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Greenwood and Alexander-Arnold set to return to England squad

Mason Greenwood and Trent Alexander-Arnold are expected to return to the England fold on Thursday when Gareth Southgate announces his squad for the World Cup qualifiers next month.

The Manchester United forward and Liverpool defender both missed Euro 2020 through injury but are set for immediate recalls to the national squad after impressive starts to the new Premier League season. Greenwood, 19, withdrew from England’s provisional 33-man squad for the Euros with a groin problem and has marked his return to fitness with two goals in two games for United this season.

Alexander-Arnold was forced to pull out of the tournament with a thigh injury sustained in the closing minutes of England’s final warm-up friendly against Austria. The 22-year-old has starred in Liverpool’s 100% start to the campaign, however, helping to preserve two clean sheets and producing an exquisite assist for Sadio Mané to score against Burnley on Saturday.

England start their World Cup qualifying campaign away in Hungary on 2 September before hosting Andorra at Wembley three days later. The triple-header concludes with a trip to Warsaw to play Poland on 8 September. An appearance for Greenwood would be his first at international level since being sent home from Iceland last year for breaking Covid protocols following his England debut. Phil Foden, who was also sent home after that game for disciplinary reasons, will be absent as he recovers from the foot injury that forced him to miss the Euro 2020 final defeat by Italy on 11 July.

Southgate’s selection is unlikely to feature many changes from the squad that reached the European Championship final. As well as Foden, Marcus Rashford has been sidelined so far this season having undergone surgery on a persistent shoulder problem earlier this month. The United forward returned to training on Wednesday but the international break is likely to come too soon for his inclusion.

The England manager is a firm admirer of Harvey Barnes and could include the Leicester midfielder now that the 23-year-old has recovered from the knee injury that sidelined him for the final months of last season and the Euros. Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope, another player who missed this summer’s competition through injury, could be in line for a recall. Southgate was present at Molineux on Sunday when Dele Alli impressed in Tottenham’s win over Wolves. The midfielder, however, may require a sustained run of form to earn a first England call-up since June 2019.

Jesse Lingard played his way back into England contention last season while on loan at West Ham but, having played only four minutes for Manchester United this season, is likely to miss out on this occasion. Lingard was one of six players cut from Southgate’s provisional squad for the Euros along with James Ward-Prowse, Ollie Watkins, Ben White, Ben Godfrey and Aaron Ramsdale. The Southampton captain, who signed a new five-year contract with the club last week, is being considered for the World Cup qualifiers.

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