First cap in almost two years on cards for ‘aggressive’ England star, as trio return to squad

Date published: Thursday 30th September 2021 3:01 - Jonny Whitfield

Gareth Southgate clapping during Hungary v England

Defender Fikayo Tomori make his first England appearance in almost two years following his inclusion in manager Gareth Southgate’s latest squad.

The AC Milan defender, who has impressed since his transfer from Chelsea, has replaced Harry Maguire. The Manchester United centre-back faces a few weeks out with a calf injury.

Leeds striker Patrick Bamford has also missed out through injury. As such, Aston Villa marksman Ollie Watkins comes into the side.

In the final addition, goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale – who has become Arsenal’s number one in recent weeks – takes Nick Pope’s place.

Meanwhile, Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold has not made it because of a groin problem.

But Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden has returned following a foot injury.

As for Tomori’s inclusion, he earned his first and only cap in November 2019. He played against Kosovo in the final Three Lions game before the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

The 23-year-old moved to Milan this summer and has played both their Champions League games so far this season.

Southgate said of Tomori: “I thought he finished last season well.

Alexis Saelemaekers, Fikayo Tomori AC Milan

“He’s playing at a club where there’s an expectation to win every week so he’s performing under pressure.

“I like Fikayo in terms of his aggressiveness as a defender. Because he’s got speed he’s confident enough to defend on the front foot and his use of the ball is improving all the time.”

Ramsdale is another player to have taken a step up at club level following his move to Arsenal this summer.

Southgate said the goalkeeper’s “move to a bigger club” from Sheffield United was an “important factor” in his recent form and subsequent inclusion.

Southgate explains Bellingham, Greenwood absences

Mason Greenwood celebrates after scoring for Manchester United.

However, Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham, 18, and Mason Greenwood, 20 on Friday, missed out again.

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reportedly asked for Greenwood not to feature.

Southgate said: “They don’t come as a pair but they’re both in similar situations. They are young players with heavy workloads at the moment.

“I’ve spoken to both of them. Jude at the moment is playing a high level of matches with Champions League games, league games.

“As an 18-year-old he had a full season last season and then into the Euros with no break. We have to remember these lads are still physically growing so when we talk about young player development we have to be really careful in how we handle them.

“These are two players we think can be really exciting for England’s future. We don’t want to overload them, we want to make sure we are making the right decisions with them.”

England play Andorra next Saturday before facing Hungary on October 12, both in World Cup qualifiers.


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