Leicester’s Ben Chilwell, Demarai Gray earn first England call-ups, Dele Alli ruled out with injury

Steve Nicol breaks down both sides’ performances in Spain’s 2-1 win over England and responds to the controversial call on Danny Welbeck.
UEFA Nations League: Danny Welbeck goal disallowed (90’+7′) England 1-2 Spain
Marcus Rashford’s opener was offset by goals from Saúl Ñíguez and Rodrigo to give Spain a 2-1 away win over England.

Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell and Demarai Gray have received their first senior England call-ups ahead of Tuesday’s friendly against Switzerland at the King Power, but Dele Alli has been ruled out with a muscle strain.

Full-back Chilwell, 21, and midfielder Gray, 22, impressed for England under-21s last Thursday in their 0-0 draw against Netherlands in Euro 2019 qualifying.

Chilwell is the first Leicester academy graduate in the England squad since Emile Heskey in 1999, while Gray, who joined from Birmingham in 2016, has scored once in four Premier League appearances this term.

The pair join Leicester teammate Harry Maguire in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the clash against the Swiss at the Foxes’ home ground.

England lost 2-1 to Spain in the UEFA Nations League on Friday and Alli will leave the England camp due to injury, while Luke Shaw is due to return to Manchester United on Monday after suffering concussion in the match at Wembley. 

Meanwhile, manager Gareth Southgate has said that the youth teams are beginning to focus more on technical ability in an attempt to produce better players in the future.

Southgate was asked about the most talented players to have played for England, and he could only come up with one name.

“The only one in my lifetime is Paul Gascoigne and I’m not sure he was developed, I think he was a consequence of a unique talent,” he said.  “I think what is happening at junior level is that there is more emphasis on technical ability.

“Right from five, six, seven-year-olds, there is more emphasis on being able to handle the ball and play. We’re seeing that with some of our junior teams. But we can see there’s a period of time for those players to come through.”

When looking at England’s current crops of creative players, Southgate said it is hard for any nation to compare with Spain.

“We can see there’s a few players around our squad that have the ability to do that, but Spain have had a production line for a long period of time,” said the England manager.

“Look at those who have gone and those that come into the team. Of that type of player, they’ve produced more than any other team in the world.”

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