Gareth Southgate has made his decision. 26 players have received the nod for England’s October internationals.
The Three Lions are due to face Australia in a friendly before turning their attention to a European qualifier with Italy, and there are plenty of players who will feel a little frustrated not to have been brought along for the ride.
Here are some of the biggest omissions from the latest England squad.
Not since the 2022 World Cup has Nick Pope featured in an England squad.
While injuries were to blame at the start of this dry spell, Pope is fit and healthy these days, leading Newcastle United to victory over Paris Saint-Germain and a clean sheet against AC Milan. Sounds like the sort of goalkeeper you’d want in your squad.
Instead, it’s Crystal Palace’s Sam Johnstone who is providing cover for Aaron Ramsdale (who has lost his spot at Arsenal) and Everton’s Jordan Pickford.
Right-back is an impossible spot for Southgate at the best of times. England’s depth in the position was already mental before Ben White swapped centre-back for the right side last season.
The Arsenal man looked to have lost his place at club level when Thomas Partey became Mikel Arteta’s latest experiment, but an injury to the Ghanaian has re-opened the door for White to strut his stuff at the highest level, and he’s done a pretty good job of things.
Southgate already has three right-backs in his squad, but White perhaps deserved a shot at centre-back.
West Ham United fans were elated to see Jarrod Bowen make his return to the England setup, but there was surprisingly no place alongside him for James Ward-Prowse.
The set-piece maestro has long been on the fringes of Southgate’s setup but is playing some sensational football this season, proving to be an absolute menace for his new club, and it felt like Ward-Prowse deserved a call-up now more than ever.
Questions are being asked about Jordan Henderson’s continued involvement with England. If and when the former Liverpool man ends up riding off into the sunset, expect Ward-Prowse to take his place.
Anthony Gordon had an excellent summer with England’s Under-21s and he has continued that form with Newcastle, chipping in with goals and assists for the European newcomers.
While he’s not always the most glamorous player, Gordon provides an immense energy and commitment that you’d think would endear him to Southgate, but it’s clear the England boss wants to see more before letting him make the jump.
If he keeps playing like this, it won’t be long before Southgate simply cannot overlook him.
Sticking with Newcastle, Sean Longstaff must have thought he was in with a shout of making his England debut this month.
The 25-year-old’s career resurgence has been nothing sort of mind-boggling, with Longstaff going from a certain flop to a vital cog in the midfield that just dismantled PSG. That wasn’t a one-off performance either.
Kalvin Phillips’ place is under obvious scrutiny, and it might be time for Longstaff to take his spot.
Since swapping Chelsea for AC Milan, Ruben Loftus-Cheek has been killing it.
The towering midfielder has looked like the player who fought his way into England’s 2018 World Cup squad, and while a minor injury has halted his progress recently, Southgate has rarely been scared to give injured players the chance to prove their fitness.
With all that being said, it took Fikayo Tomori an eternity to be rewarded with an England call-up, so Loftus-Cheek may have a lengthy wait of his own on his hands.
After a bumpy year or two, Ezri Konsa has been back to his best for Aston Villa this season, taking up a regular spot in the defence of a team knocking on the door of the top four.
His last match before Southgate announced the squad came in a 6-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion’s Lewis Dunk, who managed to keep hold of his spot in the squad despite the Seagulls recently forgetting that you actually have to defend in games as well.
It feels like there’s a major change in England’s defence coming soon, and on this form, Konsa deserves the nod.
Raheem Sterling has carried his mixed form into the current campaign but may have hoped that his track record would speak for itself when Southgate came to announce his squad. Instead, Sterling was left to continue his wait to make an appearance for his country in 2023.
One of Southgate’s most reliable forwards, Sterling hasn’t been as prolific for Chelsea and has clearly paid the price for that, but he may be a little frustrated that he’s the only one of Southgate’s favourite charges whose club struggles have actually had an impact.
While Phillips and Maguire are earning spots without even playing, Sterling has been discarded this year and faces a real battle to get back into the group.