Ward-Prowse told to ‘retire now’ and Maguire labelled a ‘training ground player’

James Ward-Prowse may as well retire from international football if he cannot get into Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad, according to Chris Sutton. The former one-cap wonder has also described Harry Maguire as a “training ground player” upon his inclusion despite a lack of minutes at club level.

Gareth Southgate announces latest England squad

England face Ukraine on Saturday in their fifth Euro 2024 qualifier. They then play Scotland in a friendly at Hampden Park on Tuesday evening.

Southgate named his squad last Thursday before the latest round of Premier League matches. Eddie Nketiah and Levi Colwill received their first senior call-ups, while Raheem Sterling was a notable absentee.

Maguire, as expected, was selected despite not starting a match for Manchester United so far this season. Ward-Prowse, though, was left out despite an impressive start to life at West Ham.

Read more… Jadon Sancho ‘refuses to meet Ten Hag’ as Man Utd have four reasons to axe star

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Sutton believes there are four centre-backs selected that are more warranted to start than Maguire. But he has questioned how Kalvin Phillips has kept his spot ahead of Ward-Prowse.

Sutton told Mail Sport’s It’s All Coming Up: “The centre half area is really interesting, but when you have the likes of [Fikayo] Tomori, [Marc] Guehi, Lewis Dunk, Colwill… I understand that he’s [Maguire] got to prove himself more.

“I do think that they have stronger cases to start for England than Harry Maguire does at this moment in time. You can’t be a training ground player and expect to start for your country, albeit Harry Maguire has never really let England down too badly.

“I can understand the Maguire thing to a greater extent in terms of Gareth picking him than I can for Kalvin Phillips. But if you’re James Ward-Prowse, he may as well retire now.”

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Ward-Prowse has won 11 caps for England since making his debut in March 2017. He hasn’t played since a 0-0 Nations League draw with Italy in June 2022.

The 28-year-old has a goal and three assists in his first four appearances for West Ham but was ignored by Southgate. Sutton says Ward-Prowse must be wondering if he’ll play another game for his country.

The former Chelsea striker added: “The message which it sends to players like James Ward-Prowse, players who have started the season very, very well… I mean, he must think he’s never, ever going to get an opportunity to play for England again.

“I just, I think Gareth has got this one wrong. I understand the loyalty factor, but how can Gareth essentially judge these players?”

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