Gareth Southgate has led England to the verge of another major tournament with the Three Lions nearing qualification to the 2024 European Championship.
Next summer’s finals is just a matter of months away and Southgate is currently finalising his plans ahead of a tournament in which England will start among the favourites to be crowned champions.
Ahead of Euro 2024, a number of former favourites are struggling to make the final selection, amid form, favour and fitness issues at club level.
Five former Gareth Southgate regulars struggling to make the England squad for Euro 2024:
Raheem Sterling was a high-profile omission from October’s England squad, with the experienced winger overlooked despite an encouraging start to the season at Chelsea. Sterling has not featured for the national side since the 2022 World Cup exit to France, with poor form at club level having seen the 28-year-old fall out favour.
Southgate said Sterling had more to prove after missing September’s internationals, but once again left out the 82-cap wideman for this month’s games with Australia and Italy.
❌ Raheem Sterling
Gareth Southgate on his decision to leave out the Chelsea forward once again. 🏴 pic.twitter.com/qGV31cGQZx
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) October 5, 2023
“We spoke before the last squad and we’ve been happy with the wide players’ performances in the last four games in particular and in the two in March,” Southgate said on his latest selection.
“The team are playing really well and clearly there’s some stability there.
“We have added Jarrod Bowen in those wide areas, he’s scored five in seven games and is playing really well and with the Australia game as well there’s the opportunity to learn some different things as well.”
Sterling has scored three goals in seven Premier League starts this season, while the winger scored one, forced an own goal, and won a penalty during Chelsea’s win at Burnley before the break. More performances of that calibre could push him back into contention ahead of next summer.
Mason Mount was introduced to the England side under Southgate and has since won 36 caps for the Three Lions, but is another who has not featured since the World Cup exit in Qatar last winter.
A disappointing season at Chelsea, both individually and collectively, saw Mount dropped from the squad and he has since been unable to force his way back in. The 24-year-old signed for Manchester United in a £55m deal during the summer, but has had a modest start at Old Trafford.
A hamstring issue has restricted the midfielder to just four Premier League games and he has failed to provide a goal or assist in those appearances. Southgate values Mount’s industry and tactical intelligence, but the emergence of Jude Bellingham as a genuine superstar and James Maddison’s excellent form at club level means competition for an attacking midfield role is fierce.
There’s much to do for Mount to regain his role, in one of the most fiercely competitive areas of the England squad.
It wasn’t so long ago that Jadon Sancho was talked up as English football’s most exciting talent.
Four sensational seasons at Borussia Dortmund saw Sancho provide 114 goals and assists in 137 appearances, but a £72.9m move to Manchester United has since seen his career nosedive. Sancho has looked a shadow of the winger who tormented Bundesliga defences in Dortmund, scoring just nine goals in 58 league games for the Red Devils.
He was given extended leave last season in a bid to improve his ‘physical and mental’ state, but the break has done little to improve his fortunes and his career with the club now appears over after an explosive fallout with Erik ten Hag.
Sancho is currently training away from the first-team squad at Manchester United after hitting back at criticism from Ten Hag. He’s unlikely to feature for the club again, ruling him out of action until January at the earliest.
Just a handful of players have appeared for England under Gareth Southgate on more occasions than Eric Dier, who has won 37 caps under the current boss.
He was included in the squad for the 2022 World Cup last winter and appeared as a substitute in the quarter-final win over Senegal, but has not been seen in an England shirt since.
Dier’s lack of favour at club level has ruled him out of a return to the England squad and he has not played a single minute under new Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou. The 29-year-old – who is out of contract at the end of the season – has been told he is free to leave north London.
Conor Coady is another centre-back option for England, arguably the area of the pitch in which Southgate’s options are least convincing.
The 10-cap defender has been a valued member of recent squads – he was named as England’s player of the tournament by assistant manager Steve Holland at Euro 2020 despite not kicking a ball – and was again included for the World Cup last winter.
Coady, however, dropped into the Championship last summer to sign for relegated Leicester City. The move allowed the defender to return to the Midlands after seven seasons at Wolves, but has effectively ended hopes of making the Euros despite the Foxes being clear at the top of the second-tier table.
John Stones and Harry Maguire are long-term favourites of Southgate, while Fikayo Tomori, Levi Colwill and Marc Guehi are all competing at a higher standard at club level. Coady’s time with the England team might just be over.