Gareth Southgate has confirmed he held talks with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer before opting to leave Mason Greenwood out of the senior England squad ahead of the upcoming triple header.
The Manchester United forward made his Three Lions debut back in September following a breakthrough season at club level during which he scored 17 goals in all competitions.
Greenwood, along with Manchester City starlet Phil Foden, were subsequently expelled from the squad after they were caught breaking coronavirus protocol and the teenager has subsequently struggled to recapture his best form.
The 19-year-old has scored just twice in all competitions so far this season and unlike Foden, who has earned a recall, will not feature in the fixtures against Ireland, Iceland at Denmark.
After naming his squad, Southgate reiterated his admiration of Greenwood’s goalscoring prowess and ensured the teenager that a return to form would likely see him return to the fold in due course.
He said: ‘The first thing is we’ve got huge belief in him as a young player, he’s on an incredible trajectory for someone so young. This will be a small disappointment for him but there’s a huge amount of time ahead for him. He’s an outstanding finisher and he’s an outstanding goalscorer but over the last number of months he’s not had a huge amount of football.
‘That’s going to happen, it’s a very long season and he had a very short break end of last season as well. He will be resilient enough he’s at a club that cares for young players very well and who have managed his trajectory very well and will continue to do that. I’ve spoken with Ole on that and we are aligned on him being the best player he can be.’
Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope.
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Chilwell, Conor Coady, Eric Dier, Joe Gomez, Reece James, Michael Keane, Harry Maguire, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Tyrone Mings, Bukayo Saka, Kieran Tripper, Kyle Walker.
Midfielders: Phil Foden, Jordan Henderson, Mason Mount, Declan Rice, James Ward-Prowse, Harry Winks.
Forwards: Tammy Abraham, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Jack Grealish, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling.
Asked specifically as to why Foden had been included and Greenwood omitted, Southgate added: ‘They don’t come as a pair. They’re individual players with their own strengths and talents.
‘Firstly, we are looking at the balance of the squad positionally. Phil has had quite a lot of football with his club recently and Mason has had less game time with [Manchester] United.
‘There’s no carry-over with what happened in September. That’s done. They were both available for selection and both are going to be very good players. There’s no doubt about that.’