Ryan Bertrand failed to make the cut as England manager Gareth Southgate made his World Cup squad public ahead of the tournament in Russia.
Despite largely being a solid performer for Southampton at left-back, Bertrand was omitted from the squad in favour of Manchester United’s Ashley Young, Tottenham Hotspur’s Danny Rose and Manchester City’s Fabian Delph.
That’s despite Young and Delph not being natural left-backs, and Rose having barely featured in the 2017/18 Premier League season for Spurs.
Explaining Hart and Bertrand’s omissions, Southgate said: “Ryan and Joe have played a lot over the last two years so they’re not decisions we took lightly,” per the Independent. “I could’ve had easier conversations by keeping them involved.
“With Joe, we’ve got three other goalkeepers who have had very good seasons and the decision I was faced with was do I keep Joe in and have experience around the group? Or give the three guys who have basically had a better season a chance? We felt the players all needed to be in on merit after their performances this season.
“Ryan is also very unfortunate in that it’s probably one of the strongest positions we have. Ryan has had a decent season but I just felt the others were ahead of him.
“Both calls were really tough. They’re both good guys and have contributed a lot throughout qualification, so it wasn’t an enjoyable part of the job and I feel it’s important to acknowledge their contribution in getting us to Russia.”
Full England squad for World Cup 2018:
Midfielder: Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Eric Dier, Dele Alli (both Tottenham), Jesse Lingard, Ashley Young (both Man Utd), Fabian Delph (Man City), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea)
Forwards: Raheem Sterling (Man City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Man Utd), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal)
Standby: Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski (both Burnley), Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Jake Livemore (West Bromwich Albion), Adam Lallana (Liverpool)