Southgate bashed for ignoring ‘unbelievable’ star for pair who’ve ‘absolutely not’ deserved place

Ciaran McCarthy
Gareth Southgate before England's friendly against Scotland.
Gareth Southgate doesn't understand the boos aimed at Jordan Henderson.

Darren Bent has bashed England manager Gareth Southgate for leaving James Ward-Prowse out of his latest squad for two players who are “absolutely not” deserving of their places.

It’s not uncommon for pundits to question Southgate’s selections in his squads. Former Three Lions man Rio Ferdinand did so in September, when for the last international break, the manager left out Raheem Sterling and Ward-Prowse.

Ferdinand said he “would retire” if he was in their shoes and had been left out while the likes of Kalvin Phillips and Harry Maguire made the squad despite not playing for their clubs, as it’s a “disrespectful” call from the manager.

Southgate has a history of picking players who have served him well at international level, such as the latter pair, despite being out of favour at club level.

Bent feels that he’s done so again in his latest squad, and it’s once again to the detriment of Ward-Prowse.

“Ward-Prowse – what is going on? Ward-Prowse has been unbelievable this season. His delivery into the box, his quality, his work rate. I get it, I know Kalvin Phillips has never let Gareth down and all that,” Bent said on talkSPORT.

“But you cannot tell me, if you go through the squad and I’m going to put my boy Jordan Henderson into this equation, Jordan, Kalvin Phillips, you could even say Conor Gallagher but I can understand why he’s in there.

“But you can’t tell me any of the other two have played better than Ward-Prowse, absolutely not.”

Indeed, Ward-Prowse has scored twice and assisted six times in all competitions this season, and is thriving after moving from Southampton to West Ham.

Henderson has provided four assists for Al-Ettifaq in eight Saudi Pro League games this season in fairness, but the level  is considerably lower than the Premier League.

Meanwhile, Phillips has played three Premier League games all season, and is consistently being linked with a move away from the Etihad, as it looks as if he’s not going to cut it for Manchester City.

While it must be said that both men do tend to perform in an England shirt, it feels harsh to not include Ward-Prowse amid his top run of form.

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