Mauricio Pochettino has said Chelsea duo Raheem Sterling and Reece James are ‘desperate’ to be involved with England after being left out of the latest squad.
Both players were not named in the Three Lions squad to face Malta and North Macedonia this month, with Sterling having not featured for the national team since the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The 28-year-old has won 82 caps for England, but faces a fight to reclaim his place in Gareth Southgate’s plans. Chelsea captain James is also absent having started just three games this season due to injury.
“It is Gareth’s decision and you have to respect that. All the English players are desperate to go to their national team,” Pochettino said at his press conference ahead of Chelsea’s clash with Manchester City this weekend.
“Sometimes they feel disappointed as they are not in. But the only way to change that is really working hard in your club.”
Southgate explained James’ absence this week and said the right-back ruled himself out of contention. Pochettino refuted that suggestion, insisting it is the decision of Chelsea’s medical staff.
“It’s never the decision of the player,” Pochettino said. “The medical staff, sports science and coaching staff always take the decisions, not the player.
“Reece is desperate to go to the national team and I only think this will be good for the national team and Chelsea also. But it’s not a decision by him, he is desperate to go.”