It’s the start of a new era for the England national team as Gareth Southgate names his squad for the first phase of their Euro 2026 qualifying campaign. The team will be keen to lick their wounds, and begin the next tournament cycle on a high after crashing out against France in the World Cup quarterfinals in Qatar this past December.
Gareth Southgate will look to the following players to give England fans a reassurance that his continued appointment is one that will be justified.
Ivan Toney is a notable addition to the squad after missing out in Qatar. The Brentford striker was on top form in the early part of the domestic season, and speculation about his exclusion would soon spread, especially once news of a betting investigation was released. Southgate explained that despite the investigation and it’s possible outcome, Toney being currently available for selection for his club means that he would also be in contention to play for England.
Raheem Sterling is one of the notable names that are missing from the list, a move to Stamford Bridge has so far failed to be one that has helped him progress. This exclusion may suggest that the England manager feels the same way, but Southgate explained in his press conference that it was a matter of fitness.
Ben White is another name that was included in Qatar but will be missing the upcoming qualifying games. The Arsenal defender left the camp during the World Cup and the reason has never been publicly acknowledged by the player or the FA. White has been a key part of the Gunners’ title charge and many will feel that he is deserving of a spot. Southgate stated that he felt that both White and Trent Alexander-Arnold were currently just behind the three right sided fullbacks that he had chosen.
England will travel to Naples to face-off against a team that will remind them of another painful tournament exit. Italy will be looking to start their Euro 2024 campaign in the same way they ended their Euro 2020 journey, but the Azzurri are in a transitional period themselves with their shocking failure to qualify for the World Cup, despite being the reigning European champions.
The Euro 2020 rematch takes place on Thursday 23rd March and England will follow this up by hosting Ukraine at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 26th March.