Raheem Sterling left out of England squad AGAIN as Bukayo Saka returns and Eddie Nketiah drops out ahead of final two Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia
- Sterling hasn’t played for England since last year’s World Cup quarter-final
- Chelsea winger has now missed five consecutive England squads this year
- Chris Sutton: ‘How my son nearly died’ – Listen to It’s All Kicking Off podcast
Raheem Sterling’s England exile has continued after Gareth Southgate named his squad for the concluding pair of Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia.
Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah has lost his place, with his club-mate Bukayo Saka restored, while Manchester City’s John Stones is omitted due to injury.
Southgate has resisted the temptation to select Reece James and Eberechi Eze, who have only recently returned from injury.
Indeed, there was a distinct lack of new faces as Southgate played it safe, with the likes of Cole Palmer overlooked.
The Three Lions booked their place at the tournament in Germany next summer with a 3-1 win over Italy last month and will be hoping to finish the qualifying campaign on a high.
Raheem Sterling has been left out of the England squad once again – it is now four squads missed when the Chelsea attacker has been fit
Sterling’s last England outing was off the bench in last year’s World Cup quarter-final
Gareth Southgate has named the latest England squad ahead of the upcoming final two Euro 2024 qualifiers at home to Malta and away to North Macedonia
There was no space for Chelsea’s Cole Palmer as Southgate played it safe with his squad
England squad in full
Goalkeepers: Sam Johnstone, Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale
Defenders: Levi Colwill, Lewis Dunk, Marc Guehi, Harry Maguire, Fikayo Tomori, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker
Midfielders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jude Bellingham, Conor Gallagher, Jordan Henderson, Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice
Forwards: Jarrod Bowen, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Harry Kane, James Maddison, Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, Ollie Watkins, Callum Wilson
England will be among the top seeds in the draw for next summer’s Euros if they can top their group.
Chelsea attacker Sterling hasn’t played for England since last year’s World Cup quarter-final defeat to France, when he came off the bench.
He was injured for the opening Euro 2024 qualifiers in March but Sterling hasn’t been able to regain his England place in the four subsequent squads.
Southgate explained that he wanted continuity in his team, which had been performing well in assuring Euro 2024 qualification with two games to spare.
Asked about Sterling’s absence, he said: ‘The team are playing really well, we had an exceptional win here against Italy last time around. Who do we leave out to bring him in?’
‘The door is 100 per cent open. There is no doubt about that. In terms of his quality and personality. He is crucial part of the journey we have had.
‘We have stuck with that group, and deliberately not made changes. It is fair to the guys in the squad.’
Sterling, 28, has 82 England caps and 20 goals but this latest snub – in spite of improving form for Chelsea – will raise doubts over his international future.
Arsenal star Saka missed October’s matches against Australia and Italy with a thigh problem but he has returned to club action and will be expected to play some part for England next week.
England have secured their place at Euro 2024 and will be a top seed if they win the group
Arsenal star Bukayo Saka returns to the England squad ahead of the upcoming qualifiers
Newcastle United forward Callum Wilson is back in the England squad this time around
England’s road to Euro 2024 in Germany
March 23 – Italy (A) W 2-1
March 26 – Ukraine (H) W 2-0
June 16 – Malta (A) W 4-0
June 19 – North Macedonia (H) W 7-0
September 9 – Ukraine (A) D 1-1
October 17 – Italy (H) W 3-1
November 17 – Malta (H)
November 20 – North Macedonia (A)
Newcastle United striker Callum Wilson also returns but there isn’t room for Nketiah, who made his senior debut in the friendly with Australia.
Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins and West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen are also favoured among the attacking selections.
‘There is competition at the moment,’ Southgate said on Nketiah’s omission.
‘We see Callum [Wilson] and Ollie [Watkins] slightly ahead of him, but he’s progressing well.’
Southgate squad stalwarts Harry Maguire, Kalvin Phillips and Jordan Henderson are all included, with Real Madrid’s Jude Bellingham also in despite suffering a shoulder injury this week.
Regular Marcus Rashford also keeps his place with Southgate saying his poor form this season for Manchester United – and his red card against Copenhagen in the Champions League on Wednesday – won’t affect his England spot.
‘We are really happy with him, he scores goals and he enjoys his football with us. For me there’s nothing to discuss,’ he said.
Southgate had no problem selecting Marcus Rashford despite his poor from for Man United
There was no space in the latest England squad for Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah
On Maguire’s return to form, Southgate added: ‘It’s great. You want your players to be enjoying their club football and I’m really pleased for him.’
Asked if he was concerned about Phillips’ lack of game time at Manchester City, Southgate replied: ‘He is up against world-class players at his club. Between him, Pep [Guardiola] and the coaching staff they will discuss the route forward.
‘We know the quality of him. He was in the Euros team of the tournament and was our player of the year a couple of years ago.
‘He has continued to do well for us. We would like him in a better rhythm but there aren’t many players in his position that can play at that level.’
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