Conor Gallagher receives first call-up amid string of England withdrawals | England
Conor Gallagher has received his first England call-up after making a brilliant start to the season, but Gareth Southgate will be without Raheem Sterling, Mason Mount, Luke Shaw, Jordan Henderson and Jack Grealish when his side look to seal qualification for the 2022 World Cup against San Marino on Monday.
England are almost certain of qualifying for Qatar after their 5-0 win against Albania – they only need a point from their final Group I qualifier – but they will travel to San Marino without a host of influential players. Mount has not recovered from dental surgery, Shaw is suffering from concussion, Henderson and Grealish have left the camp after picking up knocks and Sterling has departed to deal with a personal issue.
Southgate is likely to make changes against San Marino, although a host of withdrawals will make it harder to rotate. Marcus Rashford and Declan Rice both pulled out of the squad before the victory over Albania.
The list of absentees has allowed Southgate to add more youth to his squad. Emile Smith Rowe was promoted from the Under-21s last week and Gallagher has followed in the Arsenal midfielder’s footsteps.
Gallagher, who saw Smith Rowe make his debut as a substitute against Albania, has been on Southgate’s radar after impressing since joining Crystal Palace on loan from Chelsea. The 21-year-old midfielder has scored four goals and registered two assists for Palace this season.
Gallagher has also done well for England at U21 level. His rise will underline the importance of young players representing the U21s.