Southampton’s Nathan Redmond was the surprise name in England manager Gareth Southgate’s initial squad for the Nations League Finals.
The Three Lions boss named a 27-man group ahead of this summer’s inaugural finals in Portugal, although the squad will need to be cut down to 23 by May 27.
Unsurprisingly, there were no uncapped players in Southgate’s selection, but there was a shock call-up for Redmond.
Overlooked since winning his only England cap in March 2017, the 25-year-old scooped the Player of the Year double at Saints’ end-of-year awards after a fine campaign.
England captain Harry Kane has been selected by Southgate, despite an ankle ligament injury, while Harry Winks has also got the nod after groin surgery.
— England (@England) May 16, 2019
There was no place for Ruben Loftus-Cheek after suffering a nasty-looking ankle injury playing in a friendly for Chelsea on Wednesday, but fellow midfielders Declan Rice and James Ward-Prowse were included.
Jesse Lingard and Joe Gomez returned to the squad, while Luke Shaw and James Tarkowski were left out.
Southgate believes Redmond deserved his return to the England fold after a strong finish to the season.
Redmond scored nine goals in the second half of the season to put him back into Southgate’s thoughts.
Southgate said: “I think he finished the season really well. I think the new manager has had a positive effect: a lot of pace, playing the high press and he has started to score more regularly.
“It is a really good opportunity for Nathan.”
Southgate also explained his reasons for the inclusion of captain Kane and Winks, despite the Tottenham duo currently being sidelined by injury.
“For the likes of Harry Winks, he deserves to named in the initial squad. It is a case that he hasn’t played for a couple of months so we will have to see,” Southgate said.
“That’s (Kane’s fitness) one of the unknowns. He’s working to be fit for the (Champions League) final. We are keeping that door open. We are going to look post-Champions League final. There is the physical aspect and emotional aspect of that final that we have to look at.
“I don’t think we have had a time where we haven’t had a lot of pull outs but we have a really strong squad. We will know more by that date [May 27] but we can make changes after that date.”