to the season with new club Aston Villa.
Kyle Walker has again been dropped, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kieran Trippier the men in form at right-back. Ben Chilwell and Danny Rose are Southgate’s choices on the opposite side.
Michael Keane and Harry Maguire played in both of England’s victories in September; they return. Joe Gomez, out of favour at Liverpool because of a resurgent Joel Matip, has also received a call-up, with Villa’s still-uncapped Tyrone Mings picked, too.
The headline call-up though is for Fikayo Tomori. Chelsea have been impressive under Frank Lampard in recent weeks and much of their defensive solidity can be attributed to Tomori’s pace, power and determination.
The 21-year-old was born in Calgary, Canada, but is also eligible to play for Nigeria. His first England call-up has been accepted though, and he could become a full England international over the coming days.
Moving into midfield, Fabian Delph’s transfer away from the Etihad and to Everton has proved to be a masterstroke so far, as he finds a way back into a competitive England side. The dependable Jordan Henderson and Declan Rice join him.
Eric Dier again misses out, but faith is shown in Harry Winks as he is called upon once more. Liverpool’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is still yet to earn a consistent run of starts and therefore just misses out this month.
Chelsea’s creative midfield duo, Ross Barkley and Mason Mount, are rewarded for the parts they have played thus far in the club’s exciting new chapter. The player that joins them, completing the midfield, is Leicester City’s livewire James Maddison.
Maddison never made his England debut last month, a decision that didn’t make Southgate all too popular in the immediate aftermath. A big game player, it has been suggested the Maddison isn’t an ideal fit in this England side, both in football terms and also perhaps because of his self-confident and exuberant personality. Southgate talks regularly of the England players and their ‘profiles’. It remains to be seen whether Maddison’s profile can become one of Southgate’s favourites.
The typical three of Raheem Sterling, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford have been selected as England’s wingers, 18-year-old Callum Hudson-Odoi deemed a slightly too recent returner from injury to get a look in.
Not undroppable captain and talisman Harry Kane remains undropped up front, joined by Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson and the final name on the team-sheet, Tammy Abraham.
With experienced Belgium and France internationals Michy Batshuayi and Olivier Giroud acting as nothing more than second and third options, Frank Lampard has shown immense trust in Abraham to select the gangly forward as his new Number 9 at Chelsea.
The two-cap England striker has made his big chance count, scoring seven goals from seven Premier League appearances.
These are the players Gareth Southgate feels are best placed to continue England’s 100% win record in Euro 2020 qualifying Group A. The Czech Republic and Bulgaria play host to the Three Lions on the 11th and 14th October, respectively.