Liverpool man and Chelsea attacker miss England squad as Southgate calls on Toney and Guehi
Gareth Southgate has named his England squad ahead of their Euro 2024 qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine, with a number of changes made since the World Cup.
Two players have been recalled to the Three Lions’ 25-man squad, while Southgate has left out three others in a bombshell decision.
After being defeated in the World Cup quarter-finals, the upcoming European Championships may be the manager’s last chance to guide England to their first major trophy since 1966.
As confirmed by the England Twitter page, Ben White, Raheem Sterling and Trent Alexander-Arnold have all been left out of the England squad.
Sterling, in particular, has been very disappointing this season after making the switch from Manchester City to Chelsea last summer.
Overall, in 26 appearances this term, the 28-year-old has scored seven goals in 26 appearances, with the Blues currently sitting in a disappointing tenth place in the Premier League table.
Similar to Sterling, Alexander-Arnold has also struggled for consistency this season, with the usual questions raised over his defensive ability.
Additionally, the Liverpool full-back has made significantly fewer goal contributions than he had at this point last term, with just one goal and two assists in the Premier League so far.
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Ben White dropped by Southgate
Perhaps the biggest shock, though, is that Southgate has chosen to leave out Arsenal defender Ben White.
The Gunners are currently five points clear at the top of the Premier League table and in with a fantastic chance of lifting their first title since 2004, thanks in part to White’s performances.
The 25-year-old has made 27 appearances in the Premier League this season, scoring one goal and making two assists while generally playing out of position as a right-back.
While Takehiro Tomiyasu has been afforded more minutes recently, Mikel Arteta has still utilised White often in recent games, notably scoring a crucial goal in Arsenal’s comeback win against Bournemouth.
However, with two new defenders coming into Southgate’s squad, the manager may have thought that there were too many players in White’s position, hence the decision to drop him.
Reece James, Marc Guehi and Ivan Toney in for England
Coming into the England squad is Chelsea right-back Reece James (whose return likely led to White being dropped), Crystal Palace centre-back Marc Guehi and Brentford centre-forward Ivan Toney.
James has certainly shown his quality for the Three Lions in the past, after being left out of last year’s World Cup squad due to injury.
However, even when he was in the Euro 2020 squad, Southgate only played him in one match, so it will be interesting to see if he gets more opportunities in the upcoming Euro qualifiers.
Ivan Toney certainly deserves his spot after being in outstanding goal-scoring form for Brentford this season, despite the controversy surrounding him off the pitch.
🆕 Ivan Toney
❌ Trent Alexander-Arnold
Gareth Southgate names his England squad for their Euro 2024 qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine 🏴
Thoughts on the team? pic.twitter.com/j9lJ2TJGHh
— TEAMtalk (@TEAMtalk) March 16, 2023
The 26-year-old has scored an impressive 16 Premier League goals this term, only trailing Erling Haaland and England captain Harry Kane in the race for the Golden Boot.
Kane will no doubt still be Southgate’s first choice, so it will be interesting to see how Toney fits into his lineup.
Finally, Guehi has been picked by Southgate before, but it is definitely quite a surprise to see him named in his latest squad, considering Crystal Palace’s current form.
The Eagles have failed to win in their last 11 league matches, plunging them into a relegation battle.
With that in mind, Guehi will need to turn around his form ahead of England’s matches against Italy and Ukraine, if he wants to break into the starting XI.
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