REACTION: Gareth Southgate selects his England U21 squad but is it good enough?

Gareth Southgate has announced his 27-man preliminary England squad for the UEFA Under 21 European Championships this summer and there were some high profile names omitted from the squad.

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
Marcus Bettinelli Fulham 0
Jonothan Bond Watford 0
Jack Butland Stoke City 3
Calum Chambers Arsenal 23
Eric Dier Tottenham 27
Luke Garbutt Everton 4
Ben Gibson Middlesborough 0
Carl Jenkinson Arsenal 31
Michael Keane Burnley 20
Liam Moore Leicester City 11
John Stones Everton 22
Matt Targett Southampton 6
Tom Carroll Tottenham 13
Nathaniel Chalobah Chelsea 0
Will Hughes Derby County 0
Jake Forster-Caskey Brighton and Hove Albion 0
Jesse Lingard Manchester United 1
Ruben Loftus-Cheek Chelsea 3
Alex Pritchard Tottenham 0
Nathan Redmond Norwich City 0
James Ward-Prowse Southampton 24
Benik Afobe Wolves 0
Patrick Bamford Chelsea 0
Saido Berahino West Brom 37
Harry Kane Tottenham 33
Danny Ings Burnley 34
Cauley Woodrow Fulham 0

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?

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City to raid Arsenal and Liverpool in £35m double swoop

Manchester City are interested in signing Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere and Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson, according to the Daily Mail, as they look to add a more English feel to their starting lineup from next season.

With Frank Lampard on his way to New York City FC and James Milner’s contract set to expire, City are chasing English replacements.

Wilshere could struggle to force his way back into the Arsenal set-up as Wenger’s current system is working well and his injury-hit career could see the Gunners cash in on 23-year-old midfielder.

Henderson has attracted interest from top Premier League clubs, Chelsea and City, and has only one year left on his Liverpool contract so a move away this summer could be real possibility, especially if the Reds fail to qualify for the Champions League.

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With the pair rated around £42 million combined – Wilshere £22m and Henderson £20m, according to transfermarkt.co.uk, they could be achievable signings for City.

The Manchester club has delved into Arsenal’s squad on many occasions, spending around £80m on Emmanuel Adebayor, Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri, Kolo Toure and Bacary Sagna in the past and clearly appeal to the Gunners’ stars as they appear to pay comparatively higher wages than the North London club.

This would be a more favourable financial move than rumoured signing of top European target, Paul Pogba. The Juventus star is attracting interest from Chelsea, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United to name a few but will cost more than Wilshere and Henderson combined.

Should Manchester City sign Jack Wilshere and Jordan Henderson this summer? Are they the players they need?