Chris Smalling found himself to be a surprise omission from the England squad, and manager Gareth Southgate has now revealed why.
England host heavyweights Germany and Brazil in their upcoming friendlies at Wembley in the coming weeks, and Smalling finds himself missing out in a rather shocking omission. Besides the former Fulham player, Liverpool duo Daniel Sturridge and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also miss out, alongside Everton’s Michael Keane.
Southgate has called up three youngsters in his squad as a rather surprise move, with Joe Gomez, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Tammy Abraham getting the nods. Tottenham left-back Danny Rose too, has been included, despite missing major part of the season with injury and having hardly played a game.
But the talk of the town is Smalling being dropped despite being a prominent part of both England and United over quite some time now. The Old Trafford regular has been a consistent feature for the club since the past three seasons, especially after helping the side concede the fewest amounts of goal for the entire previous season.
This term too, he has featured heavily in the Champions League, and has been an able replacement for Eric Bailly in the Premier League, after the Ivory Coast international missed out on the last few games with an injury. He recently surpassed the 250-game mark for the Mancunian club as well, and has been backed by manager Jose Mourinho.
However, when the England manager was asked about the reason behind dropping the 27-year-old, Southgate revealed that he intends to play out from the back in the upcoming fixtures, and does not believe Smalling is the right man for that, and that he needs to improve his passing.
Well with the FIFA World Cup next year in Russia, Smalling has a job to do in proving his national team manager wrong, and fans will hope he gets on the flight and features for England in the tournament.
Written by Rajdeep Saha
Sports journalist with stints across print, digital and television. Contribution to each medium has been thrilling. Experienced in writing for this passionate game called football. Journalist by choice and passion.