Newcastle United club-captain Jamaal Lascelles and teammate Jonjo Shelvey will not be joining England’s latest 27-man squad, despite the inclusion of four uncapped players perhaps indicating that Southgate is looking to try something new.
Lascelles was omitted, while uncapped Alfie Mawson of Swansea and James Tarkowski of Burnley have made it, joining John Stones, Harry Maguire and Joe Gomez as England’s recognized centre backs.
The omission of Lascelles is certainly a disappointment, given our captain’s fine form this season, with Newcastle sorely missing his presence at the back when he missed several games through injury earlier in the league campaign.
However, Tarkowski and Mawson certainly do seem to merit inclusion, as both are regular starters for their clubs. While Tarkowski has been fit and playing, Burnley have only conceded a goal every 122 minutes. Tarkowski’s club-mate, goalkeeper Nick Pope, is the fourth uncapped player to have earned his place in the squad, joining Joe Hart, Jack Butland and Jordan Pickford in between the sticks.
Shelvey, meanwhile, is also left out despite some great recent performances against Manchester United and Southampton, which earned him the backing of pundits including Phil Thompson and Ian Wright. Shelvey seems to have been left out despite a relative lack of creativity in England’s midfield ranks, with uncapped Lewis Cook joining Jack Wilshere and Jake Livermore, both recalled despite a lack of regular appearances and poor form.
Other notable absentees from the squad include Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Michael Keane, Fabian Delph, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and of course Harry Kane, who is injured.
For Newcastle fans, the consolation is that the lads will be getting a decent amount of time to rest and recover, though it is disappointing that players that seem to be in particularly poor form have continued to be called up. In particular, the inclusions of Joe Hart, Livermore and Danny Welbeck are questionable, given their poor performances (or lack of any performances at all!) of late.