England squad: Jadon Sancho dropped for World Cup qualifiers; Jude Bellingham, Trent Alexander-Arnold return
Gareth Southgate has named his England squad for their final two World Cup qualifiers against Albania and San Marino. Four points will ensure England progress to the Qatar 2022 World Cup as group winners. The Three Lions host Albania on November 12 before travelling to San Marino on November 15
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Southgate has lamented how difficult it was to pick the squad.
He said: "It's always difficult because we've got so much competition for places and we had quite a few players missing last time, which means you bring others in, so you've got more decisions to make.
"Also some young players, who are playing well, haven't quite made the squad. So we've kept a reasonable amount of consistency really with the group that was with us in the summer that did so well.
"Kieran (Trippier) has always been a good performer for us and played a huge role in us reaching a World Cup semi-final in 2018 and a European Championship final this year. e is a player we have a lot of respect for and I'm sure he will be back with us in the future."
Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold and Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham return to the squad.
Marcus Rashford also returns to fold after recovering from injury, with James Ward-Prowse back in the squad after another bright start to the season with Southampton.
But there was no spot for Emile Smith-Rowe despite a string of excellent performances for Arsenal this season.
Arsenal's English midfielder Emile Smith Rowe celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Arsenal at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on October 30, 2021.
Image credit: Getty Images
And Southgate was quick to highlight how close they were to call-ups before falling just short.
"I think Emile (Smith-Rowe), Conor Gallagher are playing very well with their clubs but we've got depth and to put those in we've got to leave some of these on the sheet out.
"It's not a bad thing that we're starting to get a very strong under-21 team because you want that depth.
"The boys I've just mentioned are on a really good path, we like them, we get a good chance to see them with the under-21s as well as with their clubs but at the moment we think it's a little bit early for some of those guys to come in.
"We could put them in and they will be absolutely fine by the way but we think the players we've picked are just a little bit ahead at the moment."
England, who are three points clear in Group I, host Albania at Wembley on November 12 before heading to San Marino three days later.
FULL ENGLAND SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Sam Johnstone (West Brom), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Conor Coady (Wolves), Reece James (Chelsea), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kyle Walker (Manchester City)
Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds), Declan Rice (West Ham), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)
Forwards: Tammy Abraham (Roma), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)