Gareth Souhtgate addresses the media at Wembley Stadium
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Gareth Southgate has brought in Newcastle’s Callum Wilson and the fit-again Bukayo Saka to his squad for England’s final two Euro 2024 qualifiers, but Raheem Sterling has again been omitted.
John Stones, who picked up an injury this week playing for Manchester City, and Saka’s Arsenal teammate Eddie Nketiah are the two players to drop out from October’s wins over Australia and Italy.
England play Malta on Friday 17 November before travelling to North Macedonia for their final game of the qualification stage four days later.
Sterling’s chances of making the cut for the tournament in Germany next summer are now hanging by a thread. The 28-year-old has not been part of an England squad since the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, with his last appearance coming as a substitute in the quarter-final defeat by France.
Sterling has endured mixed form this year within a struggling Chelsea side, and Southgate appeared frustrated by the player’s withdrawal from the squad back in March over fitness issues, but insists the door is “100 per cent open” and pointed to the competition Sterling faces.
England’s pool of wide forwards is as deep as it ever has been in Southgate’s reign, and Sterling faces competition from Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Marcus Rashford and Saka, who missed the last camp through injury. West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen keeps his place in this squad and is pushing for a Euros spot, while Anthony Gordon is knocking on the door with his performances for Newcastle.
James Maddison is another wide option, although both Southgate and Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou prefer Maddison in a central role.
England are top of qualifying Group C, having won five and drawn one of their six games so far, but they are only three points clear of Ukraine and still have work to do to secure first place and a top seeding in December’s Euro 2024 group stage draw.
This is Southgate’s penultimate squad before naming his 23 players for the tournament. There will be two more friendly games in March before the England squad is announced next May. Euro 2024 begins on 14 June.
more to follow…
England squad for Malta and North Macedonia fixtures
Goalkeepers: Sam Johnstone (Crystal Palace), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal).
Defenders: Levi Colwill (Chelsea), Lewis Dunk (Brighton), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Fikayi Tomori (AC Milan), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), Kyle Walker (Manchester City).
Midfielders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Al-Ettifaq), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City), Declan Rice (Arsenal).
Forwards: Jarrod Bowen (West Ham), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Bayern Munich), James Maddison (Tottenham), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa), Callum Wilson (Newcastle United).
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