Gareth Southgate announces England squad - including two very controversial picks
Published: 16/03/2023- 14:08
Updated: 16/03/2023- 15:56
Gareth Southgate has announced his Englands squad for the Euro 2024 Qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine.
The first game will be held in Naples next week against Italy.
The squad consists of:
Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope, Aaron Ramsdale.
Defenders: Ben Chilwell, Eric Dier, Marc Guehi, Reece James, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker.
Midfielders: Jude Bellingham, Conor Gallagher, Jordan Henderson, James Maddison, Mason Mount, Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice.
Forwards: Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, Ivan Toney.
Gareth Southgate explained his decision to include Kyle Walker and Ivan Toney
Discussing the controversial decision to include defender Kyle Walker, who is currently being investigated by Cheshire Police over allegations he indecently exposed himself in a bar, Southgate said: “It is a complicated situation, I have spoken at length with him.
“He is back playing with his club, there is no conclusive evidence to leave him out at this stage. I have to be careful on being the moral judge on things.
“We have had a couple of long conversations, we feel we want him with us, but we know when you’re an England player there is an even higher bar on how you conduct yourselves and what is expected.
"We are not taking those decisions lightly.”
Southgate also commented on his decision to include Brentford striker Ivan Toney, despite having a disciplinary case for breaching betting rules looming over him.
He said: “The fact is he is playing for his club and playing well for his club, there hasn’t been a trial as yet or any judgement so I don’t know on what basis we wouldn’t pick him.
“Before the World Cup he had a brilliant run of form, he has had a bit of an injury that has inhibited him.
“He has been consistent throughout the season, he is playing really well, I like his presence in games. He deserves his opportunity.”
Discussing the reason behind not including Sterling, Alexander-Arnold and Ben White, Southgate said it was because they were further down in the pecking order to play right-back.
The England manager said: “It is similar with Trent and Ben, the three boys who are in as right full-backs we have them in ahead of those two,
“We are blessed in that position.”
England travel to Naples to face Italy on March 23 before hosting Ukraine on March 26 in Group C.