The England squad has been announced for this month’s World Cup Qualifiers, and it’s one that will leave Callum Wilson and Karl Darlow wondering what if.
This is because Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins and West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone have both received their first call-ups to national side today – proving there was an opening for the NUFC duo had one not got injured and the other been benched.
As we know, Wilson is still out after suffering a hamstring injury in last month’s 3-2 win over Southampton, however he would’ve been in contention for a call-up had he stayed fit and added to his 10-goal tally – an impressive return considering he’s played six games less than Villa’s Ollie Watkins. What’s all the more frustrating is the fact he’d have fancied himself to notch at least a few goals in recent games with Wolves, West Brom and Aston Villa – games that could’ve seen him catch Southgate’s eye.
For Darlow, he’d been one of our top performing players this season, but will have fallen out of contention in recent weeks after losing his place in the side to a fit again Martin Dubravka over the past month. A tough one to take and double blow for our No 2 after Jordan Pickford’s injury kept him out of this month’s selection.
Here’s what Southgate’s had to say about Darlow missing out, followed by the England squad in full:
“Karl Darlow has had a very good season for Newcastle.
“He’s probably found himself out of the team at just the wrong time in many regards really.
“But Sam Johnstone, in a team that has had a difficult season, has kept a very good level of performance.
“He’s comfortable in possession as well as keeping the ball out of his net.”
Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson (Manchester United), Sam Johnstone (West Brom), Nick Pope (Burnley).
Defenders: Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolves), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), Kyle Walker (Manchester City).
Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jesse Lingard (West Ham, on loan from Manchester United), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds), Declan Rice (West Ham), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton).
Forwards: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa).