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Paul Merson says two England stars “may as well go home now” after Croatia team selection

Paul Merson Southgate

Harsh words, but Merson might have a point here.

Paul Merson has said that two of England’s defenders “may as well go home now” after being left out of the team to play against Croatia on Sunday.

Merson was referring to Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell, neither of whom got any minutes against Croatia, with the latter being left out of the matchday squad entirely.

The only two left-backs in Gareth Southgate’s England squad were left out so that right-back Kieran Trippier could start in their place.

paul merson england

Paul Merson on Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell.

Speaking about this controversial decision by England manager Gareth Southgate, Merson said: “Fair play to Gareth as he is getting pelters if that does not come off and that is what I like about him.

“It’s the confidence he has in his own ability to go: “You know what, I’m going with what I believe and I’m not going to listen to the public. It is my job and I have to do this my way.”

“If we lose on Sunday, then he is in major trouble, so that was a big gamble

“If I’m Luke Shaw or Ben Chilwell, though, I might as well go home now with Gareth having gone for a right-footed left-back in Kieran Trippier.”

paul merson england

Gareth Southgate.

Southgate’s decision was even more surprising given the form that both Shaw and Chilwell were in going into the tournament. Shaw had just had his best-ever season in a Manchester United jersey, while Chilwell was a crucial part of Chelsea’s Champions League victory.

Merson has implied that the two players may as well go home, but it wouldn’t be entirely surprising to see one of them start tomorrow night against Scotland, as they both arguably offer more going forward than Man United transfer target Trippier.

Southgate recently explained why Chilwell (and Jadon Sancho) were left out of the matchday squad entirely, saying: “With the two boys that are out of the squad, it’s just unfortunate we can only name 23 and we’ve had to cover certain positions.

“I don’t like the fact we’re having to leave players out of the squad in a major tournament.”

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