Gareth Southgate reveals glimmer of hope for Leeds United's Patrick Bamford, mentions Luke Ayling and praises Kalvin Phillips' form
Gareth Southgate admits Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford is 'very unfortunate' to have missed out on an England call up for this month's World Cup qualifiers.
The Three Lions boss has instead added uncapped Aston Villa front man Ollie Watkins to his squad for the trio of fixtures against San Marino, Albania and Poland.
But there's still a glimmer of hope for Bamford, who has fired in 13 top flight goals in Leeds' return to the Premier League this season.
"Both Ollie and Patrick's goals records have been good," he said.
"We like the personalities of both. We like Ollie’s pressing, speed and runs in behind. For his first season in the Premier League at a big club, he’s done exceptionally well.
"Patrick is very unfortunate and who knows we could be sitting here in a few days time and we have a problem. Patrick is a player that we're very much looking at as well."
Southgate has called up Bamford's Elland Road team-mate Kalvin Phillips, who will hope to add to his four caps. There was no place for Luke Ayling in the squad, despite speculation that the right-back was being considered by Southgate.
Ayling has evidently been in Southgate's thoughts, however. Speaking about his squad today the England manager noted both Ayling and Villa defender Matty Cash among a group of in-form English players in that position.
"There's some areas of the pitch where we've got some incredible competition for places," he said when asked about the absence of Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold.
"Trent is very unfortunate. I don't think he's played at the level he found in the last couple of years. But I think he's getting very close to that now, the last few weeks he's definitely taken steps in the right direction. It's simply that we think Reece James, Kieran Trippier have had exceptional seasons really with their clubs. Kyle Walker is in great form with Manchester City. We've got other players in the league also playing well in that position, Cash at Aston Villa, Ayling at Leeds. We've got two very good right-backs in the Under 21s, it's a remarkable position of strength."
As for Phillips, Southgate says his form and that of Southampton's James Ward-Prowse were a factor in the omission of Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks.
"Unfortunately for Harry he's not really been in Tottenham's team for their league matches," said Southgate.
"He's had football with the Europa League but we feel that Kalvin Phillips and James Ward-Prowse have played particularly well. We think that Mason Mount can play in that deeper role as well and of course we've got Jude who's had a super first season.
"In every area of the pitch we've got difficult decisions, good players. We can't pick them all, we can't bring too big a squad."