Gareth Southgate has announced his latest England squad for March’s international friendlies — and there were naturally some eye-catching inclusions and omissions.
The Three Lions play their first match since their World Cup elimination against France next Thursday, an Euro 2024 qualification fixture away to Italy. They are at home against Ukraine the following Sunday.
England’s 25-man squad vs Italy and Ukraine
Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford (Everton), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal), Nick Pope (Newcastle United)
Defenders: Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle United), Kyle Walker (Manchester City)
Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), James Maddison (Leicester City), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City), Declan Rice (West Ham)
Forwards: Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Ivan Toney (Brenrford)
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Ivan Toney is the headline inclusion. The Brentford striker has scored 16 Premier League goals this season, in addition to three assists. It means only Erling Haaland and Harry Kane have been directly involved in more Premier League goals this season.
Raheem Sterling is not included, which is presumed to be injury related.
Trent Alexander-Arnold was dropped, too, with Southgate explaining to reporters: “This is a time in the season when you don’t want to carry too many if they’re not going to play because they can have a break and re-energise.
“We always give clarity to those that have missed out.”
Ben White, who has played over 2,000 league minutes in Arsenal’s table-topping side this season, did not make the cut. Harry Maguire, with less than a quarter of White’s Premier League playing time (479) managed to keep his place despite his substitute status under Erik ten Hag at Manchester United.