By Ben Willcocks For Mailonline
Recap Mail Sport’s live coverage of England’s squad announcement on Wednesday, which saw Gareth Southgate drop Raheem Sterling for next month’s clashes with Malta and North Macedonia.
That concludes today’s live coverage of England’s squad announcement, but be sure to keep your eyes peeled for more news and stories on Mail Sport’s home page.
Bye for now!
As we knew already, Toney was not selected as part of Southgate’s 26-man squad because of his eight-month ban for breaching the FA’s betting rules – but it didn’t stop reporters asking the England boss for his perspective on the situation.
Concerned about the forward’s mental health, Southgate questioned why Toney isn’t allowed to train with his club during the suspension and offered his support.
He also urged that the ban would not rule Toney out of contention for Euro 2024 next summer, even though he is out until January of next year.
Read more on what the Three Lions boss said below…
With Manchester City’s Champions League finalists set for a rest against Malta, Southgate will be without five of his key players against Group C’s bottom-placed side next month.
While guarding against complacency is important, the Malta clash surely offers Southgate an opportunity to try out new personnel in various positions, especially with City’s players ready to return versus North Macedonia.
While any Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale and Sam Johnstone could be selected between the posts, expect Southgate to choose Pickford for consistency against the Maltese before shaking things up in the second game with Ramsdale.
Considering Harry Maguire’s lack of minutes at Manchester United this season, it’s likely the England boss will hand the defender his vote of confidence with a starting spot, perhaps alongside former favourite Tyrone Mings.
Southgate has never seemed a huge fan of Trent Alexander-Arnold and is therefore likely to select Kieran Trippier at right-back over him, with Luke Shaw on the other flank as the only natural left-back in the squad.
Further forward is anyone’s guess, but Jude Bellingham is surely a shoe-in in midfield following his sensational campaign with current Bundesliga title favourites Borussia Dortmund.
Rashford’s injury in March forced the England boss to hold back his three-pronged attack of Kane, Saka and the Manchester United winger, so there’s every chance he unleashed it on Malta to see how destructive they can be.
Now that you’ve seen the squad, who do you think will start against Malta next month?
Despite handing call-ups to Lewis Dunk, Tyrone Mings and Eberechi Eze, Southgate has snubbed a handful of contenders in favour of tried and tested regulars such as Jordan Henderson and Harry Maguire.
Jamie Carragher urged the England boss to select Morgan Gibbs-White after a flurry of superb performances at the City Ground – which led to Steve Cooper’s side securing promotion – but the midfielder has been avoided on this occasion.
Mail Sport revealed earlier this week that Southgate had made contact with Ben White over a possible return after the defender mysteriously left England’s World Cup squad midway through the tournament in Qatar. It seems he doesn’t want to rejoin the camp, at least yet…
Newcastle left-back Dan Burn may also count himself unlucky to miss out after guiding the Magpies to a Champions League place next season with impressive displays.
Manchester United star Marcus Rashford is expected to return against Chelsea, and Southgate has thus opted to select the free-scoring forward in his England squad.
Rashford withdrew from international duty before England’s clashes against Italy and Ukraine in March but should be in contention to start for the Three Lions after recovering from injury and illness.
Read more on Rashford’s recovery below…
Southgate recalls Liverpool veteran Jordan Henderson, out-of-favour Manchester United defender Harry Maguire and out-of-form Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher, while Lewis Dunk and Tyrone Mings come back in after impressive spells at Brighton and Aston Villa respectively.
The manager has decided to bring along his five Manchester City stars despite his plans to rest them against Malta. Eberechi Eze’s fruitful performances at Crystal Palace have been rewarded with a call-up also.
#YoungLions ➡️ #ThreeLions
Well done to @EbereEze10 on his first senior call up! pic.twitter.com/N9IB2YE8IK
Here we go.
Your #ThreeLions squad for June! 🏴
Mail Sport can reveal that the Brighton defender is set for his first call-up in five years this afternoon.
The Seagulls skipper has marshalled his side to a historic Europa League finish this campaign and was backed to make the England squad by Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi.
The boss said: ‘He deserves to play in the national team. It’s not my work to decide the players of the national team but for us it should be a target. I hope he can play in the national team.’
Read more on Dunk’s call-up below…
In case you missed the news, Brentford striker Ivan Toney has been banned for eight months for breaching the FA’s betting rules and thus can’t take part in domestic or international football until January of next year.
Toney seemed to have convinced Southgate that he was the right choice behind first-team striker Harry Kane, but the England boss will now have to look for a new deputy, with Wilson, Watkins and Tammy Abraham all vying for the position.
Read more on Toney’s eight-month suspension below…
England kicked off their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with back-to-back wins over Italy (2-1) and Ukraine (2-0) earlier this year and have already carved out a three-point lead at the summit of Group C as a result.
Guarding against complacency will be an important factor against international minnows Malta and North Macedonia, although the latter are unbeaten so far having edged out a 2-1 win over the Maltese in their first match.
The Three Lions visit Malta first on Friday June 16 before returning home to face off against North Macedonia three days later.
Read more about the upcoming round of fixtures below…
It doesn’t seem that long ago that Southgate bemoaned his lack of options in the Premier League and suggested he’d have to explore lower down the divisions for international talent.
And while he could still very well select a Championship player or two, the England boss will undoubtedly continue to select the majority of his players from the Premier League, with a select few from top-flight divisions across Europe.
Should he opt to shuffle his pack and rest the Manchester City corps, a handful of previously unfancied players may well get a look-in, particularly after a promising end to the Premier League campaign.
Eberechi Eze has profited immensely from Roy Hodgson’s arrival Selhurst Park, Tyrone Mings and Lewis Dunk have demonstrated their value in defence, and Jacob Ramsey has made a late surge with two goals in his last two matches.
Mail Sport takes a look at the fringe players who could earn a call-up below…
England stalwart Raheem Sterling is at risk of losing his place in Southgate’s squad after a miserable debut season at Stamford Bridge.
The winger has performed reliably for Southgate at major tournaments, in particular during England’s journey to the Euro 2020 final, but the Three Lions boss is weighing up whether to select the out-of-form star.
Mason Mount’s injury and Ivan Toney’s eight-month ban heightens Sterling’s chances, although the likes of Callum Wilson, Ollie Watkins and Morgan Gibbs-White finding form towards the end of the season doesn’t bode well.
Read more on Southgate’s Sterling dilemma below…
Mail Sport’s SAMI MOKBEL reported last week that Southgate is planning to rest his Manchester City players against Malta, seeing as the quintet of Jack Grealish, Phil Foden, Kyle Walker, Kalvin Phillips and John Stones are busy with the Champions League final six days prior.
What remains to seen ahead of England’s 2pm announcement is whether Southgate will bypass Pep Guardiola’s squad altogether, confident that his Three Lions can beat North Macedonia confidently without the Champions League finalists.
If City’s stars are to be excluded, it could pave way for more opportunities among England’s fringe players, who have either yet to receive a call-up or have fallen out of favour over the past year.
Read more on Southgate’s decision to rest his City players below…
Cast your minds back to last summer, before the Three Lions’ World Cup campaign in Qatar, and you’ll be reminded of England’s miserable results in the Nations League.
Finishing bottom without a single goal from open play, Southgate’s side lost 1-0 and 4-0 to Hungary either side of lacklustre draws with Italy and Germany, leading many fans to question the manager’s future.
If Southgate has learned anything from the poor run of form, it’s that fatigue alone can blight his players and tactics. He’ll be eager to avoid a repeat of last summer when England face off against Malta and North Macedonia.
Club football may be coming to an end for another season but don’t panic, Euro 2024 qualifiers are just around the corner.
England manager Gareth Southgate will announce his squad for next month’s clashes with Malta and North Macedonia today, which could see a couple of surprise inclusions.
Live updates from Southgate’s press conference, due to get underway at 2pm, will be posted here so stay tuned…
Maguire can play 30 seconds all next season and st…
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