Southgate’s decision to exclude Bellingham and Greenwood from the England squad…

Gareth Southgate has announced his England squad for the upcoming international break and as is always the case, there is plenty to talk about. Some players have made the cut despite not playing regular football recently or even with bad form whereas others, who are on form, will not be featuring. Here is a breakdown of the youngsters in and around the squad!

Starting first with the ones who have made the cut and it brings a lot of intrigue. Jadon Sancho was somewhat of a trendsetter in this modern era of football with his move to Dortmund and whilst he has now back on English shores, players continue to move around Europe more readily. The pair in question are Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham. The former Chelsea duo are now both plying their trade in Italy and have made an instant impact. Tomori displaced Milan captain Alessandro Romagnoli at the heart of Pioli’s defence, doing so well that they made his loan spell permanent. Tammy on the other hand, is in his first season abroad and under the stewardship of a familiar face in Jose Mourinho, he is repaying the faith. Roma in general have been an exciting team to watch and playing up front, Abraham has contributed to four goals thus far.

Seeing the likes of Bukayo Saka and Reece James feature is far from surprising as they are now becoming part of the furniture for Southgate, although James has since withdrawn. The competition for right back is significantly reduced with James and Trent Alexander-Arnold missing out due to injury, leaving Walker and Trippier. On the topic of Reece James, his Chelsea teammate Mason Mount may not have been playing all that much in recent games under Tuchel but he is still in the squad. Elsewhere in midfield is Phil Foden and Declan Rice when it comes to the younger players.

The aforementioned Jadon Sancho has yet to really see his Manchester United career take off for one reason or another. Many doubted the big money move that brought him to the Premier League with the Bundesliga again being looked down upon by close-minded English fans. Sancho has had the chances to perform but has sometimes looked lost- he is such an exceptional talent and it will come sooner rather than later though. That being said, Southgate has still kept him in the mix and it will be fascinating to see how prevalently, if at all, he features against Andorra and Hungary.

From a former Dortmund player to a current one as Jude Bellingham is exceeding expectations left, right and centre. He is still just a teenager yet, with the departures of Thomas Delaney and Sancho around him as well as some injuries, he has had to step up. It was the case under Edin Terzic and it remains the case under Marco Rose, Bellingham is a key cog in the Dortmund system. On top of this, he has become progressively more important for the national team. So why isn’t he in this squad? The obvious answer is workload. Bellingham is eighteen and has been playing pretty much non-stop for the last year or so. These aren’t do-or-die games and so his exclusion makes sense when you consider the bigger picture.

The same can be said for Mason Greenwood too, but only to some extent. He hasn’t been as influential for Man United in comparison to Bellingham and that shows in his minutes. There has been a lot written about how the duo aren’t in this squad to avoid burnout with how ever many years down the line in mind. Greenwood is yet to be afforded many chances with the national team whether it be just not getting picked or that Iceland incident, something which Foden was seemingly forgiven for quicker than Red Devils man.

Southgate’s balance of the younger players will always be eye-catching. A few are consistently featuring whereas others are being brought in and out. Whichever way you look at it, the future is bright…

Published by Jamie Rooke

Football through and through

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