London (AFP) – Manchester United forwards Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho were left out Thursday of Gareth Southgate’s England squad for next month’s friendlies against Switzerland and Ivory Coast.
Southgate also omitted Manchester City defender Kyle Walker from his 25-man squad for the games at Wembley on March 26 and March 29.
Ben White is back in the squad following a fine run of form at Arsenal and Crystal Palace defender Marc Guehi received a first call-up.
Nick Pope returns in place of Sam Johnstone as one of three goalkeepers, while Declan Rice and James Ward-Prowse also earned recalls.
Injuries ruled out Ben Chilwell and Kalvin Phillips, with Luke Shaw not only the sole Manchester United player in the squad but also the only recognised left-back.
While Rashford has struggled at Old Trafford this season, Sancho has started to find the form that prompted United to spend £73 million ($95 million) on the forward last year.
Walker is another surprise omission, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Reece James the two right-backs included.
Emile Smith Rowe and Conor Gallagher retained their places having been called up due to injuries in the November international break.
Speaking about Sancho, Southgate said: “There are other attacking players in our squad who are ahead of him in our opinion. Jadon in the last few weeks, his performances have improved, but it is an area of the pitch where we have competition for places.
“With Marcus, he is in the same position as everyone else, whether they are in the squad or not they all have to play well in the next period. It is a difficult time for him, he is clearly not at his best.
“There is plenty of time, we know about Marcus, we know what he can bring to us.”
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