Gareth Southgate is considering calling up Crystal Palace’s Tyrick Mitchell to the England senior squad for the first time after a spate of injuries and illnesses issues emerged over the weekend.
Southgate is meeting with the rest of the England coaching staff on Monday to assess those who might withdraw, and also decide which players he will add to his squad.
But he has a major problem in defence, with Luke Shaw the only fit full-back remaining on his list – and he has not played since the end of February, after recovering from injury and a bout of Covid.
Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold is out for a few weeks with a hamstring strain, and Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has made it clear he wants Reece James to stay with the Blues to recover from injury, rather than join up for two friendly internationals at Wembley.
Fellow Chelsea defender Ben Chilwell and Newcastle’s Kieran Trippier are still out with long-term injuries, and Bukayo Saka is performing so well at right wing for Arsenal, Southgate will be loathe to drop him into left back.
That means Mitchell is in a strong position for his first call up – despite having never played in any of England’s junior teams.
The 22-year-old has played 33 matches for Palace this season and has caught the eye of the England boss.
“Tyrick, we’ve been really impressed with, he was very close [to a call-up],” Southgate said last week. “I think he’s been very good with his defending, he gets out quickly to people and in the biggest games against top opponents he’s coped really well.
“Look, who knows – we could have changes over the weekend and he’s one in our thoughts.”
There are four right-backs in England’s U21 squad who will also come into Southgate’s thinking.
Southampton’s Tino Livramento, Brighton’s Tariq Lamptey, West Ham’s Ben Johnson and Nottingham Forest’s Djed Spence could each make the step up to the senior team, though Southgate will be mindful that the junior side face two Euro qualifiers over the next fortnight.
There are problems with goalkeepers too, with Aaron Ramsdale ruled out for a few weeks with a muscle strain, and Jordan Pickford still recovering from illness – though he did play in Everton’s 4-0 defeat to Palace yesterday.
Southgate has given England’s players an extra day off, as they head into their first international training camp of 2022, with the squad due to report at St George’s Park on Tuesday.
Sancho unlucky but on the right path
“The other attacking players in the squad are slightly ahead of him at the moment,” Southgate said on why there is no Jadon Sancho in his latest England squad.
But the Manchester United winger’s omission will come as a surprise to many.
Having been left out of the previous camp in November after starting just four Premier League matches before the sacking of former United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the 21-year-old has enjoyed a noticeable return to form under interim boss Ralf Rangnick.
After missing the World Cup qualifiers against Albania and San Marino last year, ex-Germany international Lothar Matthaus told Sky Sports News’ Sancho made a mistake when he left Borussia Dortmund in the summer.
England’s 25-man squad
Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford (Everton), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal), Nick Pope (Burnley)
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Conor Coady (Wolves), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Ben White (Arsenal)
Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Conor Gallagher (Crystal Palace), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Declan Rice (West Ham), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)
Forwards: Tammy Abraham (Roma), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Emile Smith Rowe (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
Saturday, March 26: Switzerland (h)
Tuesday, March 29: Ivory Coast (h)
June 4: Hungary (a)
June 8: Germany (a)
June 11: Italy (h)
June 14: Hungary (h)
September 23: Italy (a)
September 26: Germany (h)