England World Cup squad: Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere axes explained by Gareth Southgate
England boss Southgate has made some big calls in his 23-man squad for the World Cup in Russia.
Arsenal midfielder Wilshere misses out despite appearing to put his injury nightmare behind him with 38 appearances for the Gunners across all competitions.
There is also no room for Hart, who toiled during a season-long loan at West Ham United.
Many England fans are angry that the experienced duo have been left out of the squad.
But Southgate has now opened up on the decison, revealing the Three Lions thought carefully before making the call, while also explaining the absence of Ryan Bertrand.
“Ryan and Joe have played a lot over the last two years so they’re not decisions we took lightly,” he said.
“I could’ve had easier conversations by keeping them involved.
“With Joe, we’ve got three other goalkeepers who have had very good seasons and the decision I was faced with was do I keep Joe in and have experience around the group?
“Or give the three guys who have basically had a better season a chance? We felt the players all needed to be in on merit after their performances this season.
“Ryan is also very unfortunate in that it’s probably one of the strongest positions we have.
“Ryan has had a decent season but I just felt the others were ahead of him.
“Both calls were really tough. They’re both good guys and have contributed a lot throughout qualification, so it wasn’t an enjoyable part of the job and I feel it’s important to acknowledge their contribution in getting us to Russia.”
Southgate also hinted that Wilshere’s quality on the ball was what saw him miss out on the cut.
“We have a lot of energy and athleticism in the team, but players that are equally comfortable in possession of the ball and I think people can see the style of play we’ve been looking to develop,” he said.
“The selection process has been over months really, it’s not just been the last few weeks. We feel the team are improving and we want to continue that momentum.”