Manchester United duo Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho have been left out of the England squad, while Crystal Palace centre-back Marc Guehi has earned his first call-up.
England are preparing for the winter World Cup in Qatar and have lined up two Wembley friendlies against Switzerland on March 26 and Ivory Coast on March 29.
Kyle Walker is also out of the 25-man squad, with Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold and Chelsea’s Reece James preferred, but Gareth Southgate says the Manchester City right-back will return for the June internationals.
“It is a difficult time for [Rashford]. He’s clearly not at his best. There’s plenty of time, we know a lot about Marcus anyway and hopefully he can rediscover some of his form.”
Southgate says the form of others pushed Rashford and Sancho out of his squad, with Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish preferred in the attacking wide areas.
Rashford, who was included in the squad in November, has been dropped after scoring just twice since then, and having been used largely as a substitute by United interim boss Ralf Rangnick since the turn of the year.
Southgate said: “It is a difficult time for [Rashford]. He’s clearly not at his best. There’s plenty of time, we know a lot about Marcus anyway and hopefully he can rediscover some of his form.”
Meanwhile, Sancho misses out again despite being handed more playing time in recent weeks for United.
Explaining Sancho’s exclusion, Southgate said: “Because with the other attacking players in the squad are slightly ahead of him in the moment in our feeling.”
Guehi, who was signed from Chelsea in the summer, has impressed at Palace under Patrick Vieira on his debut Premier League season and has been promoted from the U21s.
On the inclusion of Guehi, the England manager said: “With Marc, he’s had a really consistent season. I’ve been very impressed with him on and off the ball. In the biggest games, he’s been very calm.
“We know a lot about him through our development teams as well – he’s a junior World Cup winner – so there are some centre halves who are pushing and we’re very close, but we’ve added Marc and Ben White this time and we think it’s a good opportunity to see two slightly younger players and see how they cope being with us.”
There are six players in the 25-man squad – Nick Pope, Guehi, James Ward-Prowse, Conor Gallagher, Smith Rowe, and Abraham – who were not involved in the Euros.
There was no place in the squad for Crystal Palace forward Michael Olise, who has caught Southgate’s eye this season, with big uncertainty about where his international future lies.
The Hammersmith-born 20-year-old, who is eligible for four different nations, was on Friday called up for the France U21s for the first time, having represented them previously at U18 level.
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)
Could Ramsdale unseat Pickford for the World Cup?
Sky Sports’ Zinny Boswell on the Essential Football Podcast:
“He’s definitely been the best English goalkeeper performing in the Premier League this season, but – and it’s a big but – Jordan Pickford, despite the criticism he gets at Everton, has never let Gareth Southgate down.
“Before the Euros, there were a lot of question marks over whether he should play, but he was pretty spotless at that tournament.
“It would be a massive call if come Qatar, Southgate says ‘on your bike’ and puts Ramsdale in goal. Any mistake would just be magnified, and everyone would be asking where Pickford was.
“Saying that, I would just stress again that he’s definitely been the best English goalkeeper this season, so it’s certainly up for debate.”
England’s confirmed 2022 fixtures
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)
World Cup 2022 starts in November: Dates, draw, schedule, kick-off times
When and where is the 2022 World Cup?
The 2022 World Cup is taking place in Qatar in the winter months rather than the usual summer ones, due to the heat.
The tournament kicks off on Monday November 21 at the Al Bayt stadium in Al Khor with a match that will feature the host country.
The final will be played at the Lusail Stadium in Doha a week before Christmas on Sunday December 18.
Who has qualified so far?
As hosts, Qatar received automatic qualification to next year’s tournament
Four-time World Cup winners Germany were the first team to guarantee a spot through the qualification process in Europe, while Brazil – the most successful national team in World Cup history with five trophies – secured swift qualification as one of the top four teams in South America’s groups.
England secured their place in November by topping their qualifying group.