Gareth Southgate ‘understanding’ of Mason Greenwood’s England decision after Man United star absent again

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 (Manchester United via Getty Imag)
(Manchester United via Getty Imag)

Gareth Southgate has suggested Mason Greenwood turned down an England call-up earlier this season but affirmed that he "totally understands" the forward's decision.

For the third consecutive England camp, Greenwood was not named in Southgate’s squad on Thursday for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Albania and San Marino.

The England manager has consistently said that the 20-year-old Manchester United winger has a big international future but he has not been part of a squad since being sent home from Iceland following his debut in September of last year – although he was named in the provisional group for the European Championship before pulling out with injury.

Southgate suggested the forward and his family turned down a call following talks in September and revealed there had been no thought of selecting him for the November double-header.

“We haven’t discussed [a call up] this month,” Southgate said. “We met with him in September and had a very good discussion and totally understand where he is.

“I said last month, with young players, their pathways are different, the load on them is different. He’s at a massive football club with a lot of expectation and we don’t want to move too quickly.

“He feels he’s got huge competition to establish himself at his club and he recognises that is a big part of making your way in international football anyway.

“So, with young players we want to get that right and it is important that these discussions happen all the time with players of this age. We’ve got younger age groups those lads would be playing in and nobody would be aware that those things are going on. But it is a very familiar path for us in terms of youth development.

"We're constantly tracking every English player that plays. He and his family felt that they needed time, and with a young player especially we've got to be very mindful of that.

“So he's a player we believe has a big future, is doing well with Manchester United, he's got a challenge there now of course with the forward line that they've played in the last few games. But I'm sure that's going to change with the number of matches they've got to play. We'll continue to watch him really closely."

 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

Southgate also revealed that Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi, who has three senior caps, had rejected a call-up to the England Under-21 squad this month.

“I had a good chat with Callum before last month’s get-together because it is difficult if you are a young player, you’ve been with the senior team, he went back to play with the U21s in the last cycle and then to go again in a second cycle, I can understand is a difficult challenge," he said.

“So we would still like him to do that but he wants to back himself with his Chelsea form to get back into the seniors and I totally respect that. So by not being in the Under-21s he misses a bit of an opportunity to impress us and come across if we need players for training and those sorts of things.

“He has had a couple of good matches for Chelsea. I know Thomas [Tuchel] is guarded about how much he goes with praise on that but it is good to see him back playing and playing more regularly at first-team level and he knows the challenge that’s ahead. But he knows also that we are constantly watching him and he is young and talented enough to mount a serious challenge as we move forward.”

Southgate named another experience squad on Thursday, with Harry Maguire, Marcus Rashford, Reece James, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jude Bellingham all returning.

 (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
(Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

There was no place for Jadon Sancho, Jesse Lingard, Ben White or Fikayo Tomori, while Arsenal's Emile Smith Rowe and Crystal Palace pair Conor Gallagher and Marc Guehi remained with Lee Carsley's U21s, despite fine form for their clubs.

“Emile, Conor Gallagher and Marc Guehi in particular are all playing very well with their clubs, but we've got depth,” Southgate said.

“And to put those in we've got to leave some of these out and I think it's not a bad thing that we're starting to get a very strong Under-21 team because you want that depth.

“I think the boys I have just mentioned, they're on a really good path. We like them, we get a good chance to see them with the Under-21s, as well with their club.

“But at the moment, we think it’s a little bit early for some of those guys to come in. We could put them in and they would be absolutely fine, by the way. We think the players we’ve picked are just a little bit ahead at the moment.”

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