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Opinion Piece

Not playing Jadon Sancho is a bizarre decision from Gareth Southgate

England were considered one of the strongest candidates to win the European Championships thanks to their young attacking brigade.

Jadon Sancho was expected to play a key role after another superb season with Borussia Dortmund.

It was expected that he would be the mainstay on the right flank in Gareth Southgate’s team but the manager had other plans.

The young winger is yet to be involved in Euro 2020 for England. 

To everyone’s surprise, he was one of the three players left out of the squad which faced Croatia in their opening game of the tournament.

The Three Lions failed to put in a dominant display against courageous Scotland as the highly-rated affair ended in a 0-0 stalemate.

Sancho was named on the bench but didn’t get on, despite England producing a laboured performance at Wembley Stadium.

Harry Kane was out of form, while Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden failed to impress.

One can only wonder why Southgate opted against introducing Sancho who provided 20 assists this past season.

When asked to explain his decision, he said (as quoted by Sky Sports): “We’ve got some explosive options and a lot of them are young players and experiencing a big tournament for the first time.

“So as a coaching staff we are realistic about our expectations of them as individuals.

“Jadon is in that mix. He’s trained well the last few days and of course, we have got those options and those decisions to make.

Sancho is one of the finest right-wingers in the world. It is unfair to deny him game time while your team is losing.

Even at the age of 21, he has plenty of experience of playing at the highest level.

Throughout his time with Dortmund, he has featured in high-pressure Bundesliga games.

He has played more Champions League games than Mount, Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips combined. 

If age is a barrier, then Foden should not have started both games. On that basis, Southgate’s comments on Sancho are nonsense.

England need either a draw or a win against Czech Republic to qualify for the next round.

If they fail to advance, Southgate’s position as the manager will be seriously scrutinised.

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