England squad: Maguire and Henderson included while in-form Chelsea star Sterling misses out

England squad Credit: Alamy
England squad Credit: Alamy

Harry Maguire, Jordan Henderson and Kalvin Phillips have all been called up by England head coach Gareth Southgate for next month’s international break.

The journey to next summer’s European Championship continues with a qualifier against Ukraine in Poland on September 9, before they face Scotland in a friendly three days later.

Head coach Southgate has opted to largely stick with his trusted players with this 26-man squad for the double-header, giving call-ups to three regulars with questions hanging over their international roles.

England vice-captain Henderson’s move to Saudi club Al-Ettifaq raises questions ahead of the Euros, while former Manchester United captain Harry Maguire and Manchester City midfielder Kalvin Phillips have yet to play a minute of club football this season.

We made it clear last month how we felt about Henderson potentially still playing for England.

Under-21 European Championship winner Levi Colwill received his first formal call-up and uncapped Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah has also got the nod for the first time.

There is no place for Chelsea forward Sterling despite a strong start to the campaign.

England squad in full.

Goalkeepers: Sam Johnstone (Crystal Palace), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Lewis Dunk (Brighton), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Levi Colwill (Chelsea), Fikayo Tomori (AC Milan), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea)

Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid), Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Al Ettifaq), James Maddison (Tottenham), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City), Declan Rice (Arsenal)

Forwards: Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Bayern Munich), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Callum Wilson (Newcastle), Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal).

Speaking after announcing his squad, Southgate said of Maguire’s inclusion: “We have lost a lot of experienced players with caps at centre-half, we are giving some less experienced players the opportunity to come into the squad but unfortunately it looks like Tyrone (Mings) is out for the season, (John) Stones is out for this camp, Eric Dier hasn’t been in the Tottenham squad.

“There is a space there and I think for these two games it is important we have some experience in that place of the pitch.”

Southgate said the door was still open for Sterling to earn a way back into his thoughts and tipped the 82-cap winger to continue his fine start to the campaign.

“He was not available for the last two and of course that has given other people the opportunity to play well and establish themselves in the group, it is a difficult call and Raheem isn’t particularly happy about it – I’m convinced he will have a good season at Chelsea, I’ve no doubt about that,” he said.

Henderson’s inclusion came after he opted to leave Liverpool for the Saudi Pro League in the summer and Southgate admits he has some concerns looking to the future.

“We’ve watched every game, the key as we move forward is going to be the physical intensity of the league, because of the heat as well, whether that is going to allow him to perform at the level we need.

“Clearly the level of the league is changing all the time, lots of countries are going to have this issue. Portugal have got a few players there so I’m sure they are going to be playing international football still.”

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