England squad: Chelsea's Raheem Sterling left out as Crystal Palace star Eberechi Eze is drafted in for latest Euro 2024 qualifiers
- Sterling dropped after disappointing season
- Dunk earns first call up since 2018
- Palace star Eze also selected
WHAT HAPPENED? The Three Lions will aim to continue their perfect start to qualification from Group C when they take on Malta and North Macedonia next month. But despite being one of Southgate's stalwarts in qualifying and at major tournaments for England, Sterling misses out after a tumultuous and disappointing season with Chelsea. The winger has had to overcome numerous injury setbacks while overseeing three managerial tenures in west London, all while former club Manchester City celebrate a third straight league title.
WHAT THEY SAID: Southgate explained Sterling's omission in his latest press conference, confirming that the 28-year-old admitted to lacking the optimal fitness level necessary to turn out for his country. "I spoke with him a week or so ago. A general catch-up," he said. "He is not happy with his condition physically, carrying a hamstring problem. He wasn't really in consideration. He doesn't think he is operating at the level he needs."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Southgate was at the Etihad Stadium for Chelsea's defeat to City on Sunday as he made the final preparations to his squad, which ended in yet more disappointment for Sterling and Co. While the Blues winger is omitted, there is a deserved call-up for Brighton defender Lewis Dunk, who could earn only his second ever England cap - and his first since 2018 - after forming a vital part of Robert De Zerbi's European-clinching Brighton. Crystal Palace starlet Eberechi Eze, meanwhile, has been handed his maiden call-up by Southgate, after his blistering form has seen him record six goals and one assist since Roy Hodgson took over in late March.
The England boss added on Eze's inclusion: "We've liked him for a long time. He has finished the season very strongly, he can play in a couple of positions across that front line. He has high quality and bursts of speed to go past players with those dribbling skills."
AND WHAT'S MORE: Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope is not included due an operation on his hand, a procedure which The Times reports has been moved forward after the Magpies secured Champions League qualification on Monday. City's starting players will likely not feature against Malta on June 16, given that they will have played the Champions League final against Inter just six days before.
Here we go.— England (@England) May 24, 2023
Your #ThreeLions squad for June! 🏴
ENGLAND SQUAD IN FULL:
Goalkeepers: Sam Johnstone, Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Lewis Dunk, Marc Guehi, Harry Maguire, Tyrone Mings, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker
Midfielders: Jude Bellingham, Eberechi Eze, Conor Gallagher, Jordan Henderson, Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice
Forwards: Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Harry Kane, James Maddison, Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, Callum Wilson
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT FOR ENGLAND? Southgate's side travel to Malta on June 16 before hosting North Macedonia three days later.