Journalist from England: Jude Bellingham’s selection for Euro 2020 depends on the physical form of Jordan Henderson | Football News

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England's Raheem Sterling (left) and Albania's Sokol Cikalleshi fight for the ball


After Jude Bellingham’s man of the match performance against Manchester City on Wednesday, Sky Sports News reporter Rob Dorsett assesses whether the Borussia Dortmund prodigy has done enough to secure a place in England’s Euro campaign 2020 …

Bellingham’s exceptional form has sparked an important debate among England fans – and, you might expect, in Gareth Southgate’s mind – about whether the 17-year-old should be included in the squad of 23 men for the European Championships this summer.

Man of the match for many against Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-finals – there is no more debate as to whether he can handle the big chances. His energy, bristling determination, clever sense of position and consummate poise on the ball left Pep Guardiola purring: “I can’t believe it. [he is only 17]. Maybe he’s lying! He is so good. “

Southgate said the same thing. He moved heaven and earth to make Bellingham part of his squad for all three of the World Cup qualifiers last month, despite the seemingly impossible Covid restrictions imposed by the German government.

Southgate made the unprecedented decision to name Bellingham to his squad, then at the press conference accompanying the announcement, saying he felt it was nearly impossible to join him.

So why not leave Bellingham’s name off the original list and then include it as an addition, if (as it turned out to be) Germany surprisingly changed its coronavirus rules? Why? Because Southgate wanted to send a message to Bellingham, and everyone else, that the teenager is a key part of his plans.

He thinks very well of Bellingham, and sees him as a future regular for England in the center of midfield, where he has long lamented the absence of a traditional, box-to-box ‘number eight’.

But this is where the catch lies. Southgate sees Bellingham as part of England’s future. What future? The future that begins on June 13, with the opening of England’s group match against Croatia? Or the future that begins after the euro, when plans are put in place before the Qatar World Cup in December 2022?

It surprised many to know that after making such an effort to get Bellingham into the England squad a few weeks ago, the England boss only played him for 45 minutes in the second half against San Marino. Bellingham did not come off the bench against Albania or Poland at all.

If Bellingham is truly a key part of Southgate’s plans for the Euros, why hasn’t he given the 17-year-old more much-needed international experience ahead of such an important tournament? Bellingham has won two caps – he played 45 minutes against San Marino last month and 17 minutes when he made his debut against Ireland in November.

Is an hour of international football, against two teams ranked 210 and 47 respectively in the world, any indicator that Southgate sees Bellingham as a key part of their plans for this tournament?

Make no mistake, there is no room in Southgate’s 23-passenger crew. Everyone will have to play their part and play a role on the ground. Forget any idea that the England manager might include Bellingham in the squad just so he can gain experience in a major tournament, to hold him in good stead for the future. Southgate does not have that luxury, and already some big names will surely miss the final selection as a result.

If UEFA changes its rules and allows a 25-man squad, Bellingham has a very good chance of making his first major tournament at the age of 17.

If the squad size stays at 23, however, it looks like Bellingham’s odds hinge on the fitness, or not, of Jordan Henderson. If Henderson recovers from knee surgery in time to play for Liverpool before the end of the season, Southgate is sure to include him. England’s regular captain, Henderson is seen as a fantastic influence on the team, on and off the pitch.

If Henderson is included there is unlikely to be a place for Bellingham – much to the dismay of many England fans.

Foden against Sterling?

Southgate has always said he will select and play the players who play regularly and in the best shape for their clubs. If he is true to his word then Phil Foden is ahead of teammate Raheem Sterling at the moment in the England pecking order.

Sterling has only started five of Manchester City’s last eight games and he has failed to score during that time. Foden has started in each of City’s last two Champions League games and has scored in both. He has scored 15 goals for club and country this season, and is in the kind of form that makes him an almost certain starter for England, if the Euros were now.

Foden was also outstanding for England, in the World Cup qualifiers last month. Only goalkeeper Nick Pope and midfielder Kalvin Phillips had more playing time in all three matches.

However – Marcus Rashford is back in shape and playing for Manchester United. Jack Grealish is expected to return for Aston Villa shortly. Jadon Sancho is back in training with Dortmund after his thigh injury – none of these were available for Southgate in March.

The wide attacking positions are where England are fortunate to have options, and so, although Foden is almost certain to make the Euros squad (barring injury or a dramatic drop in form), he is not a guaranteed starter at this point.

When it comes to Sterling, Southgate is a constant and vocal fan. As the debate raged publicly at the last World Cup as to whether it should be Rashford or Sterling who got the nod for England, Southgate’s spirit was set. Sterling was the first choice, clear and simple. The only game he didn’t start, of the seven England played in Russia, was the ‘dead rubber’ in the last group game against Belgium. For the rest, he was one of the first names on the team sheet.

Southgate believes Sterling is doing errands that no other player does, creating chances that wouldn’t happen if he wasn’t there, and although Sterling’s critics point out the chances he misses, Southgate believes that those chances wouldn’t have existed if Sterling wasn’t on the pitch.

All in all, despite Foden’s spectacular current form, the wide starting offensive positions are still up for grabs with England opening the Euro against Croatia at eight weeks.

James Maddison holds his foot as he sits injured

Maddison to miss?

As far as James Maddison is concerned, it’s hard to see how he can now make his way into Southgate’s summer plans.

The hip injury that marred Maddison’s season and kept him out of the final international break is key. But it’s also clear that Southgate is concerned with his personality as well. When the England manager heard about Maddison’s recent indiscretion, where, along with four other Leicester team-mates, he broke coronavirus regulations and went to a party at Ayoze Perez’s – you suspect Southgate was decided .

There was already a growing lack of opportunities in England’s midfielder ranks, even before Maddison’s misstep. Mason Mount came across as a certainty from Southgate – not just for the team, but apparently in the starting 11 as well. Behind the scenes, Southgate feels that England fans are now starting to see what he has long believed – that Mount can play anywhere in central midfield. , and even wide – and wherever he plays he will always score at least seven out of ten.

But also remember how Southgate reacted in October 2019, when Maddison was unlucky enough to be ill during a camp in England. He was sent home, unable to train or play, as English doctors feared he was contagious. Maddison then left his apartment to watch England’s game against the Czech Republic on television at his local casino, where he was filmed. He wasn’t drinking. He was not socializing. He just didn’t want to sit alone in his apartment watching the game.

The headlines were saying “Too bad to play for England, but not too bad to go to the casino,” which was okay. Asked about it, Southgate said it was a misguided decision on Maddison’s part and he needed to learn that he is now in the brighter spotlight than he was at the start of his career.

At the time, that seemed like a surprisingly harsh warning from the England manager. A chip in the ear of the confident young playmaker. Now that Maddison has broken Covid regulations, you can almost feel Southgate’s eyes roll. It will take time, you think, and more than just top notch performances, for Maddison to regain Southgate’s trust.

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