Raheem Sterling, Ross Barkley, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere are all absent from the squad, despite being available for selection. It will be interesting to see how many of them play for the senior team next month when they face Republic of Ireland and Slovenia, as Southgate will not have them available at this summer’s tournament.
Of the selected 27 players, they accumulate just 268 Premier League appearances this season, and average just 10 league appearances each, with 11 members of the squad playing outside the Premier League this season.
|Player||Parent Club||Premier League appearances 2014-15|
|Jack Butland||Stoke City||3|
|Liam Moore||Leicester City||11|
|Will Hughes||Derby County||0|
|Jake Forster-Caskey||Brighton and Hove Albion||0|
|Jesse Lingard||Manchester United||1|
|Nathan Redmond||Norwich City||0|
|Saido Berahino||West Brom||37|
In all honesty it is a weaker squad than anticipated, especially when you consider the midfielders selected have only made 41 league appearances between the nine of them, averaging under 5 appearances each. A shocking statistic for a squad that are deemed as favourites as Gareth Southgate has suggested.
When speaking about his selections, Southgate had this to say: “The group dynamic is important and we’ve taken the learnings on board and this group of players have opportunity to set the standard.
“We want to go and play in a certain style this summer and, yes, we want to win but it can’t be the sole focus. Development is key.”
But once again, should England fail to win the championship, questions will be asked about how strong the squad that was taken and should senior players have been selected?
However, Southgate has said: “We feel we should reward this group for what they’ve achieved up until now.
“We’ve worked closely with Roy (Hodgson) about what’s right thing for each player and the experience.” So if the worst was to happen and England crash out of the tournament again, like they did in Israel two years ago, Hodgson will be as much to blame as anyone.
The big debate is that if players are fit and available to be selected for the Under 21s then they probably should be.
Do you think the current England Under 21 squad is strong enough to win the European Championships, or should a stronger team have been selected?