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Gareth Southgate explains why Kobbie Mainoo has been left out of England squad as Jordan Henderson included

Gareth Southgate explains why Kobbie Mainoo has been left out of England squad as Jordan Henderson included

Man Utd midfielder Kobbie Mainoo missed out ahead of England's back-to-back friendlies next week.

Gareth Southgate has explained why Manchester United midfielder Kobbie Mainoo has been left out of his England squad ahead of the upcoming international break.

The Three Lions will begin their preparations for Euro 2024 with back-to-back friendlies when they host Brazil on Saturday 23 March and then Belgium three days later.

Jarrad Branthwaite earned his first England call-up after some superb performances for Everton, as did Anthony Gordon, who has scored three goals in his last five games for Newcastle.

But one of the more notable absentees is Kobbie Mainoo. The 18-year-old, who continues to impress in his breakthrough campaign for Manchester United, will have to wait for his debut.

Speaking in a press conference after the 25-man squad was announced, Gareth Southgate explained the reasoning behind his decision.

"I think he's doing brilliantly for a young player," he said.

"We're never slow to put a young player into the seniors but he's only had a handful of games. He's getting some fabulous experience at Manchester United and looks a really good character."

Fellow midfielder Jordan Henderson, meanwhile, has been handed a call-up to the England squad following his recent move to Ajax.

Southgate confirmed he'd spoken to Henderson prior to his move from Al Ettifaq to the Eredivisie side.

"We did speak. I'm not going to divulge that conversation," he said.

"It's good to see him playing back in a league that's probably easier for us to assess, and of course he's involved in European football. It's now easier for us to see the level he's operating at."

Southgate added: "Hendo is someone who brings at lot to the team."

Many tipped Mainoo to be handed his England debut ahead of this month's friendlies, including former Arsenal striker Ian Wright.

"Kobbie Mainoo has to be in the next England squad," he said during United's 2-1 win over Luton. "Such maturity in chaotic conditions that we've not seen from a England player in a long time. Impressed every time I watch him."

Wright added: "Equally not seeing enough love and flowers for Angel Gomes and what he's consistently doing at Lille in the centre of midfield."

Featured Image Credit: X/@SkySportsNews - Getty Images

Topics: Gareth Southgate, England, Kobbie Mainoo, Jordan Henderson