England squad in full as Raheem Sterling and Ben White left out but Eberechi Eze called up

Gareth Southgate has named a 25-man England squad for their two Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia next month. Once again, there is no room for Raheem Sterling after a miserable season at Chelsea. Sterling missed the March qualifying wins over Italy and Ukraine due to injury. Arsenal defender Ben White is also left out of Southgate's selection.

Sterling, 28, was told he was still very much part of Southgate’s plans despite missing the previous two matches. He had been a key part of the World Cup squad in Qatar - despite leaving the camp to comfort his family after a break-in at their home - and remains a part of the senior management group at the heart of the dressing room.

Nevertheless, Sterling himself admits his form has dipped during Chelsea’s disastrous season following his £50million summer move to Stamford Bridge. And after direct talks with Southgate this week it was decided it might be best to sit this one out and focus on a more positive pre-season.

Southgate admitted: “I spoke with him a week or so ago – a general catch-up. He’s not happy physically with his condition, having been carrying a hamstring problem. He really wasn’t in consideration. We didn’t get to the point of whether he should be in or out. He doesn’t think he is operating at the level he needs.”

While one of Sterling's representatives told the PA news agency: “Following a private conversation between coach and player, a mutual decision has been made for Raheem Sterling to sit out the upcoming internationals, focusing instead on recuperating his body in preparation for the upcoming season.”

With fellow Chelsea stars Mason Mount, Reece James and Ben Chilwell all ruled out through injury - and Ivan Toney suspended for eight months for betting charges - it is a far from full-strength squad that Southgate has to pick from. Crystal Palace's Eberechi Eze is the only new call-up in a 25-man squad which also includes Sam Johnstone in for Nick Pope, who having helped Newcastle to a Champions League place is to undergo an operation on his hand.

Remarkably, England have not beaten North Macedonia on either of their two visits to the country but Southgate is keen to go into the autumn internationals with four wins out of four.

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s late run of form for Liverpool has finally offered him a clearer route into Southgate’s thinking despite the England manager’s distrust of him as an out-and-out right-back which led to him failing to make the spring call-up. Meanwhile Lewis Dunk’s strong season for Brighton has also caused a re-think.

He is back in the squad having won his one-and-only international cap against the USA in 2018. However, there is still no place for White, who also left the World Cup early for 'personal reasons' despite his ability to play as a right back or in the middle.

Southgate will not use Manchester City players for the game in Malta six days after the Champions League final and will take a view on Declan Rice’s mental and physical fitness after West Ham play in the Europa Conference League final in Prague on June 7.

It could mean another start for Leicester's James Maddison in place of Jack Grealish against Malta - an early chance to get Sunday’s battle against relegation out of his system. Manchester United's Marcus Rashford is recalled in attack while Kalvin Phillips and Harry Maguire stay in the squad despite disappointing personal campaigns.

England 25-man squad in full

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale, Sam Johnstone

Defenders: Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Lewis Dunk, Tyrone Mings, Marc Guehi, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Luke Shaw

Midfielders: Declan Rice, Jordan Henderson, Kalvin Phillips, Jude Bellingham, James Maddison, Conor Gallagher, Eberechi Eze

Attackers: Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka, Jack Grealish, Callum Wilson, Marcus Rashford, Phil Foden

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