GARETH SOUTHGATE has damningly admitted some of his England squad do not deserve their place.
The Three Lions boss yesterday named his 26-man party for the World Cup qualifiers with Slovenia and Lithuania.
But Southgate said: “If you were to say, ‘Am I entirely happy with the squad I’ve named?’, then no. We’ve got too many good players missing with injury.
“And the consequence of that is you could argue there are one or two in the squad who haven’t necessarily warranted it on their performances.”
Manchester City midfielder Fabian Delph, who won his last England cap in November 2015, has been recalled despite playing only 20 minutes in the Premier League this season.
Leicester striker Jamie Vardy has been controversially left out because of a hip problem.
Danny Welbeck, Nathaniel Chalobah and Tom Heaton are the other members from the last squad to miss out injured. England will seal qualification for next year’s World Cup in Russia with a win over Slovenia at Wembley on Thursday.
But Southgate added: “We’ve got about 12 players missing with injury — it’s incredible. I don’t want players to be comfortable because the danger when you don’t have competition for places is two-fold.
“What’s the level needed at your club to get in the squad and is everyone fulfilling that at the moment? Well, I’m not so sure they are.
“Then it’s, ‘We come into training, am I a shoo-in for the team or do I have to push harder because I have a couple snapping at my heels?’
“There’s been a couple of easy decisions because I haven’t had to make phone calls this week. They are always difficult but I’d rather make them.”
KEEPERS: Hart, Forster, Butland, Pickford. DEFENDERS: Bertrand, Cresswell, Cahill, Jones, Maguire, Stones, Keane, Smalling, Walker, Trippier. MIDFIELDERS: Dier, Delph, Livermore, Henderson, Sterling, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lingard, Dele. STRIKERS: Rashford, Kane, Defoe, Sturridge.
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