Why Jadon Sancho’s absence from Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad makes no sense
England will face Italy and Germany in the UEFA Nations League over the next couple of weeks, but Jadon Sancho won’t be involved
No England manager will ever pull off the feat making a squad announcement and keeping everyone happy. However, there are some decisions that deserve to be questioned.
The anger sparked by Harry Maguire’s inclusion was inevitable, and enough opinion columns have been dedicated to complaining about his call-ups, so we will move on.
The latest frustration comes in the absence of Manchester United’s Jadon Sancho, who seemingly looked all set for a recall to the squad after an impressive start to the season.
The forward has looked significantly better than in the previous campaign and has been vital in the Red Devils’ resurgence in recent weeks - however, that is apparently not convincing enough for Southgate.
England’s boss has instead opted to keep Jarrod Bowen in the squad - a decision that would have definitely been a wise one six months ago.
The West Ham star earned himself a place in the team due to his spectacular 22 goal contributions in the Premier League, however he is yet to claim a single goal or an assist this time around, and has been part of an underperforming Irons side.
On this evidence, it’s hard to make an argument in favour of the choice to call Bowen up ahead of Sancho at such a critical stage in England’s World Cup preparations.
Maguire’s position can be excused as he has plenty of vital experience in the England squad, going deep into major tournaments with some gutsy displays, but this simply isn’t the case with Bowen.
Sancho featured in the 2020 Euros for the Three Lions and, while he missed, took a penalty in the final against Italy - could he actually be any more prepared for the struggles that this winter’s World Cup could throw at him?
Of course, the winger’s absence in the latest squad doesn’t mean he won’t be called up for the World Cup, but that makes it even more baffling that Southgate has picked Bowen ahead of him.
The Red Devils ace could prove to be a real asset for England alongside Marcus Rashford in Qatar and should his form continue he could yet be handed the opportunity - so why not give him a chance to prove himself in the Nations League and bed back into the side?
Southgate’s decisions seem to become more and more questionable, but his unprecedented, relative success at the big tournaments continues to afford him a protection from criticism he may otherwise not enjoy.
The England boss undoubtedly provided some brilliant memories at the 2018 World Cup and 2020 Euros, but he can’t just continue to stick with his ‘favourites’ and instead needs to start calling up players based on their current form.
Sancho endured potentially some of the worst emotional pain he will suffer in his football career after missing that penalty at Wembley Stadium - let him use that pain and anger to spur England on to victory this winter.