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AFP
November 8, 2019

England pick Maddison for Euro qualifiers

Sports

AFP
November 8, 2019

LONDON: Leicester City midfielder James Maddison was included Thursday in Gareth Southgate’s squad for their Euro 2020 qualifiers against Montenegro and Kosovo despite his controversial casino visit during the last international break.

Maddison pulled out of the squad to face the Czech Republic and Bulgaria last month because of illness but the uncapped 22-year-old was pictured in a casino during the 2-1 defeat in Prague.

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers defended his player while Southgate said Maddison would have learned there was an increased spotlight on him. Defender John Stones, who has started Manchester City’s past two Premier League games, and Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have been handed England recalls in the 27-man squad. Oxlade-Chamberlain has scored four goals in his past four games for Liverpool, including the winner in Tuesday’s 2-1 Champions League victory over Genk.

Everton defender Michael Keane has been dropped and there is still no place for Dele Alli but Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi is back in.Hudson-Odoi, who has two caps, is promoted back from the under-21 squad following his return from the Achilles injury he suffered at the end of last season.

Stamford Bridge teammate Mason Mount is also included despite coming off in Tuesday’s 4-4 Champions League draw against Ajax with an ankle problem.England host Montenegro on November 14 with victory enough to book their spot at Euro 2020. They then travel to Kosovo three days later.

Southgate said Kyle Walker’s international career was not over despite omitting the Manchester City defender for a third successive squad, with Kieran Trippier and Trent Alexander-Arnold the preferred options at right-back. There was also no place for Aston Villa’s in-form captain Jack Grealish or Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard.

England need only one point from their last two qualifiers to reach the Euros, and will be looking to secure qualification in the men’s 1,000th match against Montenegro at Wembley.