Gareth Southgate Explains Ben Chilwell's England Omission vs Croatia

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Ben Chilwell didn't deserve to be left out of England's 23-man squad that beat Croatia, Gareth Southgate has admitted.

The England boss is only able to name a 23-man squad but with 26 players in their group it means three players will be left out entirely each game. 

For the opening game against Croatia which England won one nil thanks to a Raheem Sterling finish, Ben Chilwell, Jadon Sancho and Harry Maguire were the trio to miss out. 

Chilwell, 24, is a Champions League winner, and many were left confused after Kieran Trippier was preferred at left-back despite playing as a right-sided player all season for club, Atletico Madrid.

Southgate knows it's a difficult call and will have further selection headache when the Three Lions face Scotland on Friday evening at Wembley in matchday two of Group D.

What Gareth Southgate said

As quoted by the Guardian, Southgate responded to questions over whether the camp remains strong despite three players having to miss out each gameweek, which saw Chilwell and Sancho absent against Croatia.

He said: "They (the group not showing potential problems over three missing out each game) haven’t because of how professionally they took those discussions and how much respect they’ve shown for the whole group. As have lots of substitutes who are good players who haven’t been able to get on the pitch [against Croatia]. We know that to be a successful team this is one of the areas that’s got to be right.

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“We don’t win today’s game without the way players prepared for the friendlies. Without the way the players who didn’t make the final squad of 26 contributed through that preparation period. All of those factors come into a team getting the sort of result it did today. That’s a team – that’s what it’s about. We’ve got to continue that right the way through this tournament.”

Southgate added: "This was the downside of a squad of 26 – to have to have conversations with boys that don’t deserve to be left out. But we’ve got to cover certain positions and for this game we went a certain route with Tripps at left-back.

“Everybody knows the competition for places in those attacking areas. So through no fault of their own we have to make a decision somewhere along the line and whoever we did that with is going to be a very good player who didn’t deserve it.”


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