Southgate explains why Lingard will start in Austria friendly despite squad cut

Gareth Southgate has explained why Jesse Lingard is set to start in England’s friendly against Austria despite being left out of his 26-man Euro 2020 squad.

Lingard enjoyed a stunning second half of the season on loan at West Ham United, placing himself in contention for a place in the England squad.

The 28-year-old scored nine goals and registered five assists in 16 Premier League matches for the Hammers, but has failed to make the final cut for the Euros.

Jude Bellingham, Jordan Henderson, Mason Mount, Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice have all been selected in midfield ahead of Lingard, though the Manchester United loanee will start in the Three Lions’ friendly with Austria tomorrow evening.

Jesse Lingard was left out of Gareth Southgate’s final 26-man England squad for Euro 2020

England’s 26-man squad for the Euros can still be changed right up until the first group stage match on June 13 and Southgate has admitted Lingard still has the opportunity to stake his claim.

“He will play tomorrow because we’ve got Sancho ill and a lot of players not available and, for the balance of the team, he will start. He deserves that opportunity to go and show me that I’m wrong,” stated the England boss.

Did Gareth Southgate make the right call by leaving Lingard out of the squad? Comment below.

“The lads that are with us are the standby list and we need to keep them match-ready.

“Everybody wants to play and that can affect our decision making in these two matches and the training sessions in the lead up.

“We have got a very good idea of what we want to do, but that’s always got to be open to change – and that’s the opportunity the players have in the next two games.”

Lingard helped fire West Ham into a European place this season
Lingard helped fire West Ham into a European place this season

Lingard shone at the 2018 World Cup for the Three Lions, but few would have expected Lingard to be in with a chance of starting for the team at this tournament after falling out of favour at Old Trafford.

Despite being one of the seven players to be trimmed from the 33-man provisional squad, Southgate was full of praise for the determination shown by Lingard to revive his career while out on loan.

“Jesse has done incredibly well to get back in the race. Going back to January, he was a million miles from being selectable for an England squad,” he said.

“I said in March that he had a fabulous few weeks, but you’d have to say he was a little fortunate because we were without four wide players at that time.

“He had a good spell with West Ham and is a player that has played so well for England. We have total trust in the way he plays: he’s reliable and a great member of the group.”

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