Gareth Southgate has today announced his 26 man squad for the International fixtures against Germany and Lithuania next week.
I am delighted that Jermain Defoe has been recalled. Throughout his career, he has proven that he can score goals at whatever club he has been at in the Premier League and players such as Klose (Germany) have proved that you can play well into your 30’s at International level.
Elsewhere, Southampton duo Nathan Redmond and James Ward-Prowse are included, as is 19-year-old Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford. Personally, I’m not sure if Rashford deserves a call up just yet – his performances for United have not warranted an international call up, but his pace and directness will certainly be a threat if he is used. I really like Ward-Prowse as a player – he’s technically excellent and makes Southampton tick in the midfield. He also played for Southgate at under-21 level, so will be aware of the system and coaching style which is now in place in the Senior squad.
With Vardy’s lack of form, Sturridge’s injury record and Wayne Rooney’s age, the attacking third of the pitch looks the weakest, with current star striker Harry Kane missing out due to the ankle injury he sustained in Spurs’ FA Cup win over Millwall. I would like to think that developing and promoting the attackers from the under-21 squad will be a priority in the next few years, with players such as Tammy Abraham, Demari Gray and Saido Berahino all looking to impress Southgate in the next few years.
England squad in full:
Goalkeepers: Fraser Forster (Southampton), Joe Hart (Torino, on loan from Man City), Tom Heaton (Burnley).
Defenders: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool), Phil Jones (Man Utd), Michael Keane (Burnley), Luke Shaw (Man Utd), Chris Smalling (Man Utd), John Stones (Man City), Kyle Walker (Tottenham).
Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham), Michail Antonio (West Ham), Ross Barkley (Everton), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Man Utd), Jake Livermore (West Brom), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Nathan Redmond (Southampton), Raheem Sterling (Man City), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton).
Strikers: Jermain Defoe (Sunderland), Marcus Rashford (Man Utd), Jamie Vardy (Leicester).