Chelsea and Crystal Palace star Conor Gallagher has been on England’s radar ‘since loan spell at Charlton’

·2-min read
 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

Gareth Southgate has revealed Conor Gallagher has been on England’s radar since his loan spell at Charlton in 2019.

The midfielder was part of the England Under-17s World Cup winning squad in 2017 and has earned a call-up to the first team after a host of withdrawals over the weekend.

Gallagher has been outstanding for Crystal Palace this season, with four goals in 11 appearances, to put himself in the frame for Qatar.

And after being called up for Monday’s final World Cup qualifier against San Marino, Southgate revealed the on-loan Chelsea midfielder has been in his thoughts for some time.

“We’ve been very impressed with him,” said the England manager. “We’ve tracked him for a very long time in his loan spells at Charlton, Swansea - we knew the staff there very well - at West Brom and now at Crystal Palace.

“In each loan he has done extremely well. He has started the season very well with Palace.

“We talked about him when we named the original squad as somebody we were keen to keep an eye on and I suppose it’s one of the benefits of being with the Under-21s because it was an easy transition for us to bring him across. He was already Covid tested and going from one to the other was straightforward.

“That’s not to say he is only there because of that - he is here because he deserves to be here - but it was an easy transition for us to make.”

Emile Smith Rowe has already made the step up from the Under-21s during this window as Southgate has had to deal with a host injuries.

On Sunday, it was confirmed that Mason Mount and Luke Shaw would not be joining up due to dental surgery and concussion respectively.

Jordan Henderson and Jack Grealish also pulled out with minor injuries, while Raheem Sterling has left the camp for personal reasons.

The promotion of Smith Rowe and Gallagher may have Callum Hudson-Odoi regretting his decision to reject his last two call-ups for the Under-21s.

Southgate added: “We think Conor and Emile are playing better than others we could have called in. It is as simple as that. The door is never closed.

“I like the idea of bringing young players in because you are investing in England’s future.

“It would be easier perhaps in the short term to bring in an older player, but I am not certain that there are older players who are playing better than those two at this current moment in time in the positions they are playing.”

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