Paul Merson ‘shocked’ Gareth Southgate snubbed Chelsea loanee Conor Callagher for England

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The midfielder has dazzled for Palace

The midfielder has dazzled for Palace (Picture: Getty Images)

Paul Merson says Conor Gallagher has been ‘one of the best players in the country’ this season and ‘deserves’ a place in the senior England squad.

The Chelsea academy graduate is making a big impression on his season-long loan at Crystal Palace under Patrick Vieira, contributing four goals and two assists in 10 Premier League games so far.

Despite his excellent form, Gallagher failed to make Gareth Southgate’s squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Albania and San Marino, instead remaining with the Under-21s.

Gallagher is with the Under-21s, not the senior squad

Gallagher is with the Under-21s, not the senior squad (Picture: Getty Images)

Three Lions boss Southgate has acknowledged the 21-year-old’s fine displays for Palace, but insisted he has plenty of depth already in his squad.

His omission is a decision that has ‘shocked’ Arsenal legend Paul Merson, who believes the midfielder was ‘unlucky’ not to make the cut.

‘Conor Gallagher should be in the England squad and it’s shocked me that Gareth Southgate has snubbed him,’ Merson told the Daily Star.

‘He’s been one of the best players in the country this season for Crystal Palace and I don’t think he could have done any more to earn a call-up.

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‘Chelsea loanee Gallagher deserves to be in there and if he hasn’t got a call-up up now I don’t know how he ever will.

‘He affects games every single time he plays and he’s completely and utterly on top of his game. I think he’s really unlucky.

‘Southgate could have picked him and sent a message to every young English player that if you’re playing well you will get a chance.

‘But he hasn’t, and that sends the wrong message for me – especially as people like Declan Rice have pulled out.’

Merson is also perplexed by Southgate leaving out Manchester United’s Jadon Sancho, given he was included in the last squad.

‘I don’t think you should pick players who aren’t really playing for their clubs, so I’m a bit surprised at his treatment of Jadon Sancho as well,’ he added.

‘Sancho got picked last time almost to help his confidence when he wasn’t doing well at Manchester United. Now he’s out again. It’s strange.’


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