England UEFA Nations League squad: biggest talking points from Gareth Southgate’s latest picks

Here is our reaction to Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad ahead of June’s Nation League matches.
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Gareth Southgate revealed his latest England squad this afternoon ahead of next month’s Nations League matches against Hungary, Germany and Italy.

The games are the Three Lions’ first since their international friendlies in March and will come a matter of weeks after the Premier League season ended, with many players being thrown into contention after some excellent campaigns.

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England’s previous squad was met with plenty of criticism following the inclusion of the likes of Harry Maguire and Tyrone Mings, however it is clear that every squad announcement will disappoint someone or, in that case, a majority of football fans.

Southgate has once again made some controversial changes to his team ahead of June’s matches, however this time it is a much more promising looking side.

Here are four interesting points to take from today’s announcement...

Tomori in, Mings out

Despite a horrific season, Maguire remains in Southgate’s plans once again and it is obviously time to accept that it will remain that way, as the Manchester United captain is yet to disappoint in an England shirt.

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Mings, however, has failed to impress for either club or country this season but continued to be included.

It is a relief to see the centre-back dropped and even more of a relief to see Fikayo Tomori included.

The ex-Chelsea star has enjoyed a brilliant first campaign with AC Milan and lifted the Serie A trophy at the weekend, and so his absence would have been unforgiveable.

With Maguire likely to take one spot in a centre back pairing, the possibility of either Tomori or John Stones taking the other is much more promising.

How many right-backs do we need?

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I understand that right-back is arguably England’s strongest position and we could probably take about eight of them if we could, but does Southgate not realise we also need left-backs?

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Reece James, Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker will all battle it out for that position, while James Justin - who is primarily a right-back but has been playing on the left for Leicester - is the only left-sided defender in the squad.

It certainly seems a bit lop-sided for me and I would have definitely replaced Trippier with the likes of Kyle Walker-Peters, Aaron Cresswell or Matt Targett.

Bow down to Bowen

Thank god Jarrod Bowen is finally handed his golden opportunity!

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In Southgate’s defence, Bowen was sidelined during the previous international break, but it seems crazy that such a talent has only just received his first call-up.

The winger has picked up an impressive 18 goals and 11 assists in all competitions for West Ham this season and Southgate would have deservedly received a mammoth amount of stick if he hadn’t included him.

Hopefully Bowen gets plenty of minutes on the pitch over the three matches and can prove just why he should be heading to the World Cup in November.

Star trio missing

I am mostly pretty happy with Southgate’s squad but if I was to find something to complain about it would be the absence of Eric Dier, James Maddison and Jordan Henderson.

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The former has transformed into a completely different player under Antonio Conte and could have easily returned to the England squad for the first time in 18 months, however I would still favour Tomori if it had been between the two.

Maddison has been exceptional in the Premier League for a long time now, but he is a player that Southgate clearly doesn’t like.

Maddison has 12 goals and eight assists in the Premier League this season but will have to wait to earn his second international cap, with the 25-year-old yet to receive a call up since November 2019.

Finally, Jordan Henderson.

The Liverpool captain was injured for England’s Euro 2020 success, but certainly shouldn’t be forgotten as one of our best midfielders.

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The 31-year-old could potentially lead the Reds to their third trophy of the season this weekend, yet he can’t make it into Southgate’s squad?

Hopefully the boss is doing what he did with Kyle Walker in the last international break and giving other players a chance, because if Henderson isn’t on that plane to Qatar this winter then I will be baffled.

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