Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Southgate: England not something to give away lightly

Joe Ledley was part of the Wales side that lost to the Republic of Ireland in World Cup qualifying Joe Ledley was part of the Wales side that lost to the Republic of Ireland in World Cup qualifying
Jennie Wade | 08 October, 2018, 17:56

Southgate, who ultimately saw England beaten 2-1 by Croatia in their first World Cup semi-final since 1990, said he was fortunate to have a great back-up team - his assistant Steve Holland was also awarded a new contract, and the players performing on the pitch.

Jadon Sancho, Mason Mount and James Maddison have received their first England call-ups for this month's Nations League matches against Croatia and Spain.

Borussia Dortmund have extended the contract with England's U-19 worldwide Jadon Sancho ahead of schedule, the "BVB" confirmed in an official statement on Wednesday.

Mason Mount, who is on loan at Derby County from Chelsea, has proved himself to be worthy of a senior cap after his impressive performances in Frank Lampard's first team.

There are six uncapped players in total in boss Gareth Southgate's 25-man squad, which has an average age of 23.9. There are also call-ups for Watford's Nathaniel Chalobah and Tottenham's Harry Winks.

"I think this aligns with what we've done in the last 18 months, really", said Southgate, who helped bring about the end of Wayne Rooney's worldwide career past year.

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With injuries ruling out midfielders Dele Alli, Jesse Lingard and Ruben Loftus-Cheek for the UEFA Nations League games against Croatia and Spain this month, Southgate chose to pick up-and-coming players who are likely to be regulars in the squad in the future. We have a few injuries in midfield in particular so there was an opportunity there.

"We think there are some exciting young players we have been tracking, and it's a great opportunity for us to look at them".

And Southgate has included Mount, the Chelsea attacking midfielder now on loan at Derby County, in his selection for the first time, while Leicester City star Maddison and Borussia Dortmund's Sancho are also in line to win their first caps.

He joined the German side from Manchester City for about £10m in August 2017 and signed a new deal earlier this week. Jadon has done really well, he has come in and created goals and scored, and Mason has been outstanding at Derby. He played a year ago on loan at Vitesse [Arnhem] and has had another season of men's football and created more chances than any other player in the league.

Mount has been directly involved in 17 goals in his past 18 league appearances across the Dutch Eredivisie and the Championship, including play-off games (10 goals and seven assists).

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