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Logical reason why Jesse Lingard is out of the squad but plays tonight

Posted by john smith on

Gareth Southgate named his England squad yesterday to the usual swathe of criticism.

It is one of those situations where whatever decision Southgate made, he would be criticised.

Leave out Trent Alexander Arnold, he would be criticised. Same if it was Reece James or Kyle Walker or Kieran Trippier. In the end all 4 made the squad, and he has been criticised for having four right backs in the squad.

And despite him having 4 right backs, there are still criticisms from some quarters that Manchester United’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka did not even make the provisional squad.

But the loudest criticism surrounds Jesse Lingard.

On loan at West Ham from Manchester United, Lingard had a brilliant second half of the season forcing his way into the thinking of Southgate.

He made the provisional squad, but was then one of the 7 left out.

His exclusion was not surprising as England are well set in his position with the likes of Phil Foden, Mason Mount and Jack Grealish.

The fact Dele Alli, James Maddison, Emile Smith Rowe and Lingard will be sitting at home this summer just shows the strength in depth England have.

The criticism over Lingard, however, is that despite not making the squad he is likely to start against Austria tonight.

Many have expressed their bafflement on social media around this decision. But once you work through it you will realise that it is an entirely logical decision.

It is unlikely Southgate will play any of the Manchester City or Chelsea players selected in the squad.

Every other player has had a weeks more rest, and more time training with the main squad.

The likes of Foden, Mount, John Stones, Kyle Walker and Raheem Sterling would have only joined dup with the squad yesterday. It will be the right decision to give them all a break – both physically and mentally.

So that excludes Foden, Mount & Sterling as attacking midfield options against Austria.

Also in the last week there has been an interview with Marcus Rashford where he discussed playing through the pain barrier every time he steps on to the pitch.

Rashford has been managing a shoulder problem throughout the campaign and has delayed surgery until after the Euros.

It would not be a surprise for Rashford to be rested for the Austria game allowing his body to continue to recover from a season where he played 57 out of 61 games – totalling more than 4,100 minutes.

So if Foden, Sterling, Mount and Rashford are all unavailable; that leaves Bukayo Saka, Jack Grealish and Jadon Sancho as the remaining attacking options for Southgate tonight.

You only need one of those 3 to also be carrying a slight knock and England would be left short.

And that is where Jesse Lingard comes in.

Yes, he did not make the final squad, but with so many out / rested Southgate needs Lingard on a temporary basis.