Manchester United have just two players in Gareth Southgate’s squad for England’s upcoming friendlies against Switzerland and Ivory Coast – fewer than Crystal Palace
Manchester United’s poor season is reflected in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the upcoming friendlies against Switzerland and Ivory Coast.
United have endured a mixed campaign under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick and the club has just two players in the Three Lions squad. Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw are the only United players to have made the cut, with Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Jesse Lingard and Dean Henderson among those to be left out.
Maguire and Shaw are perhaps fortunate to be called up, with both far off the form which saw them play important roles in England’s run to the final of Euro 2020 last year. The United captain has struggled for rhythm, due in part to injury, while Shaw has been out with an injury for the past three weeks.
Southgate showed loyalty to Maguire with his selection for the friendlies at Wembley Stadium, saying it never crossed his mind to drop the 29-year-old. “He’s been a key part of the starting XI that got us to a World Cup semi-final and a Euros final,” Southgate said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s one of our best centre-backs.”
That was not the case for Rashford and Sancho, however, with both struggling United forwards unceremoniously dropped, despite their efforts in helping England reach the Euro 2020 final last summer. “There are other attacking players in our squad who are ahead of him in our opinion,” said Southgate when asked about Sancho. “Jadon in the last few weeks his performances have improved but it is an area of the pitch where we have competition for places.”
On Rashford, who has scored just five goals in 26 appearances this season, Southgate added: “With Marcus, he is in the same position as everyone else, whether they are in the squad or not they all have to play well in the next period, it is a difficult time for him, he is clearly not at his best. There is plenty of time, we know about Marcus, we know what he can bring to us.”
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United’s demise was underlined by the fact that, following the update of the squad on Monday, Crystal Palace now have more players in the England squad than Rangnick’s side. Full-back Tyrick Mitchell has been added to the squad, which also includes centre-back Marc Guehi and midfielder Conor Gallagher.
Call-ups for Mitchell and Walker-Peters are particularly damning for Wan-Bissaka, who left Palace for United in a £50million move in July 2019, but has failed to kick on. The 24-year-old has lost his place to Diogo Dalot recently and is not even in the picture for a first senior England call-up, despite injuries to Trent Alexander-Arnold and Reece James.
United appear to be going in the opposite direction to top-four rivals Arsenal, who have three players in the squad – Ben White, Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka – while Aaron Ramsdale was included before injury struck. Rivals Manchester City have four players included, although Liverpool and Chelsea both only have one player involved – Jordan Henderson and Mason Mount respectively – due in part to injuries.