Burton-on-Trent, Aug 26 (AFP): Leeds striker Patrick Bamford received his first call-up to the England squad for three World Cup qualifiers next month as Gareth Southgate decided against a recall for 19-year-old Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood.
The Three Lions return to action against Hungary, Andorra and Poland for the first time since missing out on winning Euro 2020 on a penalty shootout to Italy in July.
Greenwood was in Southgate’s preliminary squad for that tournament before pulling out due to injury.
He has started the new season brightly, scoring twice in United’s opening two Premier League games.
But Southgate believes Greenwood’s long-term career at the international level will be best served by a rest in the coming weeks.
“He’s got every possibility to be a top England player,” said Southgate on Greenwood.
“We’re very conscious that he makes that progression at the right time. He is just breaking into the team at Man United, that’s a big thing for a young player to deal with and we want to get progression with our seniors as well as we possibly can so we get the best player at the end.
“We’re all aligned on that. Mason, his family, his club and us. The best thing for Mason after these first few games is to stay with his club, but he’s very much a player we like.
“It’s clear on his performances at the moment he would merit a place in the squad.”
Bamford is the one to gain after scoring 17 Premier League goals for Leeds last season.
Harry Kane is included after his club future was resolved on Wednesday as he committed to staying at Tottenham for at least one more season.
“The good thing from our point of view is it looks like everything is resolved and settled club wise,” said Southgate, who faced the possibility of losing his captain two days before the trip to Budapest if Kane had moved in the final week of the transfer window.
“He has got a clear focus now and I am sure he is looking forward to getting out on the pitch with Tottenham and then us next week.”
Nick Pope and Trent Alexander-Arnold return after missing the Euro through injury, while Jesse Lingard is the only other new inclusion despite his lack of game time at United.
Phil Foden and Marcus Rashford are sidelined by injuries, while Arsenal defender Ben White misses out after testing positive for coronavirus and Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell due to a lack of match fitness.