May 12, 2021

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Shaw and Lingard return to England squad as Watkins wins first call


Luke Shaw and Jesse Lingard have been called up to the England squad for this month’s World Cup qualifiers.

There are also early calls for Aston Villa forward Ollie Watkins and West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, who are the only uncapped players in the squad.

Reece James, Phil Foden and Jude Bellingham have all been added after being excluded from the Under-21 squad for the European Championship, along with Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka.

Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate, who also included John Stones in his selection, praised the resilience shown by Shaw and the Manchester City defender to bounce back into the fold after falling out of favor.

“I think we often talk about coaches and managers and the impact on players, but in the end you have to give players a lot of credit when they bounce back from being disappointed, get back into shape,” said he declared.

“It’s been a lot of soul searching, hard work on the training ground, and I think Luke and John deserve huge credit for it.

“His defense was on the front foot, he was aggressive, showed great ambition in his attacking game. We know it has quality. Were excited. He won his chance.

Reflecting on the call for the fit Watkins, Southgate explained his decision and referred to the absence of Tammy Abraham and Patrick Bamford from the account.

“There are a number of positions where there are very tight calls,” Southgate said. “We wanted an additional forward. Tammy was not involved for Chelsea, and for both Ollie and Patrick in particular, their goalscoring record has been good.

“We love their personalities. We like [Watkins’] squeeze, accelerate and run behind. He has improvements to make to link the game.

“It was a very close call because everything I said about Ollie, I could say it about Patrick, too. Patrick is a player we watch a lot.

Bellingham was chosen despite concerns from Borussia Dortmund that he would be forced to quarantine upon his return to Germany, although Southgate has admitted the 17-year-old is unlikely to be involved.

“We left him on the team. Right now it looks like we won’t be able to take him away, ”he said.

“But those rules may change and while we are still looking for what is possible, we wanted to name him to the team.

“We have a very good relationship with Dortmund and I explained to Jude that it seems doubtful he can join.

Wolves defender Conor Coady retains his place, as does Chelsea left-back Ben Chilwell, although he has recently struggled for playing time under Thomas Tuchel.

Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse is selected, while Bamford teammate from Leeds United, Kalvin Phillips, who made his debut last September, will be involved.

Southgate’s side will face San Marino on March 25 before a game against Albania three days later. They then face Poland on March 31.

The England team:

Dean Henderson (Manchester United), Sam Johnstone (West Brom), Nick Pope (Burnley); Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolves), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City )), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), Kyle Walker (Manchester City); Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jesse Lingard (West Ham), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United), Declan Rice (West Ham), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton); Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa).