Gareth Southgate‘s insistence on picking players that are out of favour at club level for his England squad is becoming ‘a weakness’, believes Mail Sport columnist Chris Sutton.

With Euro 2024 just seven months away, Southgate named his final squad of the year last week and included Harry Maguire, Kalvin Phillips and Jordan Henderson once again.

Maguire has started to get more game time for Manchester United over the past month, but Phillips is still struggling for minutes at Manchester City and Henderson is now playing his football in Saudi Arabia for Al-Ettifaq.

Sutton has heaped praise on the job Southgate has done with England over the past seven years, but admits he has concerns with the loyalty he is showing to certain players ahead of a major tournament.

‘I’m a great admirer of what Gareth Southgate has achieved as England manager,’ Sutton stated on Mail Sport’s It’s All Kicking Off podcast. 

Gareth Southgate has shown loyalty to his England players during his seven years in charge

Gareth Southgate has shown loyalty to his England players during his seven years in charge

Kalvin Phillips continues to get picked despite hardly playing for Manchester City

Kalvin Phillips continues to get picked despite hardly playing for Manchester City

Jordan Henderson (left) is also still trusted by Southgate even though he now plays in Saudi Arabia

Jordan Henderson (left) is also still trusted by Southgate even though he now plays in Saudi Arabia

‘You just look back to the time he took over, the mess he took over and I think he’s been a huge success.

‘But I think there are also certain things you can level at Gareth. This loyalty factor which is talked about a lot. Gareth’s sticking with players who aren’t playing regular club football. I do think that’s an issue, I do think that’s a weakness. 

‘I admire him for having that mindset and that thought process, loyalty is important. But until England win a major tournament there’s always going to be certain things levelled at Gareth.’

Southgate has been accused by some fans of being overly-cautious when the pressure has ramped up during his tenure, with England losing the last Euros final to Italy, and then being knocked out of the World Cup at the quarter-final stage by France.

Sutton does not necessarily agree with this view, but he does feel England have the squad to win next year’s tournament, and that Southgate must not hold the side back by selecting players who are not playing regularly for their clubs. 

Chris Sutton is concerned Southgate's loyalty is now a weakness with Euro 2024 just around the corner

Chris Sutton is concerned Southgate’s loyalty is now a weakness with Euro 2024 just around the corner

‘It’s about getting the job done and England have been so close. In the Euros final against Italy, OK, Italy deserved to win the game but a penalty kick or two away from winning it,’ he added.

‘The last World Cup in Qatar, just falling short. There are fine margins and it’s about making that next step. 

‘England have the players who are capable of winning a major tournament, so will it be Gareth’s persistence with somebody like Kalvin Phillips who has barely kicked a ball in the last season, will not kick a ball unless he moves on from Manchester City in January, will it be something like that which holds England back? 

‘And I think people are right to call Gareth out on this.’

IT’S ALL KICKING OFF! 

It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify.

Source: | This article originally belongs to Daily Mail

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