Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Shaw, Lingard back in England squad as Watkins wins first call-up

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 18 Mar 2021


Luke Shaw and Jesse Lingard have been recalled to the England squad for this month’s World Cup qualifiers.

There are also first call-ups for Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins and West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, who are the only uncapped players in the group.

Reece James, Phil Foden and Jude Bellingham have all been added after being left out of the Under-21 squad for the European Championship, along with Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka.

Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate, who also included John Stones in his selection, praised the resilence shown by the likes of Shaw and the Manchester City defender to bounce back into the fold after falling out of favour.

“I think often we talk about coaches and managers and the impact on players, but in the end you have to give players a lot of credit when they bounce back from disappointment, regain form,” he said. 

“That’s been a lot of soul-searching, hard work on the training pitch, and I think Luke and John deserve huge credit for that.

“His defending has been on the front foot, he’s been aggressive, shown great ambition in his attacking play. We know he’s got the quality. We’re excited. He’s earned his chance.”

Reflecting on the call-up for the in-form Watkins, Southgate explained his decision and touched upon the absence of Tammy Abraham and Patrick Bamford from the reckoning.

“There’s a number of positions where there are really close calls,” said Southgate. “We wanted an extra striker. Tammy hasn’t been involved for Chelsea, and both Ollie and Patrick in particular, their goals record has been good.

“We like their personalities. We like [Watkins’] pressing, speed and runs in behind. He’s got improvements to make in linking the game.

“That’s been a really close call because all of the things I’ve said about Ollie, I could say about Patrick as well. Patrick is a player we’re very much looking at.”

Bellingham was chosen despite concerns from Borussia Dortmund that he would be forced to quarantine upon his return to Germany, although Southgate conceded the 17-year-old is not likely to be involved.

“We’ve left him in the squad. At this moment in time it looks like we won’t be able to take him,” he said.

“But those rules can change and while we’re still investigating what’s possible, we wanted to name him in the squad.

“We’ve got a really good relationship with Dortmund and I’ve explained to Jude that it’s looking doubtful that he’ll be able to join up.”

Wolves defender Conor Coady keeps his place, as does Chelsea left-back Ben Chilwell, despite having recently struggled for game time under Thomas Tuchel.

Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse is selected, while Bamford’s Leeds United team-mate Kalvin Phillips, who made his debut last September, will be involved.

Southgate’s side face San Marino on March 25 before a game with Albania three days later. They then take on Poland on March 31.


England squad:

Dean Henderson (Manchester United), Sam Johnstone (West Brom), Nick Pope (Burnley); Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolves), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), Kyle Walker (Manchester City); Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jesse Lingard (West Ham), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United), Declan Rice (West Ham), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton); Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa).


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