Southgate bemoans 'really poor' England display against Hungary
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Gareth Southgate has named his last England squad of 2021 as his side look to cement their place at next year’s Qatar World Cup. England are currently three points clear at the top of their qualifying group and will be confident of securing their place at the tournament.
England host Albania next Friday, before travelling to San Marino the following Monday.
Albania still have an outside chance of qualifying for the World Cup, while San Marino are yet to pick up a point and are bottom of the group.
England are unbeaten in their qualifying campaign but have dropped points against Poland and Hungary in their last three games.
Southgate has recalled Marcus Rashford and Jude Bellingham for the encounters, but there is no place for Manchester United duo Jadon Sancho and Jesse Lingard.
The Three Lions have one of their strongest ever squads at the moment and only narrowly missed out on tasting Euro 2020 glory when they lost to Italy in the final after a penalty shootout.
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That run came after Southgate had led his side the World Cup semi-finals in 2018.
There is a plethora of young English talent coming through and impressing in the Premier League this season.
And Southgate has named five players who were unlucky to miss out on a place in his latest squad.
“Ben White has started to settle at Arsenal, Fik [Tomori] has done well at Milan, Marc Guehi too,” admitted Southgate.
“They are all pushing. There is still a step for a lot of them in the consistency – a lot of them are young and still learning their trade.
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“We’re 12 months away where there is going to be real competition for places. We’ve seen over the last 12 months how rapidly young players can come through.
“Emile [Smith Rowe], Conor Gallagher are all playing very well with their clubs.
“But we’ve got depth and to put them in, we’ve got to leave some of those out.
“The boys I’ve mentioned are on a really good path. We’ve got a good chance to see them with the U21s and their clubs. But at the moment [it’s] probably just a bit too early for them.”
White and Smith Rowe have been in excellent form for Arsenal in recent weeks and have helped their side to five wins and two draws in their last seven Premier League outings.
Gallagher, meanwhile, has starred for Crystal Palace under Patrick Vieira and has been one of his side’s most threatening players this term. The midfielder joined the Eagles on loan from Chelsea this summer.
His Palace team-mate Guehi has been lauded for his performances at centre-back as the Londoners have already defeated Tottenham and Manchester City this campaign.
Tomori also departed Stamford Bridge ahead of the new season when he joined AC Milan on a permanent basis.
And the 23-year-old has started all but one of his team’s matches this season as the San Siro side have remained unbeaten.
The five players will surely now view Southgate’s comments as encouragement to kick-on and secure a call-up next year.
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