Gareth Southgate has defended his decision to leave Aaron Wan-Bissaka and James Ward-Prowse out of his England squad for upcoming internationals against Czech Republic and Montenegro.
Crystal Palace right-back Wan-Bissaka, who actually played for DR Congo Under-20s has enjoyed a superb campaign and has already been linked with a summer move to the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal.
With Kieran Trippier struggling for form for Tottenham, the Palace youngster had been expected to push for a place in the squad but Southgate has kept faith in last summer’s stars.
I’m not prepared to pick players just to stop the possibility of other countries picking them,’ Southgate explained at his press conference on Wednesday afternoon. Aaron Wan-Bissaka is playing very well, and he’s really pushing to be in our squad, there’s no question. I could pick players, give them a cap, and stop them playing somewhere else but I don’t think that’s right.
Another player with a great shout to make the squad was Southampton midfielder Ward-Prowse, who has performed brilliantly since Ralph Hasenhuttl’s arrival netting in six of his last nine Premier League games.
We love Prowsey, I’ve been accused of being father of Prowsey over the years!’ joked Southgate, who made the midfielder his captain when in charge of the Under-21s. This most recent spell is his best spell since we capped him before and he is, I would say, a world-class deliverer of set plays. But he’s only recently got back into the team at Southampton.
It’s not a straight forward selection this one. We’re four months from our last game, and you could look at Fabian Delph and say he’s not been playing for Manchester City, but he was our best player against Croatia. ‘So trying to balance all that has been difficult this time, there’s no question, but we have qualified for a semi-final in the summer.
It would be strange to make huge changes to that squad. But we’ve added another young player in Declan Rice and we know that there are some players just on the fringes that we would never hesitate to call in, both in terms of their ability but also in the case of James Ward-Prowse, his character as well. He is absolutely the sort of character you want around the squad.