Gareth Southgate admits he’s taking a bigger squad into November’s European Qualifiers, as the England look to seal their spot for next summer on a big night at Wembley.
The Three Lions host Montenegro in what is the 1000th senior men’s international, knowing that a point will be enough to clinch qualification for UEFA EURO 2020.
“The squad itself is a little bit larger in size than normal,” he explained.
“We’ve got one or two injury doubts, so we’ve named a slightly extended squad and hopefully everybody gets through the next few days without any more problems.
“But it’s an opportunity for us to qualify for the European Championship, which is a very important moment for us.
“It’s the 1000th England game, which is a momentous occasion for everybody - a very special event to be involved with.
“As a manager, you really get a feel of the history and the privilege of leading the team, when so few people have had the opportunity to do that.
“So, we’re very much looking forward to that.”
In terms of Southgate’s selection, there’s a return to the squad for Manchester City’s John Stones who missed the first two meet-ups this season through injury.
And the manager is pleased to have him back in the fold for 2019’s final games.
“He’s had a few games now back in the team,” he added.
“You know, several of the matches up until now have been Manchester City dominating the game and John serving the ball 45 yards from the opposition's goal, so there’s still a bit to see - a bit more to be tested defensively.
“But it’s good that he’s back fit and playing regularly, and he’s obviously one of our most experienced defenders.
“It’s an area of the pitch where, in terms of caps and experience, we don’t have huge experience, and it’s good to have John back in that mix.”