Dortmund teenager handed England call-up as Southgate pens new deal

Dortmund teenager handed England call-up as Southgate pens new deal

Gareth Southgate highlighted the importance of the Football Association's desire to develop youth players in his decision to sign a new four-year deal as England manager.

The youngster is now leading the charts for the number of assists (five) this season across Europe's top five leagues, managing to provide a goal for a teammate for every 25 minutes of action.

Reports suggested he would be handed his first U21 call but an impressive performance and an assist against Monaco on Wednesday changed Southgate's mind.

Another attacking midfielder, 21-year-old playmaker James Maddison, also received a first call-up after impressing in his first season in the Premier League at Leicester.

Several other uncapped players are also involved: Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli, Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy and Watford midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah making up the sextet of debutantes.

Sancho, meanwhile, becomes the first player born in the 21st century to be named in an England squad.

"We've got a few injuries in the midfield in particular - Dele [Alli], Jesse [Lingard] and Ruben [Loftus-Cheek] have been missing - and Fabian Delph, so there is an opportunity there".

"I am delighted to have the opportunity to lead the national team through the next two major tournaments", said Southgate, whose previous deal was due to expire after the Euro 2020 finals.

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"Jadon's is an unusual story for a young English player".

It's a big call, but it aligns to what we've done in the last 18 months.

"Well, he's had a long period injured at Chelsea a year ago, so that wasn't a reflection on the quality of the player that he hadn't been with us, but he wasn't getting any football, really", Southgate said. "He's started two Champions League games for Dortmund and he's had a really big impact from the bench in their league matches so that's been a really courageous decision from him to go and seek his opportunity".

Mason's situation is slightly different.

"To have a player starting in the Champions League is of importance to us", Southgate said.

"They're both still at formative stages but we think they can have an impact with the group and we'd have no hesitation in playing them in the games".

Sancho, 18, is one of three teenagers alongside 19-year-olds Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mason Mount.

In nine games, he has scored once and provided eight assists.

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