England have announced their 23-man squad for the upcoming international break, and there’s good news for one Everton player, with disappointment for another.
Jordan Pickford retains his spot in the squad after grabbing the #1 jersey for the World Cup this summer, but Theo Walcott has been overlooked despite his excellent start to the season for the Toffees.
There are five changes to the squad from the group that traveled to Russia, with Joe Gomez, Adam Lallana, Alex McHenry, Luke Shaw and James Tarkowski all joining up.
The Three Lions play Spain in their opening game of the UEFA Nations League at Wembley on Saturday 8th September, and then host Switzerland in Leicester on Tuesday 11th September.
Manager Gareth Southgate spoke about his selection process -
“We’re obviously coming off the back of a successful summer, so I think there’s a good foundation for us to build on.
“With us only being three games into the season, I felt some continuity was important so those who were with us in the summer deserve the right to go again. Others haven’t really had the opportunity to force themselves ahead of those guys.
“From here we have a two-year lead into the European Championships, so I want us to try and capture what we had this summer and why they felt it went well – but, once we’re through this camp, there’s going to be competition from others. People are going to have to play at a good level to retain their places.”
Walcott will feel hard done by, but considering that Southgate is focusing on youth, that might explain his thinking especially with omitting older players Ashley Young, Gary Cahill and Jamie Vardy -
“I’ve had discussions with them around their involvement and what we’d be looking to do in the next few months in particular.
“Those guys are older and – in a couple of their cases – aren’t playing much with us. I recognise that, when you’re travelling with England and not playing for a fair bit of time, that’s a different sort of role. I did that myself for a few years.
“There’s a point where I don’t need to know what those guys can do as we’re looking to bring younger players through. It was great that we were able to have mature conversations about that.
“They all want to stay available and have all done a fantastic job with us. The door’s certainly not closed.”