Southgate Shakes Up England Squad: White Omitted Again, Toney Recalled!

Gareth Southgate has named his latest England squad ahead of the upcoming friendlies against Brazil and Belgium.

The 25-man list features some familiar faces alongside a few surprises. As it usually does when it comes to the Three Lions.

Jude Bellingham is undoubtedly England’s brightest young talent. However, questions linger about his best position on the pitch.

Southgate has primarily deployed him in a box-to-box role, but as he has clearly shown in a Real Madrid shirt, his skill set is best utilized in a more advanced attacking position.

With Declan Rice and Jordan Henderson likely to anchor the midfield, it will be interesting to see how Southgate utilizes Bellingham’s talents against Brazil and Belgium.

One of the biggest talking points is the absence of Arsenal’s Ben White. White has been a rock at the back for the Gunners this season.

The versatile defender can play as a centre-back, right back, part of a back three, and as of late, is now inverting into midfield for Mikel Arteta’s side.  

Reports from The Athletic suggest a potential rift between White and assistant manager Steve Holland following an incident during the World Cup in Qatar.

Whether this directly influenced Southgate’s, decision (he says White does not want to be considered) remains unclear, but White’s exclusion has raised eyebrows.

Southgate has opted for a mix of experience and youth in this squad. Recalls for John Stones, Joe Gomez, and Ivan Toney demonstrate a willingness to experiment and potentially solidify backup options ahead of Euro 2024.

Exciting youngsters like Jarrad Branthwaite and Anthony Gordon also receive their first call-ups.

Ivan Toney’s inclusion in the England squad marks a remarkable turnaround for the Brentford striker.

Overlooked in the past, his red-hot form in the Premier League has finally seen him rewarded with a call-up.

More than just goals, Toney’s skillset goes beyond just finding the back of the net. He is a strong physical presence in the box, holding up the ball well and creating opportunities for teammates.

England’s upcoming fixtures against Brazil and Belgium present a significant challenge. Both teams are above England in the FIFA rankings and boast world-class talent.

These matches will be a valuable test for Southgate’s squad as they build towards the Euros.

Southgate’s selection has stirred the pot, offering plenty of talking points for fans and analysts.

While Ben White’s absence remains a mystery, the inclusion of exciting youngsters and the chance to see England tested against top opposition makes these friendlies highly anticipated.

The squad

Goalkeepers: Sam Johnstone (Crystal Palace), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)

Defenders: Jarrad Branthwaite (Everton), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Lewis Dunk (Brighton & Hove Albion), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Ezri Konsa (Aston Villa), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kyle Walker (Manchester City)

Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Ajax), James Maddison (Tottenham Hotspur), Declan Rice (Arsenal)

Forwards: Jarrod Bowen (West Ham United) Phil Foden (Manchester City), Anthony Gordon (Newcastle United), Harry Kane (Bayern Munich), Cole Palmer (Chelsea), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Ivan Toney (Brentford), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa)

Written by Nigel Naicker