JESSE LINGARD is emerging as a wildcard selection for Gareth Southgate’s 23-man Euros squad.
The midfielder, a stalwart of England’s run to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals, has come from nowhere to be a serious contender again.
His outstanding form on loan at West Ham had earned the Manchester United outcast a shock call-up to Southgate’s squad for the World Cup qualifiers — and Lingard played in all three.
When naming that party, Southgate admitted Lingard, 28, had been ‘lucky’ to be included, because of injuries to Jack Grealish, Jadon Sancho, James Maddison and Harvey Barnes.
But it is believed that Southgate has been so impressed by Lingard’s form, as well as his huge popularity within the squad, that he is trying to figure out who to omit to find room for him.
That could mean the axe for Sancho or Grealish — both would be huge calls.
Three Lions boss Southgate revealed he is already telling his players whether or not they are likely to make his Euros squad — two months before the final decisions are confirmed.
He said: “I’ve spoken to quite a few so that they know exactly where they sit.
“You’ve got to manage expectations about what they might need to do between now and the end of the season.
“And, of course, everybody is so close. It’s not something anybody sees outside the camp, but when you’ve got players training at the right level every day, encouraging each other through those sessions, socially getting on well.
“It’s not all about that social part, but the part where you accept being on the bench, accept playing your part and not playing the number of minutes.
“That is critical and was important to us getting nine points.”
Southgate claimed England’s 2-1 win over Poland was a boost for team spirit.
He said: “We often talk about team spirit and going out for meals, or nights out. But spirit is grown by winning important matches together.”
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