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Southgate never considered Sterling Under-21 call

SoccerNews in English Premier League 20 May 2015

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Gareth Southgate explained that he never considered Raheem Sterling for England’s squad at the European Under-21 Championship because of his regular commitments with the senior team.

Liverpool forward Sterling was eligible for selection, as were the likes of Everton’s Ross Barkley and Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

However, Under-21 coach Southgate believes that it would have been unfair to draft in regulars with the senior squad at the expense of a nucleus of players who earned England qualification for the tournament in the Czech Republic.

“No we never thought about that. Raheem played before last summer for us and we feel he’s been a regular first-choice pick for the senior team,” Southgate said.

Southgate was also grateful to England manager Roy Hodgson for his help in selecting the squad, particularly with the senior team set to play the Republic of Ireland and Slovenia next month, before the start of the Under-21s venture.

“This squad I’ve worked very closely with Roy on. We’ve talked about what is right for each player, what is the right experience,” he added.

“Clearly there’s a couple of players here he could have taken with him in June but he wants to look long term at what’s better for the youngsters to come into his squad and that’s been really refreshing.”

Luke Shaw is also a notable omission from Southgate’s 27-man party, with the Manchester United full-back not fit enough to join the squad.

“I’ve spoken with Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal,” Southgate added. “Medically he is not going to be fit. We were always going to lose someone to fitness and, hopefully, he will be the only one.”

England start their tournament against Portugal on June 18, before playing further group matches against Sweden and Italy.

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