Why Conor Gallagher’s World Cup selection happen – Gareth Southgate

  • England boss Gareth Southgate explains Conor Gallagher’s World Cup selection and mentions unlucky Arsenal absentee.

Why Conor Gallagher's World Cup selection happen - Gareth Southgate
Why Conor Gallagher’s World Cup selection happen – Gareth Southgate

Conor Gallagher’s inclusion in England’s World Cup squad was somewhat unexpected, but Gareth Southgate has provided an explanation, claiming the Arsenal would have been selected if it weren’t for an injury.

On Thursday, the England coach revealed his 26-man squad for the next competition in Qatar, and Gallagher was one of many unexpected choices.

The 22-year-old made his England debut in November of last year after a successful loan stint at Crystal Palace, and he also played in the summer. However, this season, due to less playing time at Chelsea, his parent club, he lost his spot for the international matches in September.

However, Southgate was pleased with how he responded while playing for the Under-21 team and believes that his all-action, the high-energy approach is radically different from that of the other midfielders for England.

Asked why he picked Gallagher, Southgate explained: ‘He’s fantastic at pressing the ball and I think there are going to be moments in these games where we need certain attributes and there are any number of players in this squad with different attributes to be able to utilise at those moments.

‘And we feel he could be that sort of a player. So he’s not as experienced with us as some of the others, but he has an impact in games, he’s got a goal threat.


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When you talk about midfield players you look at: do they stop goals? Do they create goals? Do they score goals? He does a little bit of all of that, actually.

‘We were really pleased with the way he responded to being left out of our squad [in September], he went with the Under-21s, performed really well, his mentality was excellent.And it’s a great example that if you approach it in that way, there’s always a route back with us and he’s managed to achieve that straight away.’

There were a number of high-profile players who missed out on a place in the squad, including Tammy Abraham, Ivan Toney, James Ward-Prowse and injured Chelsea duo Reece James and Ben Chilwell.

But one player who has not been mentioned much is Arsenal winger Emile Smith Rowe, who underwent groin surgery at the end of September and will not return to training with the Gunners until December.

Smith Rowe’s absence has gone mostly unnoticed, but Southgate was eager to point out that the 22-year-old has impressed and would have been a contender if healthy.

Referencing players who were unlucky to miss out, the England boss said: ‘We’ve looked at one or two others. There was a period where Emile Smith Rowe had a and was playing really well, we’ve sadly lost him.’

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