Euro 2024 qualifiers- Eberechi Eze called up to England squad for first time, but Raheem Sterling left out

Eberechi Eze has been called up to the England squad for the first time for next month’s Euro 2024 qualifiers, but Raheem Sterling has been left out.

Crystal Palace midfielder Eze is included after scoring six goals in his last eight Premier League matches.

Chelsea forward Sterling misses out by mutual decision after talks with boss Gareth Southgate.

England face Malta in Ta’ Qali on 16 June, before playing North Macedonia at Old Trafford three days later.

The Three Lions top the early Group C table after beating Italy and Ukraine in their opening two qualifying matches in March.

Explaining the reasons behind his decision to leave out Sterling, Southgate said: “He is not happy with his condition physically, carrying a hamstring problem. He wasn’t really in consideration.

“He doesn’t think he is operating at the level he needs.”

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Tyrone Mings and Lewis Dunk have also been recalled.

Dunk, whose only previous cap came against USA in 2018, returns to the squad after helping Brighton qualify for Europe for the first time in the club’s history.

Chelsea trio Reece James, Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell miss out through injury, while there is no place for Arsenal’s Ben White, Tottenham’s Eric Dier, Everton’s Conor Coady or AC Milan’s Fikayo Tomori.

Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope is also not included as he needs an operation on a hand injury, with Crystal Palace’s Sam Johnstone recalled for the first time since March 2022 as his replacement.

Manchester City quintet John Stones, Kyle Walker, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and Kalvin Phillips are included but will join up with the squad late because of their participation in the Champions League final against Inter Milan on 10 June.

The same also applies to West Ham captain Declan Rice, with the Hammers facing Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League final on 7 June.

Southgate questions terms of Toney ban

Southgate questioned the terms of Ivan Toney’s eight-month ban for breaching Football Association betting rules.

The Brentford striker, who made his Three Lions debut against Ukraine in March, cannot play again until January 2024 but is unable to even train with his club until September.

“What bothers me is that we’ve got to look after people and he’s injured at the moment. What does he do about getting fit?” Southgate said.

“How do we give him some structure over the next few months so he can develop himself or be a better person at the end of it or have experiences he might not experience?

“I don’t like the idea that we just leave somebody, that they are not allowed to be part of the football community. I don’t think that’s how we should work.”

Kesh Awefada

Kesh Awefada

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