The Red Devils have endured a miserable Premier League season that has drastically underwhelmed fans who harboured such optimism before a ball had been kicked this term
England’s latest round of international friendlies has sprung a few surprises in terms of who Gareth Southgate has decided to call-up.
However, arguably the most eyebrow raising element of the select group of players picked for friendlies against Switzerland and the Ivory Coast is the lack of Manchester United representation. For decades, the Red Devils have seen a whole host of their players establish themselves as Three Lions regulars.
The infamous ‘Golden Generation’ of the early to mid-noughties included the likes of Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Wayne Rooney, while Euro 2020 saw Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho both miss spot-kicks in the final.
Fast forward to seven months later and neither of the aforementioned duo were called up by Southgate, despite both being fit and available. Rashford’s club form has been notably dire this term, the 24-year-old scoring just five goals across all competitions – though he has had to contend with recovery from shoulder surgery.
Sancho has been bright in spells, but as of yet failed to justify his £73million price tag and seemingly lost his place in the Three Lions set-up as a result. Southgate has never been entirely sold on the 21-year-old anyway, if his game time at last summer’s European Championships are anything to go by.
While Harry Maguire was called up, the much-maligned Red Devils skipper was named on the bench for the visit of Switzerland and remained an unused substitute despite some early wobbles from both Benjamin White and Marc Guehi. The United centre-back has arguably been more consistent for country than club, helped by Southgate’s tendency to deploy a back-three.
United back-up goalkeeper Dean Henderson has struggled to displace David de Gea at Old Trafford this term, but when Aaron Ramsdale pulled out of this camp with injury, many tipped Henderson to get the call-up to deputise for Jordan Pickford. Surprisingly, Southgate opted for Southampton shot-stopper 34-year-old Fraser Forster instead.
HAVE YOUR SAY! Should Rashford and Sancho have been selected for the England squad? Comment below
It must be noted that a United player did get on the scoresheet against the Swiss, with Luke Shaw notching England’s equaliser – his strike evoking memories of his effort in the Euro 2020 final. However, even Shaw made some pretty damning comments on how unenjoyable it has been at United this season.
“It’s always important to feel like you’re wanted and I think especially here with England I always feel that. I’m not saying I don’t at United but here, the way things are, I feel wanted and I enjoy my football,” Shaw explained.
“Of course it’s hard to enjoy when we’re losing and we’re not playing well at club level and we have to face that. This season it’s not been good enough at all so it’s hard to enjoy.”
United’s squad – which currently sits sixth in the Premier League table four points off of fourth, has six players capped by England – four missed out, while one was left to watch on from the bench in what is yet another damning indictment of the Red Devils demise.