Roy Hodgson has revealed his “eyebrows weren’t raised” at Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s omission from the latest England squad.
The Crystal Palace right-back’s fine form had taken him into contention for selection for the coming fixtures with the Czech Republic and Montenegro, but for a position in which England have numerous options he was overlooked in favour of Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
At his squad unveiling Gareth Southgate said Wan-Bissaka is “playing very well, and really pushing to be in”, but while an international future with the Democratic Republic of Congo remains a possibility Hodgson, the England manager from 2012 to 2016, has reminded him time is on his side.
“My eyebrows weren’t raised – I don’t see why they should be,” said the Palace manager, 71. “He is picked for the England Under-21s which in itself is a very, very big honour.
“It is good to know that, reading Gareth’s comments, he is obviously aware of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and what he can do.
“I don’t think Aaron, myself or anyone at the club should start jumping onto media speculation regarding the player. It is up to him to keep playing well.
“We believe in him. We believe he has a very, very good future at the age of 21. At that age, you have got an awful lot of football and an awful lot of time to play for England in the future. It has no effect on us whatsoever.”
Hodgson, whose team on Saturday visit Watford in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, also explained that Mamadou Sakho could struggle to play again this season.
The defender, 29, underwent surgery after suffering a knee injury in last month’s 4-1 victory at Leicester, and Hodgson said: “He is recovering from the operation. It is a weekly thing. We hope he will recover.
“He is working very hard to recover but he only had the operation just over a week ago. It is a while before we see him back even in rehabilitation and then we will see how many weeks we have left in the season.
“He is adamant he doesn’t want to write off the season. He will do his level best to get back but whether the injury will prevent that, we will have to wait and see.”