Gareth Southgate challenges World Cup hopefuls to put names forward

Gareth Southgate challenges England World Cup hopefuls to put their names forward for selection in the weeks leading up to the tournament, with the Three Lions boss having to use the start of the season to scout players

  • Gareth Southgate has challenged England’s fringe players to give him a decision
  • England play just two more friendlies before the World Cup in Qatar this winter
  • The squad will meet later than normal at the start of the domestic season 
  • Southgate has had to use the first few weeks of the season to scout hopefuls 
  • Click here for all the latest World Cup 2022 news and updates

Gareth Southgate has called for England’s World Cup hopefuls to put their name forward in the final weeks before the squad is named on October 21.

England will play two more friendlies – against Italy at the San Siro before hosting Germany at Wembley – before the World Cup, but are short of preparation time because of the unusual nature of the tournament taking place mid-season.

Southgate is therefore having to use the early weeks of the Premier League season to assess players, and told Sky Sports ‘it’s nice to have a few more weeks’ to see how things map out in England’s top division.

Gareth Southgate has urged players to put their names forward for a spot in the England squad

Southgate has been using the first few weeks of the season to scout World Cup hopefuls

‘At this time of year, the Premier League table doesn’t settle down for a few weeks and you’ve still got the transfer window open, which causes so much chaos in every club,’ Southgate said.

‘Things have to settle but we’re perhaps fortunate as the international window normally falls in about a week but we’ve been given more time. It’s nice to have a few more weeks to see how things map out and see where players are physically and fitness-wise.

‘There have been some unexpected results, but I think at this time of year that can happen. Things will take on a more familiar look once we get into two games a week across multiple competitions.’

Jack Grealish (right) is a regular for England but has struggled for minutes at Manchester City

Grealish has played just half of the minutes at City this season and is struggling with injury

Marcus Rashford (left) and Jadon Sancho (right) both lost their places in Southgate’s squad

The 51-year-old admitted he doesn’t yet know his best team, and is willing to ‘leave space’ for players in form.

Manchester United duo Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford have lost their places in the England squad, but both scored against Liverpool on Monday night in an attempt to boost their chances. Harry Maguire, meanwhile, was dropped from the starting 11.

Manchester City pair Jack Grealish and Kalvin Phillips have struggled for minutes, while Jarrod Bowen’s West Ham are yet to score a league goal this season. 

Southgate will name his final squad for the World Cup on October 21 after two more friendlies

‘Everyone always says that you need to be clear on your best team, but you’ve always got to leave space and opportunity for people who are playing well,’ said Southgate.

‘You know you’re going to lose players from the squad in the next few months. It’s already happened with some of the countries so whatever the idea is in your head of who your best players are, which we have, that’s going to fluctuate and you’ve got to adapt.

‘Possibly in this World Cup more than any other, that ability to adapt and to operate quickly to make the right decisions is more important than ever.’

Newcastle forward Callum Wilson, meanwhile, has made his intentions to force his way into the squad clear.

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