Gareth Southgate compares leaving England players out to “committing a crime”

Gareth Southgate has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to selecting his England team and has opened up on how difficult it is to choose a Three Lions starting XI

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England train ahead of Hungary game

Gareth Southgate feels like he “commits a crime” every time he leaves a player out.

Southgate will ring the changes for England ’s World Cup qualifier with Hungary on Tuesday night and is set to bring back the big guns at Wembley.

But Southgate says it hurts every time he has to make a big call on team selection.

England boss Southgate said: “I have a headache and commit a crime every time I pick a team. We have such strong competition for places; there were lots of players who did their own confidence and reputation the world of good the other day and that is pleasing to see.

“We can’t be a team that has a day off. We want to keep consistency, and we’ve had that throughout this calendar year. Everyone has pride in putting the shirt on.

Southgate has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to selecting his England team



“We want the squad to feel involved. It is important they know their value and can contribute; it wasn’t a friendly [against Andorra], there were qualification points at stake and I was really pleased with the quality of the performance as well as the application.”

England captain Harry Kane is set to return to the starting line-up and it could be that John Stones is the only player who survives from the starting line-up in Andorra.

Manchester City defender Stones was substituted after an hour to make sure he could start the second game if needed against Hungary at Wembley.

One of England’s stars is Mason Mount, who was recently included alongside Kane, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden on France Football’s 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d’Or.

“To be nominated in the top 30 in the world is a dream come true,” the 22-year-old beamed.

“And it’s special to be among names that I’ve looked up to as a kid. To be alongside them shows that you can never stop working hard.

He noted: “And it is just the beginning of a long journey. Once you get that feeling of winning something and performing at the highest level, you gain that extra confidence to help you set new targets.

“That is something I have always done, mentally-wise.

“A Ballon d’Or nomination is one of the best things you can achieve as a player but I want to achieve more and more.”

Foden was the Three Lions’ standout against Andorra on Saturday, helping Southgate’s side to a 5-0 thrashing.

But it was no surprise to Mount, who says he knows all about the starlet’s ability.

“I was sitting on the bench up close and personal with it. I know what Phil is about, I’ve played against him many times, not just in a professional game but in the academy as well,” he explained.

“I know what Phil has got in his locker and to see him do it on the big stage, like he has done so many times, is special.

“The passes he sees, the passes he picks out and the way he moves with the ball, he is a top, top, top player.

“So you know the level we have in this group means that if you drop your standard even a little bit, it’s not going to be accepted. The competition is so high, it is what you want as a player to keep pushing yourself to that next level.”

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