Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has provided his thoughts on which Manchester United players should be boarding the Three Lions’ plane to Qatar for the upcoming World Cup.
Eriksson feels lack of game time at club level could lead to the defensive duo being axed from Southgate’s final, 26-man squad.
“I think it’s difficult for Southgate to pick Maguire and Shaw because if they don’t play regularly, it’s very difficult to let them play in the national team because it’s one thing to train, but it’s another to have a regular routine of games. So that’s a difficult one.”
Despite these concerns it would be a major shock if Maguire and Shaw were to be left out. Southgate has been vocal in his support of Maguire, in spite of his alarming form over the last 18 months. Luke Shaw has also performed well in an England shirt during Southgate’s tenure and scored the opener in the Euro final last summer.
There is more positive news for Marcus Rashford, whom Eriksson believes can force his way onto the plane, given his recent resurgence under Erik Ten Hag.
“I think Rashford should be in the squad.” Eriksson says.
Rashford has been forced to miss the upcoming Nations League games due to injury, which are the last before the World Cup opener in November. This leaves us no clearer in knowing Southgate’s plans for the in-form forward.
Eriksson also gave hope to Jadon Sancho, whose chances of selection were dealt a major blow having been left out of the latest squad, despite starting the season well for United.
“I think some of the players who are not picked still have a chance to be picked when he chooses the World Cup squad.” Eriksson added.
On a personal note, all players will be desperate to be on the plane but a month’s break for the absentees will be music to the ears of club managers, including Ten Hag.
The United boss will be hoping for a clean bill of health as the players filter back from Qatar, given the packed, post-tournament schedule that lies in wait.