Evan Tony has been rewarded for his excellence Brentford From the first call-up to the England squad led by Gareth Southgate. The striker is the latest in a selection that also includes Eric Dier, who was selected for the first time since March 2021.
England will play in the Nations League against Italy in Milan on 23 September and Germany at Wembley three days later. They started their campaign poorly with two defeats and two draws but the competition for World Cup places adds an extra level of danger to the participants. In particular, the inclusion of Tony, whose five goals in the Premier League this season have included a hat-trick against Leeds This month, he’s changing the look of the fight to travel as Harry Kane’s replacement.
Tammy Abraham, who holds his place in the 28-man squad, was weak when he had the chance. In a home draw with Italy Three months ago while Dominic Calvert-Lewin was injured and Ole Watkins faded from the picture. That means Toni, who scored 12 goals in his first Premier League campaign last season, can lay a strong claim to Qatar 2022 if he impresses him in the next two weeks.
“We’ve been tracking him for a long time,” Southgate said of Tony. “I had a good chat with Thomas Frank about him last season. His form and qualities – not just in scoring but his technical ability, his ability to play and his aerial prowess – give us a different threat to some of the other players we could choose.”
Another striker, Marcus Rashford, had his hopes of a call-up ended with a muscle injury. He faces a race against time to reclaim a place in the affection of Southgate, who left him outside last season; Jadon Sancho is also absent from his Manchester United teammate, despite the improvement in form. Southgate was in deep pain to say Rashford had shown “encouraging signs” recently and offered hope of a comeback if the trend continued.
Dyer’s return follows a string of impressive performances for Tottenham under Antonio Conte. Southgate made it clear in May that the qualities of the central defender were already known and that he would like to explore younger alternatives. “He’s been playing really well for a while,” Southgate said.
“We think it’s a really close call between our central defender and he deserved to be named again in the group. We know what a good character he is. He fits the culture and has great international experience and leadership qualities.”
Fikayo Tomori and Mark Gui retain their seat on the team while Ben White is absent. Jordan Henderson’s hamstring injury is depriving the Liverpool player of a potential return to midfield. James Justin and Conor Gallagher, who have had mixed starts to the season, have been left out, but decent left-backs Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell are returning. Trent Alexander-Arnold, who was released early in the June matches after a long season with Liverpool, also made the cut.
Southgate admitted he was concerned that players such as Shaw, Chilwell, Harry Maguire and Calvin Phillips were lacking in competition with their clubs. “It’s not perfect,” he said. “But we feel that they were, and could be, important players for us. It’s not an ideal situation but there is still a lot of football to be played ahead of Qatar.”
Brigadier General Henderson, who won his only hat in November 2020, is the beneficiary of Jordan Pickford’s injury. Nottingham Forest goalkeeper, On loan from Manchester Unitedjoins Aaron Ramsdale and Nick Pope in the competition for the #1 shirt.