Gareth Southgate named his squad for England’s matches in the Nation’s League and once again failed to find room for Leicester City’s James Maddison. The Three Lions squad that will face Italy and Germany will consist of 3 goalkeepers, 12 defenders, 5 midfielders, and 8 strikers. Southgate also omitted James Justin, who was in the previous squad.
In fairness, it’s hard to argue with any of the gaffer’s midfield selections: Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice are defensive midfielders and thus play a different role than Madders, Jude Bellingham is in brilliant form, James Ward-Prowse is almost Maddison’s equal as a set-piece specialist, and Mason Mount plays for Chelsea. On the other hand, one might reasonably question the decision to bring only 5 midfielders.
The former Norwich City midfielder has featured only once for England, coming on as a substitute in a 7-0 win over Montenegro in 2019. Since that time, he has been left in the wilderness in spite of being the most-productive goal-scoring English midfielder over that span.
Top 10 English players for combined Premier League goals and assists (excl pens) since start of last season:— Jordan Blackwell (@JrdnBlackwell) September 15, 2022
Seven in England squad. Two left out. One retired. #LCFC
Perhaps he feels England already score too many goals. That makes as much sense as any other non-sinister explanation.
The silver lining is that Madders will have some time to recover from the knocks he’s picked up as a result of being one of the most-fouled players in the Premier League. He also won’t risk picking up an injury in what amounts to a glorified friendly. It’s not nearly enough to assuage the frustration he must feel. The man belongs in the England squad and apparently, everyone other than Gareth Southgate knows it. Pity that his is the only vote that counts.