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Published 26 August 2021 4 min read
England Men's Senior Team

Southgate on Bamford, Greenwood and qualifiers

Written by:

Frank Smith

Gareth Southgate explains Patrick Bamford's selection and why Mason Greenwood was left out of the England squad to face Hungary, Andorra and Poland

With such a talented pool of players to chose from, there is always intrigue when it comes to an England squad announcement. And much of the discussion this afternoon, when Gareth Southgate named his squad for the September fixtures, surrounded the forwards.

For Patrick Bamford, today marks his first England senior call-up, one which comes after a superb 2020/21 season when he scored 17 goals in 38 games as Leeds United returned to the Premier League.

The 27-year-old is someone Gareth Southgate knows well, having given the forward his England Under-21 debut back in 2013, and the Three Lions manager acknowledged Bamford was close to receiving a maiden senior call-up before UEFA Euro 2020. 

When asked why Bamford had received his call-up now, Southgate replied: “Well it is a fresh cycle. We were always going to pick the bulk of the squad from the summer. We are only two games into a new season so we were never looking to make a lot of changes. 

Ben White has a situation with Covid, Ben Chilwell hasn’t played a game since the Champions League final – through no fault of his own – so there are other players that haven’t had as much football in the squad but those two in particular are kind of ruled out. 

Phil Foden and Marcus Rashford are injured so there was an opportunity for us in the forward areas. We were very pleased with what Ollie Watkins did at the end of the season and now there is an opportunity for Patrick as a number nine as well.

“I think his progress with Leeds has been excellent and he was very close at the end of last season to being with us and this is a good chance for him to come back in – we worked with him at Under-21 level so we know him any way – and it is a fabulous moment for him and his family.”

Jesse Lingard is back in the Three Lions squad for September, having missed out on a EURO 2020 spot in the summer
Jesse Lingard is back in the Three Lions squad for September, having missed out on a EURO 2020 spot in the summer

The addition of Bamford sees a number of other talented forwards miss out on the England squad for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers with Hungary, Andorra and Poland.

One of those was Mason Greenwood, the 19-year-old Manchester United forward who has started the season with two goals in as many games.

Greenwood already has an England cap to his name, having made his debut in September 2020, and Southgate revealed the forward’s omission was not due to a lack of form or appreciation from the Three Lions boss. Instead, it was because all parties felt it was the ‘best thing’ for the player.

Southgate explained: “He is in our thoughts, very much so. I have spoken with him and his club. He is a player we really like and we think he has every possibility to be a top England player. 

“We are all very conscious that we make that progression at the right time. He is just breaking into the team at Manchester United, with a lot of responsibility, and that is a big thing for a young player to deal with and we want to get that progression with our seniors as well as we possibly can so we get the best possible player at the end.

“We are all aligned on that - Mason, the club, his family, us – and we feel at the moment the best thing for him after these first few games is that he stays with his club. But he is very much a player we like. It is clear on his performances at the moment that he would warrant a place in this squad, absolutely.”

Southgate named a 25-man squad for September’s internationals, as Nick PopeTrent Alexander-Arnold and Jesse Lingard were also recalled.

First up is a trip to Hungary on Thursday 2 September, before England fans will be back inside Wembley Stadium connected by EE for the first time since the UEFA EURO 2020 Final three days later when the Three Lions take on Andorra.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying triple header will then be concluded with another tough trip away to Warsaw to face Poland on Wednesday 8 September.