Maddison in but Grealish misses out – 5 talking points as England squad named
Gareth Southgate has named his England squad for the upcoming European Championship qualifiers against Montenegro and Kosovo.
The Three Lions host Montenegro on November 14 – which will be England’s 1,000th international – before travelling to Pristina three days later, with Southgate’s side needing just one point to secure their place at Euro 2020.
John Stones, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Callum Hudson-Odoi have earned recalls by Southgate, with James Maddison and Fikayo Tomori the only uncapped players in the 27-man squad.
Here, the PA news agency looks at the talking points surrounding England’s selections.
Southgate gambles on Maddison
The England boss remained coy on whether the Leicester midfielder would be in the November squad when Maddison was pictured in a casino shortly after his withdrawal from the squad through illness last month.
Southgate said Maddison, who was out until the early hours of the morning before England’s 2-1 loss in the Czech Republic, learned a valuable lesson about the increased spotlight surrounding the player and vowed to speak to him ahead of the upcoming games.
However, Maddison’s fine form for Leicester – who sit third in the Premier League table – could not be ignored and he remains part of Southgate’s plans.
England’s 147-year heritage recognised
Wembley will host England’s 1,000th international match when Montenegro come to visit on November 14 and will celebrate by wearing legacy numbers.
Every player to represent the Three Lions in the last 147 years will have their own number, with most-recently capped Tyrone Mings wearing the number 1,244.
The legacy number will be printed under the badge for the Montenegro game after special dispensation by UEFA, with England retaining the numbers following the November 14 clash, but with them moved to the collar. Maddison and Tomori are the only players in the squad without a number at present.
Grealish misses out again
The Aston Villa captain looked a shoo-in for the England squad after some fine displays in central midfield.
Grealish has two goals and three assists from 10 Premier League appearances this season and could be the creative spark that England fans crave in the middle of the park.
The 24-year-old missed his side’s dramatic 2-1 defeat to Liverpool last week due to a calf injury, which could have played a part in Southgate’s thinking, but it is still surprising to see Grealish’s name omitted from the squad list.
Chelsea’s young stars continue to shine
Frank Lampard’s opportunity to use Chelsea’s academy products due to their transfer ban appears to be benefiting the Three Lions.
Winger Callum Hudson-Odoi has been recalled by Southgate following his recovery from a serious Achilles injury to join team-mates Ross Barkley, Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham in the England fold.
The latter three have been a mainstay in the Chelsea side which sit fourth in the Premier League and top Group H in the Champions League.
There is a concern over the fitness of Mount, who limped with an ankle injury during midweek’s crazy 4-4 draw at home to Ajax, but Barkley has been a favourite of Southgate in recent times and could cement his place in the starting line-up at Wembley.
Tomori to get his chance?
The Chelsea centre-back was selected for October’s international break but could not force his way into team to make his England debut.
However, his chances of making his first appearance seemed to have improved with England needing just one point to qualify for Euro 2020 and, if they defeat Montenegro, then Southgate could ring the changes for the trip to Kosovo.
Michael Keane, who started in the 2-1 defeat in Prague, has not been selected this time around but Manchester City defender John Stones has been recalled following a return from injury, while Mings was picked ahead of him for the Bulgaria match.