England boss Southgate explains decision to drop Walker

England boss Gareth Southgate said a mixture of current fitness and taking a chance on young players were driving factors in his squad selection for the European Championship qualifiers against Bulgaria and Kosovo.

The uncapped Tyrone Mings, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Mason Mount and James Maddison have all received England call-ups as right-back Kyle Walker was surprisingly left out.

“We only have eight matches before I name the squad for the European Championship,” Southgate said.

“September’s squad is quite a difficult one with the limited number of games at club level.

“We learned some lessons from last September on the importance of physical fitness at this time of year, also some exciting players we wanted to look at and involve and we look forward to seeing them on the grass this week.”

Wan-Bissaka joined Manchester United from Crystal Palace in the summer and Southgate explained his inclusion, while Manchester City defender Walker was left out.

“We tracked him very closely last year and thought he had an outstanding season last season, but he should stay with the under-21 group,” the Three Lions boss said.

“He’s adapted very well to a high profile move with the intensity and pressure and we are really looking at him and Trent (Alexander-Arndold).

“We also want to reintegrate Kieran Trippier into the group to know he’s still on our radar.

“It’s an area of the pitch where we have a lot of quality. Kyle started the season really well so I explained the situation to him. They all have different strengths.”


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