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Jesse Lingard Will Start Friendly Against Austria Despite Being Cut From 26-Man Euros Squad

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Jesse Lingard Will Start Friendly Against Austria Despite Being Cut From 26-Man Euros Squad

Gareth Southgate has explained why Jesse Lingard will start for England in their upcoming friendly against Austria, despite being left out of their 26-man squad for the European Championships.

The 28-year-old midfielder has enjoyed a wonderful campaign at West Ham under David Moyes.

After joining on loan from Manchester United in the January transfer window, a rejuvenated Lingard has netted nine goals in 16 games for The Hammers, notching five assists.

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He also featured in three World Cup qualifiers back in March against San Marino, Albania and Poland after earning praise from Gareth Southgate.

But despite his impressive club form in recent months, Lingard was left out of England's 26-man squad for the upcoming European Championships after being named in the initial 33-man provisional squad.

Jude Bellingham, Jordan Henderson, Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice and Mason Mount have all been selected ahead of him in midfield, though the 28-year-old is penned down to start tonight's friendly against Austria.

Image credit: PA
Image credit: PA
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What some people may not know is, England's 26-man squad can be changed before the first group stage game against Croatia on June 13, so Lingard still has a chance to make an impression ahead of the tournament.

And with Jadon Sancho on the sidelines, this friendly against Austria could be the perfect stage to prove his manager wrong.

"He [Lingard] will play tomorrow because we've got Sancho ill and a lot of players not available and, for the balance of the team, he will start. He deserves that opportunity to go and show me that I'm wrong," Southgate said.

"The lads that are with us are the standby list and we need to keep them match-ready.

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"Everybody wants to play and that can affect our decision making in these two matches and the training sessions in the lead-up.

"We have got a very good idea of what we want to do, but that's always got to be open to change - and that's the opportunity the players have in the next two games."

Southgate continued, saying: "Jesse has done incredibly well to get back in the race. Going back to January, he was a million miles from being selectable for an England squad.

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"I said in March that he had a fabulous few weeks, but you'd have to say he was a little fortunate because we were without four wide players at that time.

"He had a good spell with West Ham and is a player that has played so well for England. We have total trust in the way he plays: he's reliable and a great member of the group."

Do you think Lingard should have been selected for the 26-man squad?

Let us know in the comments.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Football, England, Austria, Gareth Southgate, Jesse Lingard, Euros

Jack Kenmare
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