Southgate faces tough choices as Rashford, Henderson left out of England squad

In a surprising and difficult decision, England manager Gareth Southgate has opted to leave Marcus Rashford and Jordan Henderson out of the national squad for the upcoming fixtures.

Southgate’s decision comes after evaluating the recent form and fitness levels of both players, despite their significant contributions to the team in the past.

Rashford, 26, who scored an impressive 30 goals for Manchester United in the 2022-23 season, has seen a dip in form with only eight goals in the 2023-24 campaign. His limited impact during the last international break, where he played just 16 minutes in a 1-0 loss against Brazil and was an unused substitute against Belgium, has raised questions about his current standing in the squad.

“You have to make difficult decisions and you have to keep evolving the squad,” Southgate told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“Your heart, of course, wants you to take all of those players that have been with you for so long.”

Addressing Rashford’s omission specifically, Southgate explained, “With Marcus, I feel players in the same area of the pitch have had better seasons, it’s as simple as that.”

Henderson, 33, also finds himself out of the squad following a turbulent season. After leaving Liverpool for Al-Ettifaq in Saudi Arabia last summer, he moved to Ajax in January, a club currently struggling in their domestic league.

Henderson, who has earned 81 caps since his England debut in 2010, has been a staple in the midfield but has been hampered by injuries recently.

“He is a fantastic professional and it was a difficult call to make,” Southgate said.

“He’ll be a miss. He’s an exceptional individual and fantastic human being.”

Southgate revealed that Henderson’s exclusion was largely due to his recent injury issues.

“The determining factor is the injury he picked up in the last camp. He missed five weeks and he just hasn’t been able to get to the intensity [we need] in the games since then.”

As England prepares for their next set of matches, Southgate’s decisions underscore the challenges of maintaining a competitive squad while acknowledging the contributions of seasoned veterans.

The evolving dynamics and performance-based selections highlight the relentless pursuit of excellence at the highest level of international football.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.