After embarking on a “fresh cycle” on the back of a strong World Cup showing, the Three Lions will not be looking to the past when selecting squads
Gareth Southgate is aiming to resist recalling more experienced players if they do not fit in with England’s style of play, as he looks to bring youngsters through to the senior side.
Despite taking one of the youngest squads, England impressed at the World Cup earlier this year and reached the semi-finals for the first time since 1990, eventually losing to Croatia and then Belgium in the third-place play-off.
Since then, England have lost Jamie Vardy and Gary Cahill to international retirement, while Southgate’s current selection for the upcoming matches with Spain and Switzerland has been robbed of Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana due to injuries.
Although Alex McCarthy, Marcus Bettinelli, Luke Shaw, Joe Gomez and James Tarkowski have been called up after missing out on World Cup spots, Southgate is reluctant to start experimenting with players he does not think will fit into his vision of how England should play.
As such, the likes of Chris Smalling and Joe Hart do not look likely to get recalls anytime soon, with Southgate eager to focus more attention on those impressing in England’s younger age groups.
“We think we’ve got a strong squad,” Southgate told Sky Sports. “We’re three games into a new season and we looked through a lot of different players over the last couple of years and decided, because of the way we want to play and the type of players we want to work with, that there are some guys who didn’t fit that model.
“So now we’re into a fresh cycle of probably not going back to players who’ve been in before and that we’ve had a good look at. So the next group that we’re looking at are probably coming through our younger age groups.
“There are a couple of others that are still young, still have room for growth; [Nathaniel] Chalobah, Will Hughes, Ross Barkley, but I don’t want to bring them in now, three days into the camp [to replace injured players].
“I’d rather do that when we feel they’re ready and that we’re looking at them on merit and also, we really like some of the age groups below.
“I think they’re quite likely to be the guys that push, but when you’re promoting young players you’ve got to be really careful with how quickly you do that because you want to bring them in and have them train and adapt to training.”
Following their respective strong starts to the new Premier League season, Callum Wilson and Troy Deeney both received backing from media pundits who believe the strikers have done enough to earn England call-ups.
But, while Southgate appeared to leave the door open for Wilson, he seemed to dismiss the idea of ever handing a first cap to 30-year-old Deeney.
“Callum is another player who we worked with in the Under-21s, so we know a lot about Callum,” Southgate added.
“He’s certainly one we have to keep monitoring and I think Troy is a player who really suits the way that Watford play.
“I’m a big fan of his, I think what he brings to their team, the way he leads their team and the way that they play in the games that they have, but I think that we play slightly differently and, for me, the next forward players that should be challenging are some of the younger ones.”