Gareth Southgate has called up James Ward-Prowse for England’s World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Hungary after Kalvin Phillips withdrew from the squad with a calf strain.
Ward-Prowse was in England’s provisional squad for Euro 2020, but the Southampton captain was left disappointed after failing to make the final cut for the tournament. However, Southgate has often spoken highly of the midfielder and has brought him back into the fold.
Southgate, whose side are top of Group I, has had to deal with a number of injury problems for this month’s camp. England, who visit Andorra on Saturday and host Hungary next Tuesday, were already without Harry Maguire, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Marcus Rashford before the Chelsea right-back Reece James pulled out of the squad with a twisted ankle on Monday. Ben Chilwell replaced his Chelsea teammate, while Southgate has also recalled the Roma striker Tammy Abraham.
The loss of Phillips, who has established himself as a regular starter since making his international debut last year, is another blow. However, Ward-Prowse will not need long to settle in. The 26-year-old – who was sent off in Southampton’s 3-1 defeat at Chelsea on Saturday – made his England debut in a friendly defeat to Germany in 2017 and has been capped eight times. He is a reliable performer at club level and offers a huge threat from set-pieces.
Ward-Prowse’s opportunity comes after Southgate decided not to include Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham last week. England’s manager explained his decision to omit Bellingham by saying he wants to manage the 18-year-old midfielder’s workload. He left out the Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood for the same reason.