There has been some surprise, at least to some, that there are only two Manchester United players in the England squad for the upcoming international break. Whilst Southgate was questioned why Sancho and Rashford weren’t included, the fact that there were only two Manchester United players in the squad wasn’t as big news until Tyrick Mitchell became Crystal Palace’s third England call-up to the squad.
Here, we’ll be providing a quick analysis on why this is, examining who should have been selected, and also answering whether Southgate selecting such a small amount of United players was of his own volition or due to outside factors.
More Crystal Palace Players in Squad than United
Mitchell’s call-up means that there are more Eagles players in the England squad than those from the Red Devils. He was added to the squad because of injuries affecting Trent Alexander-Arnold and Reece James. With Luke Shaw as the only left-back in the squad, it made sense for Mitchell to get called up to act as his deputy.
Apart from Mitchell, the other two Palace players in the England squad are centre-back Marc Guehi and midfielder Conor Gallagher. This is Gallagher’s second England call-up since being at Palace, but Guehi’s first. These three stars under Vieira have impressed Southgate and his staff and they’ll all be hoping to get a chance to further impress the England manager.
With Palace reaching the FA Cup semi-finals and going five games in the league unbeaten it’s clear why they’re featuring in Southgate’s squad. Surprisingly, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw are the only Man United players to feature in the England squad and this has highlighted how poor they’ve been this season.
Omission of Man Utd Players
Manchester United stars, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford were the two names that everyone was surprised to be left out.
There’s also Aaron Wan Bissaka who didn’t get called up as he has lost his starting place since Solsjkær left as Dalot has been Rangnick’s preferred right-back. Last year he would’ve been in contention of being called up with Reece James and Trent Alexander-Arnold both out with injuries and Kyle Walker, not in the squad, but Southgate has given Southampton’s Kyle Walker-Peters his first England call-up instead.
Rashford hasn’t looked confident all season and it’s been reported widely in the media that his focus isn’t in the right place at the moment. He also came back from an operation on his shoulder a month into the season, but this isn’t the only reason for his poor form. Out of 19 matches in the league, he’s scored four and got two assists. These are low numbers compared to the previous two seasons. Maybe Ronaldo’s return has meant less playing time for him, but there have been clear occasions when it appears that he’s not putting all of his effort into the match.
Jadon Sancho has found it hard to adapt to life in the English Premier League following his transfer from Borussia Dortmund in the summer. He was one of the three players that missed a penalty in the Euro 2020 final with Italy and the abuse that he got on social media no doubt had an impact on him at the start of the season. In recent weeks he has finally come back strong and looked impressive under Ralf Rangnick, but Southgate clearly didn’t think he deserved a place in the squad. It’s hard to disagree with this choice when you see the likes of Phil Foden, Jack, Grealish, Bakayo Saka, and Mason Mount included in front of him.
Dean Henderson did not feature in the squad because of a persistent hip injury. It was less than a year ago when the discussion of could he be England’s new number one was happening. This injury limits him from playing matches as well as training. Arsenal keeper, Aaron Ramsdale, now looks like the second-choice and maybe even first if he can recover from his recent injury and keep up the performance that we’ve seen him in this year.
Man United’s Poor Performance This Season
For most Premier League fans, it’s clear that Man United’s performance hasn’t been good enough this season. This led to the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but since Ralf Rangnick came in it doesn’t look like much has changed consistently.
Despite winning two out of their last three games in the league, the performance still isn’t convincing. They’re out of the Champions League after defeat at home to Atletico Madrid and sat in 6th place in the league behind Arsenal and Tottenham in 4th and 5th. There are still nine games to go, but it doesn’t look great for Manchester United.