Sunderland’s Wickham dropped from England squad ‘because he’s not playing enough’

Sunderland's Connor Wickham.
Sunderland's Connor Wickham.
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ENGLAND Under-21s boss Gareth Southgate has revealed Connor Wickham has been dropped from his squad because of his lack of game time recently.

The Young Lions take on San Marino on Thursday, with Southgate having rung the changes, leaving out Swansea’s Jonjo Shelvey and Sunderland striker Wickham.

The pair played a part in each of England’s three miserable performances at the European Championship in Israel and are not currently part of Southgate’s plans.

And the U21 chief reveals Wickham’s lack of match action – he has only played 34 first-team minutes since lasting the full game against Crystal Palace on August 31 – is one of the reasons he has been axed.

Southgate said: “Some of the younger ones I want to have a look at because I think they are more likely to be involved going towards a tournament and I would like to bed them in now.

“Connor was not able to report last time and hasn’t really played any football since. It is as simple as that, really.

“Danny Ings, scoring regularly at Burnley, has been in outstanding form, and Nick Powell at Wigan the same.

“Danny is the addition, if you like, and I just felt his form justified that, but we know about Connor from seeing him play in the younger age groups.

“But at the moment, he has not really been able to play first-team football or anything underneath that.

“I know enough about Jonjo,” he added. “I wanted to look at some different players.

“There is a fair chance that if we went to a tournament in two years’ time that he might be involved at a more senior level.

“Also he has had a lot of matches going back to pre-season, when Swansea were in Europe and involved in their first-team. With midfield and out wide, it is dangerous to say but I have an embarrassment of riches, really.”