Eberechi Eze has received his first call-up to the England squad for the upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers, while Raheem Sterling has been left out by mutual decision after discussions with manager Gareth Southgate.
Eze, the Crystal Palace midfielder, earned his place in the squad after an impressive run of form, scoring six goals in his last eight Premier League matches.
Sterling, the Chelsea forward, will not be part of the squad due to concerns about his physical condition. He has been carrying a hamstring problem and feels that he is not operating at the required level.
England will face Malta on 16 June in Ta’ Qali, followed by a match against North Macedonia at Old Trafford three days later. The team currently sits at the top of Group C after victories against Italy and Ukraine in the previous qualifying matches in March.
Southgate explained the reasons behind Sterling’s exclusion, citing his dissatisfaction with his physical condition. The manager also announced the recall of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Tyrone Mings, and Lewis Dunk to the squad.
Dunk, who previously earned a single cap against the USA in 2018, returns to the squad after helping Brighton secure European qualification for the first time in the club’s history.
Several players were left out due to injury, including Reece James, Mason Mount, Ben Chilwell, Ben White, Eric Dier, Conor Coady, and Fikayo Tomori. Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope is also absent as he requires surgery for a hand injury. Sam Johnstone of Crystal Palace has been recalled as his replacement.
Five Manchester City players, John Stones, Kyle Walker, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, and Kalvin Phillips, have been included in the squad but will join up late due to their involvement in the Champions League final against Inter Milan on 10 June.
West Ham captain Declan Rice will also join the squad late as his team will be competing in the Europa Conference League final against Fiorentina on 7 June.