Why Gareth Southgate continues to ignore Brighton's best player for the Euros
There were mixed Albion emotions with the announcement of Gareth Southgate’s “provisional” England Euro 2020 squad.
Albion defender Ben White makes the squad, albeit subject to a final cull. It makes him the first Brighton player in 41 years to be named in an England squad for a major tournament, with Steve Foster at Espana 82 being the previous one.
But Lewis Dunk is once again ignored by the England boss.
This news throws up a number of questions, the first being why a provisional squad?
Both Scotland and Wales went with the regulation 26, in the knowledge that any injured players can be replaced under competition rules.
Why name 33, why not name 26 like the Scots and the Welsh and then if there are any injury issues post the two European domestic finals then bring in other players.
That said regardless of Dunk, if Leicester City’s James Maddison isn’t in the best 33 players in this country after the season he’s had, then we truly have an embarrassment of riches!
As for Dunk, and this is not a slight on White in any way, but by the very nature of the fact that currently Dunk is a better defender than White in almost every department, is this ultimately about the shirt the Albion skipper chooses to wear?
As a one club man, has Dunk ultimately been penalised for his loyalty?
Great player that he is, Ben White is still not the finished article. Dunk is, and with huge question marks over Harry Maguire’s fitness, he has to be the obvious’ Plan B’ if the United skipper doesn’t recover in time?
It is a clearly a game of opinions, and it’s my opinion that if Lewis Dunk played for Wolves, West Ham, Everton or Leicester City, he would be a shoo in for Southgate’s squad (Despite the farcical Maddison situation) But he isn’t.
I think you can discount the Palace rivalry scenario, I don’t think even Southgate (left) is that petty. It’s all down to fear. He clearly has a blind spot when it comes to Dunk, the attention the England manager attracts from the media, perhaps he can’t risk putting a defender from a 16th place club in his starting line up.
But what about Nick Pope the goalkeeper of 17th place Burnley or is it one rule for one and another for another?
Unfortunately history will put Dunk in the same category as Chris Sutton, Alex Stepney and the Albion’s legendary Peter Ward as one of the legion of English football “One cap wonders”
Check the list out on Wikipedia, it’s a plethora of footballing travesties.