England boss Gareth Southgate is under increasing pressure to get a result from tonight’s Nations League tie with Germany- three days after a 1-0 loss to Italy at the San Siro.
The Three Lions could make it six matches without a win ahead of November’s World Cup, while Southgate’s decision-making and team selections remain under scrutiny.
The 52-year-old has already been heavily criticised by some for ‘picking favourites’ in his latest squad, while a number of in-form players were forced to watch on from home.
Southgate’s popularity among England supporters has now taken a fruther downturn, with early team news ahead of Germany revealing a number of fan favourites set to miss out on the matchday squad.
While Brentford’s Ivan Toney could make his international debut after being left out on Friday, Southgate has omitted Trent Alexander-Arnold, Fikayo Tomori, James Ward-Prowse and Jarrod Bowen.
Here is our verdict on the four key decisions, ahead of England’s last match before the World Cup.
Alexander-Arnold’s inclusion in the England squad has been one of the most discussed topics ahead of the World Cup.
It would be understandable if the Liverpool defender missed out on Qatar if he continues his poor form in the Premier League, however there’s a clear case to be made for his attacking attributes benefiting England - a side struggling to score goals - and earning him a place on the plane.
In regards to being left out for tonight’s match, why call him up if he’s unable to stake a claim for Qatar with a strong pre-tournament showing?
Going on the basis of this decision, Southgate doesn’t intend on including him in his World Cup squad.
Leaving out Tomori could be seen as the most controversial of the four.
The AC Milan centre-back has been a regular for the Italian club and helped them win the Serie A title last season, however he continues to be overlooked by Southgate.
It’s a perplexing decision given England’s recent struggles at the back - especially with Harry Maguire in it - so the reasoning in calling up Tomori and then not giving him a single minute of action across both games is eyebrow-raising to say the least.
The ex-Chelsea defender’s exclusion will do nothing to quell the rage of supporters claiming Southgate is once again slipping into picking ‘favourites’ rather than basing his decisions on form.
A bewildering decision which is surely impossible to defend.
England’s central midfield is arguably one of the squad’s weakest areas, with options behind Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice looking sparse.
Man City’s Kalvin Phillips could miss the tournament completely, Jordan Henderson’s injury record is concerning and Mason Mount is completely out of form.
So why is James Ward-Prowse, a brilliant midfielder, not getting a single minute on the pitch in this interntional break?
It could be contended that the Southampton star’s free-kick ability alone is enough to send him Qatar, and his omission tonight is a concerning sign that he won’t make the World Cup squad.
Jarrod Bowen being left out is certainly the least surprising - in fact it was less surprising than his inclusion in the first place.
The West Ham winger has zero goal contributions this season and should never have been called up in the first place.
Southgate now leaving him out of the squad makes it even more frustrating that the likes of Jadon Sancho and James Maddison were left at home, when Bowen pretty much just wasted a space in the squad.
It was the right decision not to include him tonight, which highlights how completely wrong Southgate was in bringing him along for the international break in the first place.