Gareth Southgate has named his first England squad since November for upcoming Nations League games against Iceland and Denmark.
The Three Lions manager has not taken charge of an international match since the nation beat Kosovo 4-0 in a Euro qualifier nine months ago.
He has now had the balancing act of mixing congested club schedules with fitness demands and form anomalies ahead of the upcoming Nations League matches.
Gareth Southgate England squad announcement: Five things to know…
- Gareth Southgate has named his first England squad of 2020 for September’s Nations League matches.
- The Three Lions will pit their wits away to Iceland on September 5, before travelling to Denmark on September 8.
- Next month’s matches will be the first international games played by England since November 2019.
- The inclusion of Man Utd and Man City players means they will have had just 13 and 14 days’ rest respectively from their European campaigns when they link up with the squad at St George’s Park on Sunday.
- A major talking point is the inclusion of Man Utd captain Harry Maguire, who was later withdrawn.
Sticking with his policy to promote up-and-coming players, Southgate has included various young players, including Man City’s Phil Foden and Man Utd’s Mason Greenwood. They are joined with debut call-ups alongside Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips and a return to the reckoning for Danny Ings.
Harry Maguire also made the 24-man squad initially before being withdrawn, while there are also places in the selection for James Ward-Prowse of Southampton and Man Utd goalkeeper Dean Henderson.
Strangely, there appears to be a lack of left-back options within the squad, suggesting Southgate may opt to play someone out of position – or has identified someone who he would like to trial in a new role.
England squad: in full
Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Eric Dier, Joe Gomez, Michael Keane, Harry Maguire, Tyrone Mings, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker
Midfielders: Phil Foden, Mason Mount, Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice, James Ward-Prowse, Harry Winks
Forwards: Tammy Abraham, Mason Greenwood, Danny Ings, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling
Here is your first #ThreeLions squad of the year! ?
Gareth Southgate has named a 24-man squad for next month’s #NationsLeague games against Iceland and Denmark.
— England (@England) August 25, 2020
The quartet of Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ben Chilwell and Luke Shaw have all been omitted from the squad owing to various injury and fitness problems ahead of the forthcoming Premier League season.
Other nations have not hesitated to include players from clubs who were competing in European competition earlier this month. David de Gea, Eric Garcia and Rodri have all been included in Spain’s squad, while Ivan Perisic, who appeared in the Champions League final on Sunday, has been called up for Croatia.
In case you’ve forgotten how the Nations League works….
As with last year’s inaugural Nations League the 2020/21 season consists of 55 nations divided up between four leagues, with the highest ranked nations placed into League A and the lowest ranked nations placed into League D.
Those four leagues are then split up into four pots of four, except for League D, which contains one pot of four and one of three. England have been placed into Group A2, which also features September’s opponents Iceland and Denmark, as well as Belgium.
A first place finish results in qualification to the Nations League finals, while a spot at the bottom of will mean relegation to League B, so plenty to play for.