Boothroyd hails ‘brave decision’ from Southgate as young trio join England squad

Mae Harvey
October 8, 2018

England coach Gareth Southgate underlined his commitment to giving young players a chance on the highest stage by handing call-ups Thursday to teenage midfielders in the second division and the Bundesliga.

On the very afternoon his new four-year contract was made official by the FA, Gareth Southgate has named the 25-man squad he will have at his disposal for England's upcoming Nations League ties against Croatia and Spain.

The youngster is now leading the charts for the number of assists (five) this season across Europe's top five leagues, managing to provide a goal for a teammate for every 25 minutes of action.

"He's a player that we know has good technical quality, is grasping the tactical side of the game - I was interested to read his interviews this morning on that - so it's a good opportunity for him to come in".

Under Southgate, England had the second-youngest squad at the World Cup and the team had an energy and enthusiasm not seen in the national team in years.

With England, Sancho has won Federation Internationale de Football Association U-17 World Cup in 2017 the UEFA European Under-17 Championship Golden Player and was part of the Team of the Tournament.

"Well, it is (a big call) but I think it aligns with what we've done over the last 18 months, really", the Three Lions boss said.

"There is an opportunity there", he added, regarding the injured players.

"Okay, we've got to think differently about it, be bold in some of our decisions and we'll get some of those right and some we won't get right". We have a few injuries in midfield in particular so there was an opportunity there. He recently signed a new contract with the German club.

"It's been a courageous decision by him to play in the Bundesliga, but he is playing in front of big support every week".

Since his move from Norwich City for £20 million, the 21-year-old has been in fine form for the Foxes, having bagged three goals and two assists for the side so far. The selection of Sancho and Mount, as well as set-piece specialist Maddison, is Southgate's way of confronting that problem.

Several other uncapped players are also involved: Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli, Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy and Watford midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah making up the sextet of debutantes.

England lost to Spain 2-1 in its first match in the newly formed Nations League.

Borussia Dortmund's Sancho has risen from the under-19s - Southgate, however, said he would have been selected regardless of injuries - while Mount and Maddison had been part of Boothroyd's under-21 squad. If he sees out his deal, he will be longest-serving England coach since Bobby Robson (1982-90).

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