England national team: Evan Toni is late “Boulter”, Harry Maguire is lucky to stay in place

Brentford striker Evan Toni has scored five goals and assisted two goals in seven games this season

Gareth Southgate’s final England squad before he names the players who will travel to the World Cup is a mixture of brand loyalty and a chance for Brentford’s Evan Toni to become a late ‘stunner’ for Qatar.

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire, in particular, will be grateful for Southgate’s faith after being sidelined at Old Trafford under new coach Erik ten Hag, while Toni’s five goals and stellar performance earned him a well-deserved recall as the only unselected player in England. A squad of 28 players.

These are two important Nations League matches, against Italy at San Siro in Milan and Germany at Wembley, not only to avoid embarrassing relegation from their group but to crystallize Southgate’s final World Cup ideas.

Southgate will want to end England’s four-game streak without a win, including home and away defeats against Hungary, the latter of which is humiliating. 4-0 smash Molyneux.

England’s bottom card keepers can claim a contribution

That claim may only be substituted for Jordan Pickford, as the Everton keeper has been in excellent shape. He is Southgate’s undisputed first choice after keeping 20 clean sheets in 45 games and no fouls leading to a goal, according to Opta stats.

That’s still a vital role, however, so Arsenal-chosen trio Aaron Ramsdale, and summer signings for Newcastle United Nick Pope and Dean Henderson, on loan to Nottingham Forest from Manchester United, will be desperate to put themselves in the frame just behind Pickford.

They will know that a good performance can push them higher in the Qatar selection rankings.

Maguire is lucky to have maintained England’s standing

Harry Maguire
Maguire was part of the Manchester United defense that was crushed 4-0 by Tony Brentford last month

Maguire is now living on his past performances in England and his reputation, because nothing this season suggests he deserves a place in this team. He can count himself very lucky.

What he does have is credit in the bank with Southgate and crucial major championship experience, but there should be a huge risk in picking someone who was dropped after a horrific start to the season at club level and doesn’t seem to have a moment. A chance to regain his place at Manchester United except for injury.

The same goes for Luke Shaw who, like Maguire, was outstanding at Euro 2020, but was out at Old Trafford after struggling for his usual match time due to injury.

Tottenham’s Eric Dier has received a call-up that he may have thought he overdid when he returned to the England squad for the first time since March 2021, and after not playing at international level since the Nations League victory over Iceland in November 2020.

Dier is rewarded for good under Antonio Conte, while Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold retains his place despite poor club performances and fierce competition from Reese James, Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier.

Arsenal defender Ben White may have fancied his chances of being called up after his good start to the season, but he was not included.

Is it Bellingham time?

Jude Bellingham
Jude Bellingham scored a goal against Manchester City in the Champions League on Wednesday

How long can Gareth Southgate wait before Borussia Dortmund’s Judd Bellingham becomes a robotic England player? The answer should be: no longer.

Bellingham, just 19-years-old, was fantastic in Dortmund’s 2-1 Champions League loss to Manchester City – and his superiority was underlined by the fact that one of those threatening his place, Calvin Phillips, played just 13 minutes this season before his coming. Alternate overtime.

Southgate preferred a more conservative midfield partnership between Phillips and West Ham United’s Declan Rice when the opportunity arose, but Bellingham now appears to be the complete player who can strengthen all aspects of the England squad.

Choosing Bellingham from the start may represent something of a shift in strategy from Southgate, but the quality of the former youngster at Birmingham City demands it.

Tony gets his chance

The real choice in England’s squad to face Italy and Germany is Brentford striker Toni, but his inclusion is fully worthy based on performance and who is currently available.

The 26-year-old’s career has been slow after he made no impact at Newcastle United following his move from Northampton Town. This was followed by loan spells to Barnsley, Shrewsbury Town, Scunthorpe United and Wigan Athletic, before already making his mark at Peterborough United, then establishing his Premier League pedigree at Brentford.

Toni has scored five goals this season, making Manchester United’s defense a wreck when they lost 4-0 to Brentford, before scoring an impressive and varied hat-trick in the 5-2 win over Leeds United.

He scored a penalty – Brentford boss Thomas Frank believes he is the best penalty taker of the match and that will be noted ahead of the World Cup – as well as a superb free kick and an accurate shot for his third with Leeds United goalkeeper Ilan Meslier outside the centre. his land.

Eyebrows were raised by a few after being promoted to the England conversation, but Tony isn’t simply a strong player, he’s also touched and summoned not only as a reward for perseverance and moving through the local football pyramid, but honestly. It deserves the tokens this season.

Now, with other contenders including Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Newcastle United’s Callum Wilson and Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, and Aston Villa’s Watkins injured, Tony himself will face Roma’s Tammy Abraham in a match to become England’s captain. Deputy Harry Kane.

There was disappointment for Rashford’s Manchester United teammate, 22-year-old Jadon Sancho, who failed to win a call-up despite signs in recent weeks that he is finally adjusting to life at Old Trafford following his £73m move from Borussia Dortmund. In July 2021, with goals in the victory over Liverpool and the decisive victory in Leicester City.

Many World Cup teams have had a so-called “Boulter” – the player who raises the number of players late to select from outside the group.

Could Tony be that player? What a chance for him.