Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand Picks Holes in Gareth Southgate’s 28-man List, Drop Hints on World Cup Squad

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Rio Ferdinand had picked holes in Gareth Southgate’s 28-man list for the upcoming UEFA Nations League double-header against Italy and Germany. Gareth Southgate named his 28-man squad with some surprising additions and omissions.

Rio Ferdinand
Rio Ferdinand picks hole in Gareth Southgate’s 28-man Nations League squad

Reactions have continued to trail Gareth Southgate’s 28-man squad after the official squad list was revealed on Thursday. Notable names such as Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho of Manchester United have been left out of the squad.

Sancho’s absence from the list came as a surprise for many because he has recently picked form under new manager Erik Ten Hag. While Rashford is currently nursing an injury.

Before the injury, Rashford had scored three goals and delivered two assists for Manchester United this season. He has scored all his three goals against Premier League’s biggest teams – Liverpool and Arsenal. Two of Rashford goals came against Arsenal, ending Mikel Arteta’s unsullied five-match run.

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Although Rashford is nursing a minor injury he sustained in the match against Arsenal, some English pundits have contended that Southgate should not omit Rashford from his World Cup squad, as his 28-man list suggests.

Meanwhile, players that are not regular starters for their clubs have found their way into Gareth Southgate’s list prompting concerns by the coach’s critics. Manchester United duo, Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire have both been given a call-up despite struggling for a first-team place under Erik Ten Hag.

Another out-of-favour player that has made the list is Jack Grealish of Manchester City. After the arrival of Julian Alvarez and Erling Haaland, Grealish has struggled to break into Pep Guardiola’s starting IX. He has made only five appearances for the Citizens so far this season.

Rio Ferdinand
Rashford missing from Southgate’s Nations League Squad

Speaking on BT Sports, Rio Ferdinand expressed his surprise over Gareth Southgate’s list, citing some inconsistencies and lapses in the team selection.

“There’s a lot of defenders, Marc Guehi, the only real surprise in there is the amount of players who aren’t playing regular football for their clubs,” he said.

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Ferdinand particularly pointed at Jadon Sancho as an omission too glaring to be ignored. The former Manchester United defender said Sancho may think he had not done badly although he has not made the squad.

“I think Sancho will be looking, thinking he can’t do more in terms of what is expected of me- ‘I’m doing better than others in terms of numbers.’

However, Ferdinand saw some pros and cons of including established players under Southgate.

“You gain trust through performances, this England team has done things that our generation never came close to,” he conceded.

“I understand a couple of players coming in, but when you’ve got more than one, if I was a player I’d be concerned they wouldn’t hit the peaks you’re used to them hitting.”

Nevertheless, he still advised Southgate on his impending World Cup squad that players ‘get more minutes’ so that they ‘don’t come in rusty.’ Ferdinand warned that players with no regular playing time for their clubs should not be called to the squad with a focus on players like Maguire, Shaw, and Grealish.

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“I’m thinking I hope you get more minutes before the World Cup, I hope you don’t come in rusty,” he said.

After naming his 28-man squad, Gareth Southgate had addressed Marcus Rashford’s omission from the squad, saying the 24-year-old can still make his World Cup squad despite not making his UEFA Nations League squad.

England will play Italy on September 23, 2022, before trading tackles with Germany on September 26, 2022.

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