Absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
For once we aren’t fussed about an international break bringing the Premier League to a grinding halt.
Gareth Southgate has announced his England squad for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers and the future looks bright.
The standout name in the 23-man squad is Declan Rice, who, after switching allegiance from the Republic of Ireland to England, makes it into Southgate’s plans at the first time of asking.
The youngster’s inclusion comes a day after he was ironically named Republic of Ireland’s Young Player of the Year. Awkward.
Here’s the England squad in full:
Jordan Pickford keeps his place in the squad despite much speculation but it’s unknown whether he will remain as England’s No1.
The Everton stopper has had a season to forget and Tom Heaton’s performances for Burnley will give Southgate a real selection headache.
Jack Butland returns to the squad to help boost the goalkeeping options at Southgate’s disposal.
Michael Keane also makes a comeback along with Burnley centre-back James Tarkowski.
The notable omissions from the squad include Harry Winks and Jesse Lingard who both miss out through injury.
Crystal Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka was hotly tipped to earn his first senior cap but has failed to get a call-up on this occasion.
There’s no room either for Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse who has impressed in recent weeks.
Other outsiders who fell short include Conor Coady and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
The Three Lions will begin their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign against Czech Republic on Friday March 22 at Wembley.
Rice and co will then travel away to Montenegro on Monday March 25 for their second qualifier.
In Gareth, we trust.
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