Gareth Southgate has left Jadon Sancho out of his final England squad of 2021, owing to the wide player’s tough start to life at Manchester United.
The England manager has named a 25-man squad for their final qualifiers on the road to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. England need just one victory from their last two matches: a trip to San Marino, and a home tie against Albania.
Sancho’s omission is the main talking point from a squad Southgate admitted was formed with continuity from past squads in mind. The manager name-checked a number of young players who came close to featuring but just missed out. Those included Southampton’s Tino Livramento, Crystal Palace duo Conor Gallagher and Marc Guéhi, and Brighton’s Tariq Lamptey. Liverpool centre-back Joe Gomez is yet to return to the senior England fold following a knee injury that kept him out of action for nearly eight months. Southgate nevertheless described Gomez as a player “we know [and] we love.”Embed from Getty Images
Other notable absentees for the November double-header are Sancho’s United teammates Jesse Lingard and Mason Greenwood, Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins, and Atlético Madrid right-back Kieran Trippier. Southgate explained that Trippier’s omission is not due to poor form. Instead, he was simply asked to miss this squad in order to “give a bit of an opportunity to Reece [James] and Trent [Alexander-Arnold].”
Greenwood has not played for England since his debut in a Nations League match against Iceland last September. Since then, he has barely featured in any England squads. Southgate explained this by stating: “He and his family felt that they needed time. He’s a player we believe has a big future.”
Southgate also spoke glowingly about 23-year-old goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, whose £30 million transfer to Arsenal has proved a masterstroke in the early knockings of the season. He has replaced Germany international Bernd Leno as the Gunners’ first-choice goalkeeper, and could be in line for an England senior debut this month.Embed from Getty Images
England host Albania at Wembley on Friday 12 November, before travelling to face the world’s lowest-ranked team San Marino at the Stadio Olimpico di Serravalle on Monday 15 November. The Three Lions lead their qualifying group by three points, with each team having two remaining fixtures.
Squad in full
Goalkeepers: Sam Johnstone, Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Chilwell, Conor Coady, Reece James, Harry Maguire, Tyrone Mings, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Kyle Walker
Midfielders: Jude Bellingham, Jordan Henderson, Mason Mount, Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice, James Ward-Prowse
Forwards: Tammy Abraham, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, Raheem Sterling