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England: The Best XI Not Called Up

The England squad was announced today for their fixtures against Ukraine and Scotland, and it is fair to say there are some very mixed opinions and big players missing out.

Eddie Nketiah receives his first England call-up, whilst Levi Colwill has his first formal invitation, with players such as John Stones and Tyrone Mings missing out through injury.

However, Jordan Henderson, Harry Maguire and Kalvin Phillips makes the squad despite the Henderson joining the Saudi Professional league and the Manchester-based duo not playing a single minute of football yet this season.

With this in mind, we have made our best XI team of players who were not called up by Gareth Southgate, producing a team playing a 4-3-3 formation with a lone attacking midfielder.

We have not included anyone who is injured nor anyone not under consideration for England at this current time.

Goalkeeper – Nick Pope (Newcastle United)
(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Nick Pope has been left out in favour of Sam Johnstone of Crystal Palace, despite Pope playing for a Champions League team.

The 31-year-old has 10 caps so far and has played in all three of Newcastle United’s league games this season, conceding four goals.

The goalkeeper missed out on the previous squad through injury and seems that he has not done enough to force his way back into the team.

Right-Back – Ben White (Arsenal)
(Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsenal defender Ben White was not called up to the squad despite also being an ever-present in the Premier League this season as well as last.

The versatile 25-year-old, who can also cover at CB and in midfield, has been consistent in recent years but is in a tough spot due to the many right-backs at England’s disposal.

White has made 87 appearances for Arsenal since joining in 2021 for £50 million, and fans are outraged at his omission despite other defenders getting in with less playing time.

White currently has four caps for England and will hope time is on his side as Euro 2024 fast approaches.

Centre-Back – Joe Gomez (Liverpool)
(Photo by Richard Sellers/Sportsphoto/Allstar via Getty Images)

Another versatile defender to miss out on appearing for The Three Lions is Liverpool’s Joe Gomez.

The 26-year-old can play across the back line and has made over 150 appearances for Liverpool so far in his career, since his transfer from Charlton Athletic in 2015.

However, he has not played for England since 2020, and has a history of injuries, but one would think that he is close to breaking back into the team after very encouraging performances in recent months, including captaining Liverpool in the EFL Cup.

Centre-Back – Eric Dier (Tottenham)
(Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)

Tottenham Hotspur’s Eric Dier is an experienced choice to cover for CB as well as being deployed as a possible defensive midfielder.

England are short of midfielders who can play as a pivot, and Dier could have helped fill that void, but misses out due to not being in the Tottenham squad and being linked away from Spurs.

England duo Harry Maguire and Kalvin Phillips are yet to play a minute of football, so Southgate’s decision to exclude Dier could be seen as hypocritical.

Dier has made 49 appearances for England, including appearing at the last two World Cups, so if Dier starts playing again he would likely be in contention.

Left-Back – Rico Henry (Brentford)
(Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)

The first player in this list who has not made an appearance for England in his career, Rico Henry has been a constant presence in the Brentford team since joining in 2016 from Walsall.

Henry was part of the team who was promoted to the Premier League and has made over 200 appearances for The Bees.

It is rather curious that there is a left-back shortage for England, Levi Colwill and Ben Chilwell being the only left-backs in the squad after Luke Shaw’s injury, and Henry still has yet to be called up.

Henry is only 26 though, so there is still time for him to become an international player in the future, and is currently linked with Manchester United as a cover for Shaw.

Central-Midfielder – Harvey Barnes (Newcastle United)
(Photo by Richard Sellers/Sportsphoto/Allstar via Getty Images)

The second Newcastle United player in this team, Harvey Barnes misses out despite a transfer in the summer reportedly costing £38 million from Leicester City.

Scoring once and assisting another so far in three Premier League appearances, Barnes impressed for Leicester City before their relegation last season, and will look to resurrect his international career.

He has only one solitary appearance for England, appearing as a 76th-minute substitute against Wales, and can also play on the wings.

Central Midfield – James Ward-Prowse (West Ham United)
(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

One of the biggest names to miss out, James Ward-Prowse is excluded despite a blistering start to the season for new club West Ham United.

In just two league appearances, he has assisted two goals and scored one himself after his reported £30 million transfer from Southampton.

The free-kick maestro is a shock omission, Phillips surprisingly ahead of Ward-Prowse, as the 28-year-old has shone across many seasons for The Saints and now for The Hammers.

The 11-cap international with over 400 club appearances will surely be in contention for a recall to the squad as the season progresses.

Central Attacking-Midfield – Solly March (Brighton)
(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

It’s the case of same-old as Solly March has once again not picked for England, despite scoring three goals already this season.

March was tipped for a call up by Brighton and Hove Albion manager Roberto De Zerbi, the mainstay has unleashed his attacking potential in the last twelve months and looks like a genuine attacking threat.

The right-winger can play as a CM and has never appeared for England, although has three appearances at junior levels.

Quite what March can do to get into this squad is unclear. The array of attacking talent from attacking midfield and on the wings is extraordinary, but March is deserving of at least one cap to his name.

Right-Winger – Jarrod Bowen (West Ham United)
(Photo by Nigel French/Sportsphoto/Allstar via Getty Images)

The second West Ham player to feature, and possibly one of their most notable players of last season, you’d have to say.

Jarrod Bowen scored West Ham’s most important goal last season as they won the Europa Conference League, beating Fiorentina in the 90th minute.

Bowen has two goals and an assist in three league games so far; and also has four caps, all coming in 2022.

The winger was named in the UEFA Conference League Team of the Season last year, has 300 career appearances at club level, and at 26-years-old, is a player to watch in the Europa League this season.

Striker – Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa)
(Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)

Ollie Watkins has been snubbed from these next international fixtures, and Aston Villa fans are questioning why he isn’t included.

The striker has scored 40 league goals for Villa since joining in 2020 for an initial £28 million from Brentford, including a recent hat trick against Hibernian in Europa Conference League qualifiers.

Callum Wilson and Eddie Nketiah are preferred to Watkins as back-up to Harry Kane, and the 27-year-old is sure to add to his seven caps and two international goals in the near future.

Left-Winger – Raheem Sterling (Chelsea)
(Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

And finally, the biggest omission of the lot. Raheem Sterling misses out after previously missing the last two squads due to injury.

The revitalised forward has shone for Chelsea so far this season, scoring two goals in three appearances, and was looking very likely to be recalled.

Alas, he missed out, and Sterling is reportedly not happy with the decision, and the former Liverpool and Manchester City player is a loss to England.

Sterling’s 82 caps put him 16th on England’s all time list of appearances, two caps behind Kane. But, if the 28-year-old keeps up his recent form, it is hard to see him not adding to his total soon.

Southgate affirms that the door to Sterling is not closed, however his snub could be seen as a defining moment for the likes of Bukayo Saka and Marcus Rashford who can occupy the wings.

So, that is my team of players who were not called up for England duty, with notable mentions to the likes of Dean Henderson, Tammy Abraham, Cole Palmer and Dominic Calvert-Lewin who also missed out.

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