Gareth Southgate chats about his October squad, including the three new additions

Thursday 01 Oct 2020
Gareth Southgate will be working with a 30-man squad when the Three Lions meet up for October's three games

England boss Gareth Southgate has revealed the thinking behind naming a 30-man squad for October’s games.

The Three Lions have a fixture with Wales next Thursday before resuming their UEFA Nations League campaign against Belgium and Denmark the following week.

And with three matches in the space of six days in what is already proving to be a busy football calendar, Southgate admits it was the most rational thing to do.

"Because of the three fixtures and the number of matches the players have got with their clubs, and the potential for needing to make changes and be adaptable, we think we needed a bigger squad for this camp,” he explained.

"It's unusual, but we are in a very strange period for everybody and we've got to adapt in the same way that clubs are having to adapt.

"The physical issues are at the forefront of our thinking and we learned a lot from the September camp in that respect, when we had to keep managing minutes.

"We've got a better situation this month in that we know for all the matches we can make a minimum of five subs and six in the friendly, so I think we can manage the squad in a better way.”

Southgate has also added three new faces to his squad, who will meet up at St. George's Park on Monday to begin preparations for the first game with Wales.

Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Leicester City’s Harvey Barnes and Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka have all stepped into the squad and Southgate is keen to see them all at close quarters.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been a regular goalscorer for the Young Lions in previous seasons

"Dominic’s obviously been in the pathway through the U21s and had a good season last season,” he said.

“A lot of Dominic's game, I've liked for a long time and what he's adding now is the goals which haven't always been there.

"In the last 18 months or so, he's really improved in that area and he's been a big part of Everton starting the season as well as they have and I'm very pleased to call him up for the first time.

"With Harvey, it's not just this season, but the end and the beginning of last season when he had some eye-catching performances.

"He's a very direct attacking wide player and very different to some of our other wide players.

"He's a big counter-attack threat for his club and he defends well when he's required to, which is important in top level football.

Harvey Barnes will be hoping he can be back in the England shirt again this month

“His goalscoring when he was on loan at West Brom was very good and he's started adding those goals in the Premier League now so it's a good moment for him as well.

"We felt it was a bit early last month [for Saka] and it's probably still early, but he's playing in an area of the pitch where we've not got great depth and we're excited by what he's done there.

"We think this is a good opportunity in this camp to have a look at him and for him to see how we work at senior level.

"We're excited by the potential there and we think he can flourish as he gets older and although he's very young we're happy to give youngsters a chance.

"We've got different types of players in the attacking areas, different types of centre-forwards, different types of attacking midfielders and different wing profiles. 

Bukayo Saka during training with the MU21s squad last month

“So it's exciting with the type of players who are coming through our academies now and able to give us that depth at senior level.

"We're still pretty inexperienced when I look at the number of caps in the squad, but the only way to gain that experience is by being with us.”

Southgate does also welcome back some more of his experienced players to the squad, with the likes of Jordan Henderson, Harry Maguire, Ben Chilwell and Marcus Rashford involved after missing last month’s games.

And with so many younger and new faces in the group, he believes their presence becomes even more vital.

"The senior players are even more important at this time, because we're bringing lots of new players in, we're having to deal with lots of change and uncertainty,” he added.

“So the role of the senior players in mentoring the younger ones and showing them how we work in our environment in setting standards is really key and to have that leadership in the camp is important.”

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By Nicholas Veevers