Gareth Southgate’s England squad announcement deserves criticism for noteable absences
Gareth Southgate announced his England squad for the final two World Cup qualifiers this afternoon.
Whether a certain player deserves a call-up or not, supporters of each team will have been vying for their heroes to get a place in their team due to that absolute screamer they scored a few weeks ago or the superb save they made last time out.
However, it is fair to say today’s announcement probably deserves some of the complaints it has been getting since the 2pm reveal ahead of England’s final two World Cup qualifiers versus Albania and San Marino.
Southgate’s selection of goalkeepers in Jordan Pickford, Sam Johnstone and Aaron Ramsdale is unquestionable - especially given the latter’s current form for Arsenal.
Meanwhile, his defensive options are the ones that have been mostly criticised - and rightly so.
Conor Coady and Tyrone Mings have been a constant in the England squad in recent times and the Aston Villa man’s appearance in the team definitely sends out the wrong message from the Three Lions boss.
Mings is likely to be included as he is one of few left-footed centre-backs, however he has been poor for Villa and was dropped from their starting line-up against West Ham at the weekend.
The 28-year-old has conceded ten goals in his last three appearances for Dean Smith’s side and the West Midlands club currently sit in 15th place - only three points from the bottom three.
Questions probably wouldn’t have been asked of Mings’ inclusion quite as much if Arsenal’s Ben White wasn’t enjoying such an impressive spell of form.
The former Brighton & Hove Albion defender has been brilliant for the Gunners this season as they have looked to turn things around following a disappointing start to the campaign.
The centre-back has claimed four clean sheets in the league so far and has been vital in Arsenal’s climb back up the table - a much more positive showing than both Mings and Conor Coady.
Meanwhile, White’s Arsenal teammate Emile Smith-Rowe also misses out which has raised eyebrows.
The midfielder is yet to earn his first senior England cap and given his recent form of five goal involvements in ten league outings he had been tipped for a place in England’s latest squad.
If the 21-year-old keeps it up he will no doubt feature in an England shirt in the very near future, but he is one name that should definitely have been mentioned in today’s announcement.
One positive is the recall of Jude Bellingham who has been exceptional for Borussia Dortmund as of late and was equally as impressive in his previous appearances for his country - however Southgate’s decision to not include him for the matches against Hungary and Andorra was questionable in itself.
Granted, the last time I complained about Southgate’s squad selection we went on to reach the Euro 2020 final - however, it is very hard not to criticise a manager who so often implies his eagerness to choose players based on their current form.