The Milan central defender Fikayo Tomori and Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins have been included by Gareth Southgate in England’s squad to face Andorra and Hungary in World Cup qualifiers.
Tomori has been rewarded for his club form in the absence of the injured Harry Maguire and, in a surprise twist, there is no place for Arsenal’s Ben White. Joe Gomez, Ben Chilwell and the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold are also missing from the defensive ranks but Reece James is included despite recently sustaining an injury with Chelsea.
Watkins was preferred up front to options such as Danny Ings and Tammy Abraham, with Patrick Bamford, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Marcus Rashford unavailable. Mason Greenwood has again been left out to manage his playing load as a teenager and Jude Bellingham has been omitted by Southgate for the same reason. Bellingham has started all 10 games Borussia Dortmund have played this season.
The goalkeeper Nick Pope drops out, with Aaron Ramsdale preferred after strong performances for Arsenal. Phil Foden returns after recovering from injury and Southgate said Emile Smith Rowe and his clubmate White were “very close” to selection. The manager said he was “trying to respect the squad that made the [Euro 2020] final and not make too many changes”.
Tomori won his first and only cap in November 2019 against Kosovo and Watkins’ inclusion is his first since he was cut from the provisional Euro 2020 squad.