England football squad: no selection for Jamie Vardy and Gary Cahill

Three Lions take on Spain and Switzerland in September

Jamie Vardy England football squad
Jamie Vardy in action for England in the World Cup group match against Belgium
(Image credit: Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images)

As Gareth Southgate prepares for England’s first fixtures after their encouraging World Cup campaign he’ll do so without the services of Jamie Vardy and Gary Cahill.

The Three Lions play Spain at Wembley in the Uefa Nations League on 8 September, followed by a friendly against Switzerland three days later. Both are good opportunities to blood new players ahead of the start of qualification for the 2020 European Championships.

The Nations League is a new tournament, largely replacing international friendlies, so Southgate will use the competition to try out new players and test new combinations.

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Vardy and Cahill have decided the tournament isn’t for them. Although they’re not retiring definitively from international football, the pair understand that at their age they don’t represent the future.

Young man’s game

“This has been on my mind for a while,” 31-year-old Vardy told The Guardian. “I’m not getting any younger and you can see, to be fair to the gaffer, he wants to make it more youthful, which obviously had its benefits during the World Cup.

“We got to the semi-finals and finished fourth, which is equal to the furthest we have ever been on foreign soil. So I just said to Gareth I think it’s probably best from now on, especially with the way he wants to go, to bring youngsters in who he thinks have got the ability and start nurturing them into international football.”

Door is ajar

The Leicester striker made his England debut against the Republic of Ireland in June 2015 and won the last of his 26 caps in the third place play-off against Belgium.

“Gareth said that he felt I still had a lot to offer, and we’ve not shut the door completely,” explained Vardy, who scored seven goals for his country.

“If the worst came to happen and everyone was injured, then obviously I wouldn’t say no.”

Cahill calls it a day

It’s a similar scenario for Cahill, 32, who has won 61 caps since making his debut in 2010, but was seen just once in the World Cup, also in the third place play-off against Belgium.

“I can see it is now going to a younger generation and I think it is the perfect time for me to take a step back,” Cahill told Chelsea TV.

“I’ve been hugely honoured to play for my country and I would never shut the door. I’ve said that if there are injuries in the future and I’m needed to come and play then, of course, I’m available.”

A new face up front

According to Sky Sports, both decisions had been “anticipated by Southgate” as he prepares to announce his squad for the Spain game tomorrow. The broadcaster predicts that 21-year-old Liverpool defender Joe Gomez will be among the names announced.

As for who takes Vardy’s place, neither Sky nor The Times is sure who will replace the striker.

Vardy’s decision, says the Times, leaves Southgate “short of options, particularly as Danny Welbeck is struggling for game-time at Arsenal”.

The paper says Jadon Sancho, the 18-year-old Borussia Dortmund winger, is one option as are Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson and Danny Ings of Southampton.

Teens set for call-ups?

Sky Sports adds that as well as Dortmund star Sancho, Manchester City’s Phil Foden, 18, and Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon, 18, are also “linked with a call-up”.

Meanwhile, the Daily Star reports that Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw is also being considered for a “shock recall” by Three Lions boss Southgate.

England’s 2018 fixtures

  • 8 September: Uefa Nations League vs. Spain (Wembley, London; 7.45pm)
  • 11 September: friendly vs. Switzerland (King Power Stadium, Leicester; 8pm)
  • 12 October: Uefa Nations League vs. Croatia (Stadion HNK Rijeka, Rijeka; 7.45pm)
  • 15 October: Uefa Nations League vs. Spain (Estadio Benito de Villamarin, Sevilla; 7.45pm)
  • 15 November: friendly vs. United States (Wembley, London; 8pm)
  • 18 November: Uefa Nations League vs. Croatia (Wembley, London; 2pm)

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