Gareth Southgate has announced his squad for England’s triplet of fixtures during October’s international break and while the Three Lions gaffer has sought to accommodate as many as possible by drawing together a 30-man camp - including debut callups for Bukayo Saka, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Harvey Barnes - there are no doubt a handful of players who will feel wronged by being left behind.
Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden are the biggest casualties after breaching COVID rules during the last England get-together and rightly so, but who should feel aggrieved that Southgate has overlooked them for coming encounters with Wales, Belgium and Denmark?
Here’s four players who should be fuming that they’ve been left out of the latest England squad…
What does this guy need to do to earn his first England cap? The West Ham talisman can play in a multitude of positions - even lining up as a full-back during his spell in the London Stadium - and has been nothing short of sensational since returning from injury in February, with 10 goals and two assists in his last 14 Premier League outings.
Yes, Antonio may be incredibly unconventional in style and yes, Southgate does have an impressive array of attackers at his disposal already. But it’s the 30-year-old’s sheer desire to impact games that makes him such an effective player and maybe that attitude can be infectious in a camp of largely young England talents, even if he’s only featuring from the bench.
Amid an era in which England bizarrely seem to boast the greatest cohort of right-backs in world football, Aaron Wan-Bissaka finds himself the man continually left behind. If there’s one noticeable difference between the Manchester United star and Southgate’s other options, it’s his limited impact going forward with just 0.7 key passes per game in the Premier League last season.
But there are two sides of every coin and Wan-Bissaka is without doubt a phenomenal one-on-one defender - perhaps the best in the Premier League. His combination of speed and reading of the game makes him an ideal fit for the outer roles in the three-man defence Southgate fielded against Denmark last time out too.
Maybe Southgate elected to leave out the 22-year-old because he’s only recently returned from injury, but omissions are becoming a recurring theme for Wan-Bissaka.
Another defender who never seems to get a look-in. But more insultingly for Rob Holding, none of England’s centre-back options outside of Harry Maguire and Joe Gomez are hugely inspiring - and even those two aren’t everybody’s cup of tea.
Holding’s enjoyed a solid start to the new campaign with clean sheets against Fulham and Leicester followed by a return of four tackles in a defeat to Liverpool, and while he doesn’t always catch the eye, he usually does the simple things pretty well.
Injuries have been a repetitive stumbling block for the former Bolton man, but now aged 25, Holding will be frustrated that a positive start to this season hasn’t earned him a chance to impress over the likes of Michael Keane, Conor Coady and Eric Dier.
How many 20-year-olds can boast over 60 Premier League appearances and a guaranteed starting spot for a side that finished a sturdy tenth in the top flight last season? Dwight McNeil is a fantastic young talent but he never seems to enter Southgate’s thinking, despite playing a hand in eight Premier League goals for each of the last two seasons.
McNeil boasts fantastic set piece delivery and lethal crossing from wide areas, which is exactly what the Three Lions failed to produce in their scoreless draw with Denmark, when they had plenty of space on the flanks but failed to make the most of it.
Maybe McNeil isn’t ready just yet - England have a knack of rushing through young footballers and consequentially shortening their careers - but this omission reeks of big-club bias. If McNeil were plying his trade with a big six team, which in turn would likely result in even more goal involvements, he’d surely have a place in the squad.
- Major Man United development in Jadon Sancho chase
- Barkley to Villa: This summer's most valuable loan deals
- Spurs make offer for Germany international