Football

Gareth Southgate had a pretty harsh reason for snubbing Chris Smalling this week

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Gareth Southgate has named his latest England squad ahead of the international friendlies with Germany and Brazil and there's been no shortage of surprises.

Tammy Abraham, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Joe Gomez were all given their first call-ups to the senior side and are likely to collect their maiden caps when the fixtures roll round.

Meanwhile, Jack Wilshere was kept out of the frame with Southgate lamenting his lack of regular first-team action and opting for Tottenham starlet Harry Winks in his place.

The 21-year-old's imperious midfield performances across two games with Real Madrid ultimately served to trump Wilshere's fleeting, although impressive, cup appearances.

There was also a return to the international scene for Ashley Young who's impressive recent run with Manchester United has earned him a first selection since 2013.

Nevertheless, even aside from Wilshere, there was a fair share of complaints with the team as the absences of Jordan Pickford, Ryan Bertrand and even Lewis Dunk raised questions on Twitter.

One of the most notable absentees proved Chris Smalling.

The Englishman has endured a tricky 12 months at Old Trafford and has fallen behind Phil Jones in the pecking order - a far cry from his swift start to life at the club in 2011.

Smalling remains a sturdy selection at centre-back in spite of his struggle, though, and has accumulated 31 caps for the Three Lions featuring a winning against Portugal in the build-up to Euro 2016.

That being said, Southgate had no doubts when it came to Smalling's selection or absent with the 27-year-old failing to meet criteria that is becoming increasingly desired for defenders.

In his selection press conference, the 47-year-old explained: "I have huge respect for Chris. He is a player playing at a big club.

"We want to play in a certain way and the players I have brought in I want to see using the ball from the back and building it up in a certain way."

10/10 for blatancy, Gareth.

It seems Smalling's supposedly inferior footwork compared to the likes of John Stones conspired against him.

Nevertheless, the selection choice and reasoning caused quite the divide on Twitter with some backing Southgate and others question whether players like Gary Cahill are really that much better with the ball at their feet.

Check out the reaction:

At least Smalling knows exactly what he needs to work on before the next round of fixtures but doing so while competing against Eric Bailly and Jones won't be easy.

How far do you think England will get at the 2018 World Cup? Have your say in the comments section below.

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Topics:
Manchester United
Football
Ryan Giggs
Gareth Southgate
Chris Smalling

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