Rashford and Sancho did not make the 25-man list for the friendlies against Switzerland and Ivory Coast later this month. Manchester City ace Kyle Walker was also omitted from the squad, while U21 captain Marc Guehi has received his first senior call-up.
“There are other attacking players in our squad who are ahead of him in our opinion,” said Southgate when asked about Sancho. The 21-year-old’s omission is a surprise having scored two goals and provided three assists in his last six Premier League outings.
Why has the Red Devils star been overlooked and could his place in plans being drawn up for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar later this year be under threat?
Why is Marcus Rashford not in the England squad?
The 24-year-old has been a regular for England since bursting onto the scene as a teenager in 2016, with appearances made at two European Championships – including a Euro 2020 final against Italy – the 2018 World Cup and UEFA Nations League finals.
His domestic form has, however, dipped in the 2021-22 campaign – on the back of becoming an MBE for his charity work off the field – and Southgate is looking for a proven performer to rediscover a spark at Old Trafford before being welcomed back into the international arena.
The Three Lions boss has said of his decision to snub Rashford: “I think it is important, perhaps after this camp, for me to go and sit with him and find out a bit more about what is going on.
“We know he is desperate to do well.
“I think Marcus is very realistic. He knows he is in a situation where he has not been getting in the United team consistently and he will be searching as much as anybody to get that form back.
“We all believe he can be an asset for his club and for his country.
“With one or two of our players in the past, who have had dips and come through them, you can say, ‘look, they came through that, they responded well and became more strong and they showed the character needed’.
“That is what he is going to have to prove now in the coming weeks and months. Nobody’s career goes smoothly from start to finish and of course his rise from when he first broke into the team at United was incredible, really.”
On Rashford, Southgate added: “With Marcus, he is in the same position as everyone else, whether they are in the squad or not they all have to play well in the next period, it is a difficult time for him, he is clearly not at his best. There is plenty of time, we know about Marcus, we know what he can bring to us.”