In the March 2024 international window, England called up a squad of 21 players hailing from the Premier League. The only two exceptions were Jude Bellingham of Real Madrid and Jordan Henderson, who recently returned to Europe with Ajax. In other words, the England squad for the Euros this summer will feature almost entirely from the Premier League, with two or three exceptions from other major leagues in Europe.

That has long been a criticism of England head coach Gareth Southgate. He puts an overemphasis on the Premier League and the players that play, perhaps not even well or regularly, in the English top flight. Consequently, he turns a blind eye to those from across Europe who are just as deserving of a spot in the England squad.

Most recently, that boiled down to Eric Dier. The center-back joined Bayern Munich in January on loan from Tottenham Hotspur. Dier has not played for England since the 2022 World Cup, and the last time he was in the England squad was the March 2023 international break. He did not play in either of England’s Euro 2024 qualifying games.

“Since the World Cup, I wouldn’t say that I’ve had any dip in form,” Dier said on The Overlap podcast. “I’m playing the best football of my career since Conte came and I’ve carried it on since. People think that I’m 37 or something, but I’m 30 years old and am nowhere near the end of my prime, and imagine that this will be my prime.”

England leaves out capable players with Premier League priority

The Premier League is the best league on average in Europe, and there are ample reasons to pick from that pool of players. Additionally, most English players still play in the English top flight, it is simply a matter of that is where they came up through the ranks. Moreover, with Eric Dier, even if he thinks his form is strong at Bayern, he has not proven himself with either Tottenham or England when the opportunity has been given.

Yet, his comments ring true for other players. Several England talents have been performing well at top clubs throughout Europe, but Southgate continues to opt for those in the Premier League. Some of the names that stand out are Fikayo Tomori and Ruben Loftus-Cheek at AC Milan or Roma’s Tammy Abraham.

Loftus-Cheek is a name that is deserving of recognition, particularly for his play this season with the Rossoneri. Having moved on from Chelsea after failing to break through, Loftus-Cheek has been dominant with the Italian club. The midfielder has been a commanding force in the center of the park, anchoring Milan to second in Serie A. Likewise, Fikayo Tomori has been a great defender for several years at Milan. He featured on the 2021/22 Serie A team of the season. In that year, he was a major reason for Milan’s Scudetto win. Milan’s form dipped when Tomori missed two months with a hamstring injury, which demonstrates his importance to the squad.

A fair chance for international players

Southgate and avid Premier League fans will argue that those England positions have players who can do better. For Loftus-Cheek, that is Jude Bellingham or Declan Rice. Those are two of the world’s best midfielders, and one of them happens to play in the Premier League. Yet, giving a squad position to Conor Gallagher or long-time Premier League player Jordan Henderson shows the biases.

At the same time, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori or even Eric Dier at least deserve a look. In defense, Southgate called up Brighton’s Lewis Dunk and Liverpool’s Joe Gomez over these two center-backs. Tomori is the same age as Gomez with a consistent starting role in Serie A and the Europa League. He has proven his ability against Italy’s top teams.

In some cases, Southgate will give young players from the Premier League a call-up. In doing so, they have the opportunity to learn from other English stars. This past camp brought in Anthony Gordon of Newcastle and young Kobbie Mainoo, who is developing into a brilliant player at Manchester United. Cole Palmer has been starring for Chelsea. His call-up at the age of 21 was no surprise, and Rico Lewis is getting looks from Southgate at City.

However, England needs consistency in these teenage representatives if it wants to maximize its success. One player whom Southgate should recognize is Jamie Bynoe-Gittens of Borussia Dortmund. The 19-year-old has been primarily a substitute under Edin Terzic, but he has made the most of those opportunities. He may not be up to the standard of representing England regularly, but the importance of developing with these players and building a relationship for a young talent cannot be overlooked.