Gallagher has been on England’s radar ‘since loan spell at Charlton’

The midfielder was part of the England Under-17s World Cup winning squad in 2017 and has earned a call-up to the first team after a host of withdrawals over the weekend.

Gallagher has been outstanding for Crystal Palace this season, with four goals in 11 appearances, to put himself in the frame for Qatar.

And after being called up for Monday’s final World Cup qualifier against San Marino, Southgate revealed the on-loan Chelsea midfielder has been in his thoughts for some time.

“We’ve been very impressed with him,” said the England manager. “We’ve tracked him for a very long time in his loan spells at Charlton, Swansea – we knew the staff there very well – at West Brom and now at Crystal Palace.

“In each loan he has done extremely well. He has started the season very well with Palace.

“We talked about him when we named the original squad as somebody we were keen to keep an eye on and I suppose it’s one of the benefits of being with the Under-21s because it was an easy transition for us to bring him across. He was already Covid tested and going from one to the other was straightforward.

“That’s not to say he is only there because of that – he is here because he deserves to be here – but it was an easy transition for us to make.”

Emile Smith Rowe has already made the step up from the Under-21s during this window as Southgate has had to deal with a host injuries.

On Sunday, it was confirmed that Mason Mount and Luke Shaw would not be joining up due to dental surgery and concussion respectively.

Jordan Henderson and Jack Grealish also pulled out with minor injuries, while Raheem Sterling has left the camp for personal reasons.

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