Jadon Sancho has been left out of England’s squad by Gareth Southgate but Marcus Rashford, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Harry Maguire and Jude Bellingham have been included for the final World Cup qualifiers.
Sancho’s poor form and lack of game time for Manchester United have caught up with him after he was selected last month regardless. There is no place for Jesse Lingard, Ollie Watkins, Kieran Trippier or Fikayo Tomori for the games at home to Albania and away to San Marino.
Sancho has no goals and no assists in 12 appearances in all competitions for United. Maguire’s form for the club has been poor, too, but he is back after missing recent internationals because of injury. Rashford is included for the first time since Euro 2020 after recovering from shoulder surgery and Reece James is also back after being forced to withdraw from the previous squad.
Southgate said Bellingham had been left out last time at the 18-year-old’s request, the midfielder feeling he “needed a break”. The manager noted the development of Emile Smith Rowe, Conor Gallagher and Marc Guéhi in particular but said although they were playing well they had not done enough to dislodge existing squad members.
Trippier, he explained, had not been selected in order to give an opportunity to James and Alexander-Arnold. On Lingard and Sancho he said: “They just are not playing a lot of football compared to the players in their position. I know people say I am inconsistent but I think I am actually quite consistent – if you are playing regularly you have a better chance of us assessing you. Both of them totally understand it. They know they have to get playing for their club. I am sure they will get back with us.”
Mason Greenwood, another United player, again has no place in the squad. Southgate said he had met the forward in September and had “a very good discussion” but that the 20-year-old was not in his thoughts at the moment.
“He’s at a massive football club with a lot of expectation,” he said, “and we don’t want to move too quickly. He feels he’s got huge competition to establish himself at his club. And he recognised that that is a big part of making your way in international football anyway.”