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England squad: Jarrad Branthwaite and Anthony Gordon handed first call-ups as Ivan Toney recalled for March friendlies

Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite and Newcastle forward Anthony Gordon receive first England senior call-ups; Brentford striker Ivan Toney recalled; West Ham midfielder Kalvin Phillips misses out; England face Brazil and Belgium in friendlies at Wembley this month ahead of Euro 2024

Jarrad Branthwaite, Anthony Gordon and Ivan Toney
Image: Jarrad Branthwaite (left), Anthony Gordon (centre) and Ivan Toney have been included in the England squad for the upcoming friendlies against Brazil and Belgium

Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite and Newcastle forward Anthony Gordon have received their first England senior call-ups for this month's friendlies against Brazil and Belgium, while Brentford striker Ivan Toney has been recalled.

Toney's recall comes after returning to action in January following the completion of his eight-month Football Association ban for breaching betting rules. The 27-year-old has scored four goals in nine appearances for Brentford since his comeback.

But West Ham midfielder Kalvin Phillips has been left out of the 25-man squad by England boss Gareth Southgate after a torrid run of form since joining the Hammers on loan in January.

England's March squad

Goalkeepers: Sam Johnstone (Crystal Palace), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal).

Defenders: Jarrad Branthwaite (Everton), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Lewis Dunk (Brighton), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Ezri Konsa (Aston Villa), Harry Maguire (Man Utd), John Stones (Man City), Kyle Walker (Man City).

Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Ajax), James Maddison (Tottenham), Declan Rice (Arsenal), Kobbie Mainoo (Man Utd)

Forwards: Jarrod Bowen (West Ham), Phil Foden (Man City), Anthony Gordon (Newcastle), Harry Kane (Bayern Munich), Cole Palmer (Chelsea), Marcus Rashford (Man United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Ivan Toney (Brentford), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa).

The Manchester City loanee was at fault for a goal on his debut against Bournemouth before he was sent off at Nottingham Forest last month and hooked at half-time of Sunday's 2-2 draw at home to Burnley.

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England manager Gareth Southgate explains why he has left Kalvin Phillips out of his latest squad citing a lack of form as the reason.

Southgate said: "I think he knows exactly what we think of him. A good version of him is an important player for us and that's why we've supported him as we have.

"Unfortunately his form hasn't been good enough and I've spoken to him about that. He understands.

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Thomas Frank was delighted with the news that Ivan Toney has been called-up to the England squad and says it was fully deserved. Frank spoke of Toney’s qualities and said he is a man for the big occasion.

"He has all the attributes to force his way back in. He just needs to find that rhythm and confidence because there is an outstanding player in there."

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Phillips' West Ham team-mate Jarrod Bowen has been recalled following his recent fine form, while Liverpool defender Joe Gomez is named in an England squad for the first time in four years.

Manchester United teenage midfielder Kobbie Mainoo was then added to the senior squad.

White snubs call-up as Sterling misses out again

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Sky Sports News senior reporter Rob Dorsett takes a closer a closer at Ben White's request to be left out of the latest England squad and what that may mean for his international future.

But Southgate revealed Arsenal defender Ben White, who signed a new four-year contract with the Premier League leaders on Thursday, did not want to be considered for England squads "at the moment".

White left England's 2022 World Cup squad mid-tournament to return home for personal reasons and reports later emerged of an alleged bust-up with England assistant Steve Holland.

Southgate said: "He [White] is not available to us and there is no issue between us at all and I also should say there is never any issue with (coach) Steve Holland because that has been mentioned in articles and I don't like that.

"I want that door wide open. He would be in this squad but he's not available to us and I have to focus on who can help us."

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Football writers Sam Blitz and Pete Smith take a closer look at the form of Ben White and why he has earned himself a new contract at Arsenal.

Chelsea left-back Ben Chilwell has been called up despite a knee issue, but Blues team-mate Raheem Sterling was once again absent from the squad.

Manchester United defender Harry Maguire has been included despite his muscle problem, but Manchester City's Jack Grealish misses out due to a groin injury.

Meanwhile, Chelsea forward Cole Palmer and Aston Villa duo Ollie Watkins and Ezri Konsa retain their places in the squad.

Southgate explains Branthwaite and Gordon selections

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England manager Gareth Southgate hails the recent form of Jarrad Branthwaite and Anthony Gordon as reasons ton why he has included them in his latest squad.

Branthwaite's maiden England call-up comes after a fine breakthrough season with Everton.

Southgate said: "He's good with the ball, shows good composure, good mentality. He's a left-footer and we don't have many left-footed defenders.

"He's in on merit and we're keen to find out more about him."

Gordon was another to earn a first call-up to Southgate's squad after scoring 10 times for Newcastle this season in all competitions.

"Consistently good performances. He was very close in November and he's continued his form," Southgate explained.

"He is scoring, his work for the team is excellent and he competes, so I really like his attitude."

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Sky Sports' James Savundra, Peter Smith, and Nick Wright pick their England XIs for the opening game against Serbia at Euro 2024

With just three months to go until their Euro 2024 tournament opener against Serbia in Gelsenkirchen, England face a pair of high-profile warm-up friendlies at Wembley against Brazil on March 23 and Belgium on March 26.

This is the last camp before Southgate names his provisional Euros squad just after the Premier League season concludes, with the final selection to be submitted to UEFA on June 8.

Phillips needs extraordinary turnaround in form as strikers vie for Euro spots

Sky Sports News senior reporter Rob Dorsett:

Until this England squad, Gareth Southgate had protected Kalvin Phillips.

He continued to pick him through his leanest of spells and played him for England when he could not get in the Manchester City team.

But now, Southgate made it clear that Phillips' form is simply too poor for him to justify his inclusion in an England squad.

Kalvin Phillips shows his frustration during West Ham's Premier League clash with Bournemouth
Image: Kalvin Phillips has endured a tough loan spell at West Ham so far

Southgate says Phillips is still in his thoughts for the Euros: he is a rare talent, his "profile" (as a diligent holding midfielder) is equally rare, and there is still time for him to force his way back into the England fold before the Euros squad is finalised in three months' time.

But it is clear that it will need an extraordinary turnaround in form from Phillips for that to happen - particularly when Southgate can only name 23 players for Germany, compared with the 26 he was allowed in the Covid-affected tournament three years ago.

With that in mind, Southgate admitted it might be difficult for him to fit three out-and-out strikers in his Euros squad.

Ivan Toney is back in this squad at the first time of asking, since his eight-month suspension for breaching the FA's betting rules that cost him the possibility of eight England caps.

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Brentford forward Ivan Toney says he wants to be playing on the international stage

But will Toney keep his place alongside Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins for the tournament? "Maybe, maybe not," admitted Southgate.

One of the big pluses for the England boss is Marcus Rashford, who can play as a number nine as well as a winger.

Harry Kane, inevitably, will be first-choice striker, but Southgate may not have the luxury or the space to include two other strikers, when it's decision time in June.

That is why this international break - with friendlies against the two sides ranked fourth and fifth in the world by FIFA - are so key for both Watkins and Toney to try to prove themselves.

Euro 2024 key dates

UEFA European Championship Men's Draw

Remaining qualifying dates
March 21, 2024: play-off semi-finals
March 26, 2024: play-off finals

Final tournament
June 14, 2024: Euro 2024 opening game, Allianz Arena (Munich)
June 30 - July 2: Round of 16
July 5-6: Quarter-finals
July 9-10, 2024: Semi-finals
July 14, 2024: Euro 2024 final, Olympiastadion (Berlin)

England's Euro 2024 fixtures

Sunday June 16 - Group C: Serbia vs England (Arena AufSchalke, Gelsenkirchen - kick-off 8pm UK time)

Thursday June 20 - Group C: Denmark vs England (Waldstadion, Frankfurt - kick-off 5pm UK time)

Tuesday June 25 - Group C: England vs Slovenia (RheinEnergieStadion, Cologne - kick-off 8pm UK time)

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