England boss Gareth Southgate has revealed why he decided against taking Manchester United defender Chris Smalling to the World Cup.
The central defender has actually turned around his season in 2018 and has scored a number of important goals.
That lead to suggestions that he could replace Gary Cahill in the England squad for the World Cup this summer.
Though, it was confirmed on Wednesday that the player would be staying at home this summer.
Jack Wilshere, Joe Hart and Jonjoe Shelvey were also left at home with some questions being asked over their exclusions.
While Southgate has explained Hart’s exclusion, he has now moved to explain why Smalling was left out.
Decision already made
The England boss has revealed that he made the decision not to take Smalling back in November.
The reasoning was simply that the defenders that he already had were showing no signs of needing to be replaced.
“He’s played well for Manchester United. I made the decision in November, we had clean sheets against Germany and Brazil,” he explained to IRN, as cited by the Daily Mirror.
“We then played Italy and Holland, so across those four games we’ve only conceded one goal, so I didn’t see any reason to change tack on the defenders we were picking and the way we were playing.
“Chris is a man I respect a great deal, but I think we made that decision in November and I’ve not seen any reason to change the thinking on that.”
Chris Smalling has made fewer errors (0) in the Premier League this season than:
P. Jones (2)
J. Tarkowski (2)
K. Walker (2)
H. Maguire (1)
T. Alexander-Arnold (1)
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) May 16, 2018