Sky Sport pundit Phil Thompson is surprised by Gareth Southgate’s decision to choose Danny Welbeck and Jack Livermore for the England’s upcoming international friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy. The pair have struggled to make any significant influence during the Premier League campaign with Livermore, in particular, having not featured in a victorious West Brom side since August.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Thompson said: “There’s a few surprises in there for me, none more so than Welbeck and Livermore.I think Danny can count himself very lucky to be in the squad as he hasn’t had enough game time and certainly hasn’t pulled up any trees up when he has had his chances, while the same can be said for Livermore.”
Meanwhile, the former Liverpool star highlighted that Gary Cahill would be extremely disappointed after he was omitted from the latest squad selection. The Chelsea skipper had been hugely influence during the previous set of friendlies against Germany and Brazil, but his reduced playing time in 2018 has seen him miss out on a Three Lions place ahead of a young Alfie Mawson, Thompson added: “Cahill will be extremely disappointed if he’s fit and not included. Alfie Mawson has been playing very well but doesn’t have that experience, so it will be very worrying for Cahill.”
While the absence of several senior players including Chris Smalling was fairly notable, Southgate opted to reward maiden call-ups to Burnley duo Nick Pope and James Tarkowski whilst Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere return to the setup after an absence of over 20 months. The Gunners midfielder was urged to prove his fitness whilst playing an extended run of league games, and the fourth-month period from the previous international break has witnessed him become a regular under manager Arsene Wenger. England take on the Netherlands a week on Saturday at the Amsterdam Arena before welcoming Italy at the Wembley four days later.