England squad: Prem star gets first call-up and Tottenham man returns, but Man Utd duo absent

Gareth Southgate, August 2022

Brentford striker Ivan Toney has received his first England call-up for the September international break, following a strong start to the campaign.

The Bees star has earned Gareth Southgate’s approval after five goals and two assists in six Premier League games. Furthermore, he starred for Brentford last term with 12 strikes.

Tottenham defender Eric Dier is the headline returnee to the England squad. He starred at the 2018 World Cup, but has spent almost two years away from the international scene.

Elsewhere, West Ham striker Jarrod Bowen keeps his place after he earned his first call-up in the last England camp in June.

Crystal Palace defender Marc Guehi, who made his England debut in March, has also retained his spot at the back.

After injury to Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, Dean Henderson comes in to replace the former Sunderland man. Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale is Southgate’s third stopper alongside Nick Pope for the upcoming camp.

Changes across the board for England

There is one less midfielder in Southgate’s 28-man squad, with Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher not keeping his place.

Nevertheless, Jude Bellingham, Mason Mount, Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice and James Ward-Prowse all make it again. Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson is injured.

Up top, the only change is Toney coming in. Raheem Sterling keeps his place following his summer transfer from Manchester City to Chelsea.

His former City team-mates Jack Grealish and Phil Foden keep their places, as does Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka. As for the strikers, Toney joins Roma star Tammy Abraham, Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Bowen looking for goals.

In defence, Southgate has brought Ben Chilwell back into the Three Lions fold after his return from injury. His inclusion comes as Leicester’s James Justin drops out.

Manchester United defender Harry Maguire has earned a call-up despite his lack of minutes. Indeed, Southgate counts the former Foxes man as a leader in his squad. However, there is still no place for Maguire’s Red Devils team-mates Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford.

Alongside Maguire, Dier, John Stones, Conor Coady and Reece James are all in the squad. AC Milan man Fikayo Tomori, Luke Shaw, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker and Trent Alexander-Arnold all make it. Arsenal’s Ben White pulled out of England’s last camp, but he has not returned.

England play Italy next Friday before facing Germany on September 26, both in Nations League matches.

The Three Lions sit bottom of Group 3 in League A, with only two points to their name ahead of the final double-header.

Chances for new and old

Toney’s inclusion for the first time is a wildcard one and the sort of decision Southgate has been prepared to make as England manager.

While he has his senior players like Maguire, Kane and Sterling, he is more than willing to give chances to those knocking on the door.

He also continues to cast his net across Europe, with Abraham and Tomori impressing in Serie A and being noticed.

In contrast, it is a chance for some players to reinstate themselves on the international stage.

Dier is the headline name in that regard. His steady stream of caps – leading up to his current tally of 45 – stopped, but now he will be itching to make the World Cup squad.

Maguire also falls into the category of those trying to prove himself. Many foresaw his inclusion as a matter of protocol with Southgate.

However, he has barely played for United this term and has attracted criticism and the spotlight when he has.

Elsewhere, relative newcomers to the team in Bowen and Guehi will be looking to cement their places and prove to Southgate that they should be on the plane to Qatar.