England midfielder Jude Bellingham
Jude Bellingham and Mason Greenwood have been left out of England’s squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualfiers in order to manage their workload, Gareth Southgate has explained.
The teenage pair were both omitted from the 23-man squad to face Andorra and Hungary in October after discussions between Southagte, the players, their families and clubs.
Bellingham’s omission is a particular surprise after impressing in the win over Andorra during the September camp, while Greenwood has not played for England since being sent home from a trip to Iceland for disciplinary reasons last year.
Southgate said that both youngsters had endured long seasons at club level with Borussia Dortmund and Manchester United respectively, and that they have to be handled carefully before becoming regular senior players at international level.
“They don’t come as a pair but they are both similar situations in that they are young players with a heavy load at the moment,” he explained.
“I’ve spoken with both of the players. Jude at the moment has a high level of matches. He’s playing Champions League games, he’s playing league games. As an 18-year-old he had a full season last season then into a European Championship so no break.
“We have to remember these lads are physically growing. When we are talking about young player development, we have to be careful how we handle them and make sure that they are two players we feel can be really exciting players for England for the future. We don’t want to overload them and we’ve got to be making sure we make the right decisions.”
Southgate added: “They’re very much decisions that have been taken with me having conversations with the players and their families rather than any sort of deal with the club.
“Both clubs, we have very good relationships with and we have spoken to about the situations. It’s not a deal with the club, it’s very much us looking at young players.
“Normally with these sorts of things, these players would be in our under-18s, 19s, 20s. These sorts of things happen all the time but of course the profile of these two boys is much higher, they’re both playing very well, so I can understand why people would raise their eyes.
“It’s not a case that we don’t think the players deserve to be in the squad. We’d be picking them if we didn’t have those longer term aims and ambitions in mind, I think.”
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