Will Sancho and Rashford go to the World Cup?
Although Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho were not named in the latest England squad, manager Gareth Southgate has left the door open to a possible recall in time for the World Cup finals.
Southgate said: “There were certain players we wanted to keep involved this time but, that said, it doesn’t mean that this is the end for some of the others who aren’t involved. Marcus Rashford, for example, has shown some encouraging signs recently. He is a player we know well so, if he can perform at a high level in the next few weeks, of course he will be under consideration.”
These comments offered some optimism to our panel on The Debate that there could be more Manchester United representation in the Three Lions squad come November. Dean Henderson, Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire are all in the squad for the upcoming games against Italy and Germany.
When asked if the forward pair's exclusion was a surprise, ex-defender David May said: "Not so much Marcus because, obviously, he's got a bit of an injury. Hopefully, he'll be all right for the [Manchester] City game. Jadon Sancho, I thought, warranted a call-up.
"I don't think he's done anything wrong. Some of his goals have been fantastic. It doesn't matter how big the squads are, take him away to give him the experience of being with the first team with England again. I found it a little bit strange that he didn't go and even taking Marcus for two or three days, there's such a gap until the next game.
"Just to be in the environment with the lads because everyone knows there is a World Cup coming up. You don't want to just be thrown in there, right at the death. You need players so it's nice to have that togetherness. Obviously, Gareth Southgate sees it a little bit differently. Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire have got in there, without playing [much] over the last four or five games so it just goes to show. Does he have his squad ready? Or probably 20 of the players or 18 that he knows are going? I just don't know but it is a strange one."
Journalists Rob Dawson and Laurie Whitwell felt Sancho was unfortunate to be edged out of the squad by West Ham United winger Jarrod Bowen.
"Gareth has got more options up front than at the back," explained Dawson, who works for ESPN. "That's why Luke and Harry got in without playing, while Jadon in particularly, has been playing regularly and scored goals so I expected him to be in. Probably he would have expected to be in. He's scored in big games, the Liverpool game was a high-profile one so I would worry for him and the World Cup.
"Marcus has got a bit of an injury. If he can get fit, there's a chance he can get back in but Jadon is playing well and fit so there's no reason why he should not be in the squad and no disrespect to Jarrod Bowen but he and West Ham have not been playing well, he's not scoring, and Jadon has not been picked at his expense so I find it a little bit strange."
"Maybe Southgate wants to see a consistent run of form," added Whitwell of The Athletic. "Personally, I feel the quality is there for all to see. I feel he's technically a better player than Bowen but maybe Bowen is a different option due to the high intensity West Ham play at. Maybe Jadon is getting to that as it's what Erik ten Hag likes.
"It comes down, ultimately, to what Southgate wants from his squad and he has had success with it. I have to say this period England have had under him as been the best, as you can see, in history, apart from obviously winning the World Cup, for consistency. That's his way of doing it but it is a bit of an odd squad, with a lot of defenders in it.
"Maybe Ten Hag can get specific with him as there's not the whole team to work on patterns of play but he'll have Jadon and Marcus, and they can now perhaps get really detailed one-on-one instructions."