The first international break of the season is coming up after this weekend’s games, and that means more match action for most of our players.
Ironically, one of the exceptions to that is perhaps our best player so far this season, with Raheem Sterling not earning a recall to the England squad from manager Gareth Southgate. Sterling has not been called up since the World Cup, first due to an injury, then due to Chelsea’s and his own form last season — he withdrew himself from contention, to be completely accurate.
Southgate, in turn, has taken this opportunity to move on completely, it would appear.
“It is a difficult call. Raheem is not happy about it and I understand that, as he is an important player for us.
“He has been an important player for us but, in our opinion, we have, in those attacking areas just behind the no.9, got a lot of competition for places and I think all of those players have started the season well and have certainly done really well with us in recent games. [He] was not available for the last two [breaks] so of course that has given other people the opportunity to play well and to establish themselves in the group.
“It is really good to see Raheem doing so well. He looks in good condition and he looks hungry. I am convinced he is going to have an excellent season for Chelsea. There is no doubt about that.”
-Gareth Southgate; source: Chelsea FC
I guess once you’re out, you’re out, and it’s a lot harder to get back than if you just stay in. I’m sure there’s a harsh life-lesson in there somewhere.
While I’m this is undoubtedly disappointing for Raheem personally, I’m glad he’ll be getting a two-week rest instead.
Chelsea do have three players in the squad for the Euro 2024 qualifier against Ukraine and the friendly against Scotland, with Ben Chilwell, Conor Gallagher, and Levi Colwill getting the call. Former Blues Marc Guéhi, Fikayo Tomori, and Declan Rice are in as well. Colwill and Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah could be set for their senior debuts!
Meanwhile, France have called Axel Disasi and Argentina have done the same with Enzo Fernández. Take care of our boys, please!