James Ward-Prowse has shown considerable promise since joining West Ham for PS30 million this summer, yet Gareth Southgate omitted him from his latest England squad despite already scoring two goals and providing nine assists this season.

Fans have expressed dismay that Southgate chose Kalvin Phillips over former Southampton player. What could possibly have triggered such an upset decision?

What’s the Question?

Ward-Prowse’s exclusion from England squad is no small matter. Since joining West Ham from Southampton for PS30m this summer, he has made an impactful start, scoring once and providing three assists in Premier League play.

At Forest, he delivered the corner that led directly to Jarrod Bowen’s goal and displayed impressive skills in midfield for West Ham United. His set-piece delivery has also been an outstanding characteristic of his play; often being likened to that of Thierry Henry due to its ease.

However, Southgate has chosen instead to pick Kalvin Phillips and Jordan Henderson despite their outstanding club form, leaving many wondering why. One possible explanation could lie with Southgate’s longstanding preference for picking players he knows while stressing team unity; something many critics of Southgate have pointed out in recent years; possibly at play here too.

What’s the Answer?

Ward-Prowse has made an impressionful impact since joining West Ham from Crystal Palace last August, yet Gareth Southgate still refuses to include him in his national team squad and won’t add to his 11 caps this season.

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His exclusion despite being one of the premier players at his position in the Premier League comes as no surprise, having been an integral component in West Ham United’s revival under Ralf Hasenhuttl. Furthermore, he has provided multiple assists for teammates.

Saints fans must find it disheartening to see Ward-Prowse being overlooked by England, particularly given that Jordan Henderson and Kalvin Phillips have both been selected while Ward-Prowse remains on the bench.

He’s an adept set-piece taker, known for whipping in crosses that have helped put his team ahead in previous matches. Furthermore, he regularly makes excellent passes out from the back that allow forwards to run onto and also help start attacks off. His fast vertical deliveries often spark counter attacks.

What’s the Solution?

As soon as Gareth Southgate unveiled his England squad for this month’s Euro 2024 qualifiers against Australia and Italy, some fans were understandably dismayed that certain names had been left off – one such omission being West Ham midfielder James Ward-Prowse’s exclusion.

West Ham spent PS30million to acquire him this summer, and since then he has been instrumental in their successful start to the season, providing nine assists from eight games played so far. On Sunday against Nottingham Forest he delivered the corner that Nayef Aguerd headed in for West Ham to salvage a point against them.

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Southgate chose not to include Ward-Prowse after his performance wasn’t enough to earn him a place in his squad; instead he selected Manchester City midfielder Kalvin Phillips and Liverpool defender Jordan Henderson instead, leaving Ward-Prowse stunned and furious; Rio Ferdinand has even voiced his displeasure with how Ward-Prowse has been overlooked by Southgate.

What’s the Alternative?

Ward-Prowse recently turned 29 and could well be approaching his best days as a Premier League player, yet his performance since joining West Ham has been outstanding – such that it would have been unjustifiable not to include him in Gareth Southgate’s squad for England’s matches against Australia and Italy this month.

Midfielder Christian Benteke was overlooked for selection in favour of Jude Bellingham, Declan Rice, Jordan Henderson and Mason Mount from Southampton as well as Chelsea duo Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Conor Gallagher from Chelsea – it’s hard to understand why Southgate would prefer these players over him when he plays as often and has as many international caps himself.

Luke Edwards of journalist is perplexed at why England have yet to select 28-year-old Jordon Ibe as their midfielder despite his talents being recognised. According to Edwards, it should be obvious why England should choose him; after all he is an aggressive midfielder that offers creativity as well as toughness. Edwards believes he deserves his chance in international competition.