Football

Gareth Southgate urged to pick Southampton midfielder who ‘should be at a top six club’

Southgate

Former Tottenham Hotspur and Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp has urged Gareth Southgate to call up James Ward-Prowse for the 2022 World Cup.

Redknapp also believes the Southampton midfielder should be playing for a top six Premier League club. But the ex-manager noted that the likes of Jude Bellingham, Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips should also be included.

According to Redknapp, Southgate’s midfield should be built around Borussia Dortmund man Bellingham. Rice and Phillips meanwhile pick themselves, if fit.

Phillips has struggled with a shoulder injury for the majority of the campaign. The midfielder has played just 14 minutes for Manchester City in all competitions this season.

Rice meanwhile has been a regular for West Ham, and has once again performed admirably this season.

But Phillips’ potential absence could pave the way for Ward-Prowse in Southgate’s England plans. The boss has included Southampton midfielder Ward-Prowse in recent England squads.

He played the entire match as England drew 0-0 with Italy in the Nations League in June. Ward-Prowse was named on the bench in four of the other five group matches.

It came following impressive performances for the Saints. Last season, the midfielder managed 11 goals and eight assists in all competitions for his club.

This season, however, the figures have dried up. The midfielder has one goal and one assist in 14 matches.

Equally worrying for Southgate is the fact Southampton are now in the relegation zone. They sit 18th, with just three wins from their 14 matches.

Southgate urged to take “proper midfielder” Ward-Prowse

As reported by the Mirror, Redknapp believes Ward-Prowse should be on the plane to Qatar. He also thinks the Southampton man should be playing at a higher level.

“I would take James Ward-Prowse,” said the former manager. “What a club player he is.

“A proper midfielder, as I would say. A great all-rounder who should be at a top-six club.”

Redknapp weighs in on Southgate’s attacking options

Redknapp also commented on his preferred England choices going forward. There are plenty of strikers fighting for the hugely-competitive attacking spots.

While captain Harry Kane is a certainty, the likes of Tammy Abraham, Callum Wilson and Ivan Toney will all be eyeing a spot under Southgate.

Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins and Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin will also be keen for a World Cup call-up. Manchester United attacker Marcus Rashford is in the same situation.

But Redknapp believes it is Wilson and Toney who should be selected alongside Kane. Their current form, along with the fact they are capable penalty takers, should ensure their selection.

“Wilson, I know, had his injury problems but he is in great form at the moment,” said Redknapp.

“Sure, it’s a gamble taking him and he hasn’t played for England for three years. But at every tournament there seems to be a surprise player who comes from nowhere into the reckoning.

“Putting him and Brentford’s Toney alongside Kane would be the perfect trio to choose from. All three are experienced penalty-takers, too.”

FIFA has set countries a 13 November deadline to name their final 26-man squads. Southgate is expected to name his final England squad on 10 November.

Southgate