England manager Gareth Southgate explained the reasoning behind his decision to omit Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford from his squad.
Southgate stressed the strength in depth in the forward areas coupled by the inclusion of players in better form has seen the Manchester United duo miss out on the squad to face Switzerland and the Ivory Coast next month.
When asked why Sancho was left out, he replied: “Because our feelings are that the other attacking players in the squad are slightly ahead of him at the moment.
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“You can see the names there, with Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling, Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith-Rowe and the seasons they’ve had, along with Jack Grealish.
“Jadon's performances have improved a lot in the last few weeks with Manchester United, but it's an area of the field where we've got really big competition for places.
“At the moment, we've got those guys slightly ahead of him.”
Meanwhile, the Three Lions boss is hopeful that Rashford will rediscover his best form and says the door is open for him force his way back into contention after a disappointing season with the Red Devils.
Rashford was filmed getting involved in a verbal exchange with Manchester United fans after the club was eliminated from the Champions League at the hands of Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.
“He's in the same position as everybody else. Whether they're in the squad or not, they've all got to play well over the next period towards the end of this season, and in particular, the beginning of next season," he added.
“It's a difficult time for him; he's clearly not at his best, but there's plenty of time. We know a lot about Marcus anyway, what he can bring to us and hopefully he can rediscover his best form.”
Manchester City’s Kyle Walker, Tottenham’s Eric Dier and AC Milan’s Fikayo Tomori were among the other notable omissions from Southgate’s squad. There was also a first call-up to the senior squad for Crystal Palace defender Marc Guehi.
England face Switzerland at Wembley on March 26 ahead of a friendly with the Ivory Coast three days later.
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