England squad: Alexander-Arnold dropped as Lingard, Stones and Shaw return

England squad: Alexander-Arnold dropped as Lingard, Stones and Shaw return

Gareth Southgate has made his latest selection, with the Three Lions readying themselves for the start of 2022 World Cup qualifying duty

Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold has been left out of Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad, with the likes of Jesse Lingard, John Stones and Luke Shaw all included for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Jude Bellingham, meanwhile, could make his competitive debut – if Covid-19 quarantine rules allow him to play – while Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins has earned his first call-up having edged out Leeds United star Patrick Bamford.

The big news surrounds Alexander-Arnold’s absence, however, with Southgate explaining that he doesn’t feel the Reds right-back has been playing well enough for his club to warrant a call-up.

Notable names in the England squad

Bellingham, who is just 17 years of age, made his senior bow for the Three Lions in an international friendly clash with the Republic of Ireland in November 2020.

He has been called up to the current squad despite doubts about his availability amid travel restrictions in and out of Germany due to coronavirus.

Southgate said of Bellingham: “In terms of numbers, the obvious concern is Jude. We’ve named him in the squad, we recognise that might be a little bit difficult in terms of travel and quarantine so we’re speaking to Dortmund about that.”

One of England’s opponents, Poland, have already said their star player, Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, will not be available for these upcoming games due to the quarantine rules.

Manchester United defender Shaw has been welcomed back from the international wilderness. The last of the 25-year-old’s eight caps for England was won back in 2018, with struggles for form and fitness seeing him slip down the pecking order.

Shaw is, however, considered to be at the peak of his powers in 2020-21, with six assists and a goal recorded for his club side this season.

Another man who was in danger of becoming a forgotten figure at Old Trafford, Jesse Lingard, is also back in Southgate’s plans.

The 28-year-old has been thriving during a productive loan spell at West Ham, with his creative qualities returning to the fore on an English top-flight stage.

John Stones is also looking to make the most of a domestic reversal in fortune as he returns to the national team fold. The Manchester City defender has not represented his country since November 2019, but has made himself impossible to overlook with a string of fine performances under Pep Guardiola.

Who missed out?

The most glaring omission is Alexander-Arnold, who has been a mainstay of England squads since the 2018 World Cup but has been overlooked amid his poor form for Liverpool, which has coincided with the Reds’ slump in the Premier League.

Southgate said of Alexander-Arnold: “I don’t think he’s played at the level he’s been at the last few years. Reece [James] and Kieran [Trippier] are in exceptional form.”

Also left out is Bamford, despite the Leeds United striker impressing this season following his club’s promotion to the top-flight.

Who else has got the nod?

West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone is, alongside Watkins, the only other uncapped player to be called upon by Southgate.

An alternative option was required in that department after usual No 1 Jordan Pickford was ruled out through injury.

Conor Coady of Wolves is included once again, as is Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips.

Tottenham striker Harry Kane will take the armband, as he seeks to add to his 32-goal haul for England, with Everton frontman Dominic Calvert-Lewin providing competition for the No 9 berth.

Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse forms part of the creative crop in midfield, with Aston Villa skipper Jack Grealish unavailable after sitting out a month through injury.

England squad in full

Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson (Manchester United), Sam Johnstone (West Brom), Nick Pope (Burnley)

Defenders: Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolves), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), Kyle Walker (Manchester City)

Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jesse Lingard (West Ham), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United), Declan Rice (West Ham), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)

Strikers: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa)

Further reading

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