Gareth Southgate has again left Raheem Sterling out of his England squad despite the Chelsea winger’s club form, with Jordan Henderson and James Maddison both included.
Sterling has started 10 of Chelsea’s 11 league matches this season, scoring three times, but has still not been picked by Southgate for his squad since the 2022 World Cup last November – and will now consider himself in severe danger of missing out on the European Championships next summer.
Reece James, who has just returned from injury with the Blues, also misses out, though James Maddison is included despite the ankle knock he picked up for Tottenham against Chelsea on Monday.
Callum Wilson also earns a return as the only new face from the 26-man squad which was named by Southgate for October’s international fixtures.
England’s November squad
Goalkeepers: Sam Johnstone (Crystal Palace), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal).
Defenders: Levi Colwill (Chelsea), Lewis Dunk (Brighton), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Fikayi Tomori (AC Milan), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), Kyle Walker (Manchester City).
Midfielders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Al-Ettifaq), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City), Declan Rice (Arsenal).
Forwards: Jarrod Bowen (West Ham), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Bayern Munich), James Maddison (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa), Callum Wilson (Newcastle).
Bukayo Saka, who limped out of Arsenal’s win over Sevilla on Wednesday retains his place, so too does Callum Wilson who did likewise in Newcastle’s defeat at Borussia Dortmund a day earlier.
Jordan Henderson, whose place has been publicly called into question since his summer move to Saudi Arabia side Al-Ettifaq, is another to continue his run of selections.
Eberechi Eze, who is expected to sign a new contract at Crystal Palace imminently and who has impressed in his two England cameos to date, misses out once again, having last featured for England in September’s win over Scotland.
Of the two players who miss out from the October squad, John Stones’ absence was expected after Pep Guardiola said he would be sidelined “for a while” with an injury picked up in Tuesday’s win over Young Boys.
Eddie Nketiah is also missing, even though his absence from Arsenal’s win over Sevilla on Wednesday was put down to only a “slight knock” by the club.
England play Malta at Wembley on November 17 before their final Euro 2024 qualifying game, in North Macedonia, on November 20.
Though the Three Lions have already qualified, Gareth Southgate’s side could need to win both games to be sure of being seeded in Pot 1 for the finals draw on December 2, to avoid facing another of the top-ranked nations in the group stages.
Analysis: Is Southgate ditching Mr Reliable for good?
Sky Sports News senior reporter Rob Dorsett:
“Raheem Sterling has been Gareth Southgate’s go-to man. Mr Reliable. One of the first names on the team sheet, never mind the squad list.
“That certainly was the case up until the Qatar World Cup. Since then, Sterling has been left in the wilderness. He’s not featured in any of the four subsequent England squads.
“Southgate has shown his ruthless side in the past, expediting the international retirements of Wayne Rooney and Joe Hart. But it would be surprising if he has now decided to do the same with Sterling – a player who has been crucial to the manager’s mission since day one.
“Since Southgate became England boss in 2016 until last December, only Harry Kane has been used more often than Sterling. The Chelsea winger won 55 caps in those six years – eight fewer than Kane, but two more than each of Harry Maguire, Kyle Walker and John Stones.
“So, why the sudden change of heart? And is there a route back into the England fold for Sterling before next summer’s Euros in Germany?
“Having been left out of the last four, this is one of only two England camps before Southgate has to name his 23-man squad for the Euros. With Sterling left out again, you have to think his chances of making the Euros are slim.
“It was the Chelsea winger who opted out of the squad in June, because he did not feel fully fit. He’s been overlooked by England ever since.”