Gareth Southgate has named his 24-man squad to face Iceland and Denmark in the UEFA Nations League next month and we look at a few controversial decisions.
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What About the Left-back Position?
The squad is without any natural left-backs and there’s little the coach could do since the likes of Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell are injured. I thought this was the best time to call up Manchester United’s Brendan Williams or the versatile Bukayo Saka who is left-footed and has played in that position for the Gunners.
I’m not a fan of Kyle Walker or Trent Alexander-Arnold operating on the wrong side of the field. England might go for the 3-4-3 formation they employed in the 2018 FIFA World Cup which would make it interesting to see who gets deployed as a left wing-back.
Does Maguire’s Call Up Make Sense?
Maguire is currently stuck in Greece due to his ongoing trial and for England’s sake I hope he will be released in the nick of time for these games. Southgate says he’s been able to communicate with the player and he believes he will be a free man soon. He also expresses his openness to reviewing his decision should the case results not go the way he wants.
This is a risky move by the coach but hopefully it pays off. I personally would have left him out because he might need a few days to regain match fitness and the first game is happening in 10 days’ time.
Was Jack Grealish’s Omission Expected?
This is one decision I really don’t understand since Grealish has created the second most number of chances in the English Premier League this season. All the other midfielders who cracked the nod bar Mason Mount are too similar and his creativity would have given the squad a different dimension.
England’s 24-man squad:
Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson, Nick Pope, Jordan Pickford
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Kyle Walker, Eric Dier, Harry Maguire, Michael Keane, Tyrone Mings, Kieran Trippier
Midfielders: Phil Foden, Mason Mount, Jordan Henderson, Declan Rice, Kalvin Phillips, James Ward-Prowse, Harry Winks
Forwards: Tammy Abraham, Marcus Rashford, Danny Ings, Mason Greenwood, Harry Kane, Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling