Ashley Young handed place in England squad ahead of international break

by Leo Nieboer

Gareth Southgate has handed Ashley Young a place in the England squad for the first time since 2013 alongside Marcus Rashford, Phil Jones and Jesse Lingard.

The 32-year-old has been a regular presence in Mourinho’s starting XI ever since returning from injury against FC Basel, making eight starts in total.

His last outing for his country dates back to a 0-0 draw with Ukraine in a World Cup qualifier back in September 2013.

And Southgate, when asked about Young’s inclusion, noted that the Englishman’s endurance throughout the years and ability to feature at wing back served as the reason behind his selection for clashes with Germany and Brazil later this month.

“His performances warrant it. We want to play with wing-backs – I think it’s a role he can perform, left or right, very well,” he said. “He’s played very well for Manchester United.”

“Generally speaking we want to look at younger players, and develop the team, but I’ve always said if a more senior player is playing well and warrants the call-up, we should include them.

“He’s a player every Manchester United manager has picked, and that tells me something about his mentality and the trust they have in him.”

Southgate made it clear that he would select players based on form and Young’s inclusion, therefore, was something of a necessity.

For all the flux and chaos of the last few years, Young has been an unswerving presence in the starting XI at Old Trafford, with every manager calling upon his discipline and superb athleticism to useful effect at various points.

Put simply, he is a safe pair of hands. And you wonder, with the World Cup just around the corner, whether Southgate may feel inclined to take advantage of the composure offered by the veteran in a wing back role.

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