HomeSportsFootball6 potential England candidates currently being overlooked by Gareth Southgate

6 potential England candidates currently being overlooked by Gareth Southgate


England squad announcements always cause a fair bit of debate over who is in who shouldn’t be in the eyes of some, and who has been undeservedly ignored by the manager.

While this list isn’t claiming they all should be in the squad right now, there are certainly a few players who might think they are doing enough to catch Gareth Southgate’s eye and even performing better on a weekly basis than some of those called up this week.

Of course, there’s more to picking a squad than just the form guide, and the England boss has carefully cultivated the atmosphere and group hierarchy, which he clearly takes into account almost as much as players who can win the upcoming fixtures.

For clarity, Arsenal attacking midfielder Emile Smith Rowe would have made the list after a strong start to the campaign – but on Monday he was called up to the senior squad from the U21s on account of the number of players unavailable to Southgate.

Here, in position order, are six who will hope their chance comes sooner rather than later with the Three Lions.

Nick Pope

Starting in goal, Nick Pope is actually the second-most experienced option available to Southgate, with seven caps to his name so far, but is outside the top three reckoning this season after being omitted from successive squads.

He also missed Euro 2020 through injury and a poor start with Burnley has perhaps left him with work to do – despite feeling he has had an upturn in fortunes of late.

The No1 shirt has frequently appeared to be a battle between Jordan Pickford and someone over the last few years – Pope, then Dean Henderson, now Aaron Ramsdale – but at least the Clarets’ stopper can see a route back into the squad in future. And, compared to some on the list, at least he’s already had some reasonable participation.

Fikayo Tomori

Starting and starring for AC Milan would have been good enough for immediate inclusion back in the day, but things have changed and there’s a lot of competition for places at centre-back.

Former Chelsea man Tomori said his move to Serie A had paid off when he was called up in October, but despite making an appearance off the bench against Andorra and playing every bit as well since then domestically – including a strong performance in the derby draw with Inter at the weekend – he is back out of favour with Southgate.

Tomori has the physical attributes which make him a tough opponent to get past, has the technical assurance in his game to seem a great fit for England’s passing-out approach and is inarguably playing at a much higher level, in Continental competition too, compared to the likes of Wolves’ Conor Coady or Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings.

And he isn’t the only early-20s centre-back trying to push his way to the front of the queue.

Ezri Konsa

As for Mings, his inclusion over team-mate Ezri Konsa has been a puzzling one for some time, in truth.

Sure, Mings is the more experienced, seen as one of the leaders and is a bit of a balancing act with his left foot, but Konsa was also very clearly the superior performer out of the two when partnered post-lockdown in Villa’s survival season, and again for the entirety of 2020/21.

Now in a three this season both players have struggled somewhat more and poor Villa results saw Dean Smith sacked, but it was Mings who made way from the XI as his showings were well below-par.

It’s never going to be as simple as one player from one team for the squad, but in a direct comparison it’s puzzling that Konsa has had no involvement while Mings has picked up 15 caps and been present in many more squads.

(Getty Images)

Trevoh Chalobah

Along with 24-year-old Konsa, the likes of Joe Gomez (24) and Benjamin White (24) are others who have been in and around the England squad without quite making themselves a home yet.

One who is steaming up behind them ready to push for inclusion over the next couple of seasons looks like Chelsea’s 22-year-old starlet Trevoh Chalobah. He’s still in and out of the team, and even moved between centre-back and central midfield at times, so it’s only natural he hasn’t jumped ahead of everybody else in the queue for an England call-up – but had there been a friendly or two in this international break he might well be one Southgate was keen to see up close.

To earn game time for Thomas Tuchel’s European champions underlines the quality Chalobah has and his determination and diligent approach to his defensive work is on show every time he’s on the pitch.

Conor Gallagher

Moving further forward, Smith Rowe’ s eventual call-up leaves the search for the next next thing elsewhere. Curtis Jones might be an option but he’s only just starting out with the U21s and has had injury issues this season – but Crystal Palace’s Conor Gallagher has been an ever-present in the line-up after the opening game of the campaign which he was ineligible for.

The on-loan starlet has shown a fantastic knack for getting into the penalty area and creating chances for himself and others, a more forceful, driving-on attacking midfielder from deep than current England options such as Mason Mount for example, who tends to hold his ground a little more outside the box.

(Getty Images)

Good ball retention, an aggressive style off the ball and fine work rate in a demanding side all mark Gallagher as one to watch this term, domestically and potentially on the international stage. This is his big breakout season in the top flight on the evidence so far, but midfield is hugely competitive for England – he needs to overachieve to get near the squad, essentially.

Jarrod Bowen

In the forward line, West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen must feel he’s doing all he can to get noticed by the national team boss. He’s the only English attacker who ranks in the top 10 for each of shots, dribbles and key passes per game so far this season and his side are third in the Premier League.

Manchester United pair Jadon Sancho and Mason Greenwood are arguably rivals for the right-sided role in England’s attack but neither of them are in the current squad – and Bowen still doesn’t appear to be particularly close, with Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden and perhaps Raheem Sterling all capable of lining up in that role, though the latter usually features on the opposite flank.

Bowen has scored more in the Premier League this term than Sterling, has assisted more than Foden and played more minutes than both of them combined – but for now Southgate has continued to opt for a settled group who he knows the traits of before looking to the wider pool ahead of a particularly important pair of games.

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