Southgate explains Wilshere & Smalling absence

England head coach Gareth Southgate has insisted that Jack Wilshere is unlikely to get a reckoning in his squad unless he earns regular Premier League action with Arsenal. The 25-year-old has earned 13 minutes of top-flight football this term with manager Arsene Wenger preferring to utilise him in the League Cup and Europa League outings.

Wilshere has always been regarded as one of England’s finest midfielders, but his constant injury concerns have hampered his chances of earning a regular call-up. The playmaker last featured for the Three Lions during the European championships in France in 2016, and Southgate has now suggested that he will have to gain more game time to the Premier League to knock on the national team door.

“I don’t know how you get in the England squad without getting in the Arsenal team. There’s no question in our mind about Wilshere’s football ability, his football brain. We just need to see him playing regular league football before we think it’s right to put him back in. With his history of injuries, we want to make sure he’s robust enough before we bring him in. I had a conversation with Arsene about him on Saturday. We think his ability is of a top player but for him it’s just game time,” he is quoted as saying by ESPN.

Besides Wilshere, there was pleasant news for the some of England’s youth players with the likes of Tammy Abraham, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Joe Gomez earning their maiden call-ups to the senior squad. Chelsea striker Abraham has impressed in his loan spell at Swansea City, where he has netted four goals in all competitions.

Loftus-Cheek, a fellow graduate from Chelsea, has also impressed in his temporary stint with Crystal Palace, although an injury has restricted him to just six appearances. Liverpool’s Joe Gomez has also overcome a 15-month knee injury lay-off, and he appears to have regained the form, which made him an instant hit during his early days at Anfield.