Gareth Southgate wants more competition for England places
Last Updated: 28/09/17 11:18pm
England manager Gareth Southgate admits some players named in his latest squad can consider themselves slightly fortunate.
Southgate has named a 26-man squad for next week's World Cup qualifiers against Slovenia and Lithuania but has been deprived of several regulars due to injury.
Danny Rose, Adam Lallana, Danny Welbeck and Jamie Vardy are all unavailable and Southgate concedes he has not had to make many tough phone calls to players who have not been selected.
The England boss told the media on Thursday: "If you were to say 'am I entirely happy with the squad I've named?' then no, because we've got too many good players missing with injury.
"The consequence of that is you could well argue there are one or two in the squad who haven't necessarily warranted it on their performances.
"I want competition for places and this time maybe we've not be able to achieve that, because of the number of injuries.
"There's been a couple of easy decisions because I haven't had to make phone calls this week.
"They are always difficult but I'd rather be making them."
Southgate tactfully declined to name those he considered fortunate to be involved but made it clear some members of the squad are not performing as well for their clubs as he would like.
"The reality is, what I don't want is players to be comfortable," said Southgate.
"What's the level needed at a club to get in the squad and is everyone fulfilling that at the moment? Well, I'm not so sure they are.
"There's a good challenge for those who are in next week, because if they want to stay in, the level has to be good."
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