Gareth Southgate’s decision to omit James Ward-Prowse from the England squad for the Euro 2024 qualifier with Ukraine and the friendly against Scotland has drawn criticism from Paul Merson.
Southgate selected the likes of Jordan Henderson who is playing the Saudi Pro League and Kalvin Phillips over the West Ham midfielder who has been exceptional for the Hammers.
Ward-Prowse joined West Ham from Southampton in a deal worth £30 million this summer window and has made an instant impact, scoring 1 and assisting 3 in 3 appearances. He has become a key player in the West Ham team and is involved in almost every attack.
Which is why Merson has called the England manager’s decision to overlook him as a ‘ridiculous’ one.
He wrote in his latest column for Sky Sports:
“When the squad came out, Trent Alexander-Arnold was one of the midfielders. If you’re James Ward-Prowse, you’re thinking: ‘I’m never playing for England.’
You’ve got someone [Jordan Henderson] who’s playing in the Saudi league in front of 6,000 people every week and then you’ve got Ward-Prowse, who’s playing very well for West Ham.
He’s been one of the game changers but he doesn’t get a look in. It’s ridiculous.
Alexander-Arnold is a defender. He played one game in midfield for England against Malta. I mean… Malta. I expect a professional footballer in the Premier League to be able to do well in midfield against Malta.
And what about Kalvin Phillips? He doesn’t play football.”
Southgate’s selection has certainly raised eyebrows, and Merson’s critique reflects the debate surrounding the manager’s choices for the England squad.