England's Gareth Southgate on squad selection and Declan Rice

Gareth Southgate tells Jordan Pickford what he must do to get through bad patch

Gareth Southgate tells Jordan Pickford what he must do to get through bad patch

West Ham United midfielder and FAI Young Player of the Year Declan Rice is the only uncapped player called up to the squad after a season which has seen him impress hugely in Manuel Pellegrini's midfield.

"We've tracked him for quite a while", Southgate said.

And four months on from their last game, which saw England beat Croatia at Wembley to reach the UEFA Nations League semi-final, Southgate admits the situation is different for a lot of his players with their clubs and there has also been the emergence of other options.

"I think it's easy to be vocal when you haven't walked in those shoes", the England boss said.

He described Pickford's England form as excellent but stopped short of guaranteeing the former Sunderland player would continue as first choice.

"When you're picking a squad, there's got to be an element of what the players are doing with their clubs and what they have done with us".

Such attributes led the Three Lions boss and former Football Association technical director Dan Ashworth to visit Rice before last summer's World Cup, when they made it clear they saw an global future for him.

Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton has also been recalled having not featured for his country in almost two years.

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Southgate pointed to an article Eni Aluko wrote in "The Guardian" last month, in which the former England global wrote that there "needs to be a much more mature attitude in football towards players who have dual nationality".

"We don't have many English goalkeepers playing, all of those that are playing have had moments and spells of good form, making good saves and days when they have not been so good", Southgate is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

"What we've seen throughout has been an impressive character, a young man that shows tremendous leadership and responsibility. He will fit in very well with the way that we work".

"We are looking forward to working with him next week".

On Pickford: "You can look across the squad and say they have had moments where they played well and moments not so well".

On Rashford: "He wants to be the best player in the world and will dedicate himself to that".

"We have always tried to look at that as ethically as we can".

"We're pleased with what Jordan's done and we've got to help him through what was hopefully a blip at the weekend".

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