Gareth Southgate decided not to include Jack Wilshere in his England squad because he feels the midfielder is not playing in his best position for Arsenal.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who is on loan at Crystal Palace from Chelsea, will make his debut in Friday’s friendly against Germany, while uncapped Burnley midfielder Jack Cork and West Bromwich Albion’s Jake Livermore have also been called up ahead of Wilshere.
Southgate had previously justified his decision not to pick Wilshere by citing his problematic injury record and he has now admitted he does not agree with how the 25-year-old is being utilised by Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.
“Jack played as a number 10 all of last season on loan at Bournemouth,” Southgate told reporters on Thursday.
“That is not the way we are playing. When we have played with a 10, we have had Dele and (Adam) Lallana. But we are not playing with a 10 tomorrow.
“I don’t think Jack is a 10. I think he is a deeper player, but he is not playing deeper. You’d have to ask Arsene (Wenger, the Arsenal manager) why that was.
“But I want to be clear: I really like Jack Wilshere as a player. I think he is a talent and I really respect him as an individual. And I’m hoping that we are in a position in March where we can pick him.”
Southgate also revealed Chelsea midfielder Danny Drinkwater had turned down an invitation to join up with the squad.
Drinkwater has been working to overcome a calf injury since joining Chelsea from Leicester City and Southgate was cautious not to blame him for rejecting his country’s call.
“He’s not been fit for the last three camps. You can’t do anything about that,” Southgate said. “I thought it would be worth finding out where he was, given there’s a chance he plays for Chelsea this year and plays at a good level.
“But he missed quite a bit of pre-season and I’m back to individual players knowing where they are physically in terms of what they are capable of.”
The misfortunes that have befallen England’s more established midfielders have opened the door for 21-year-old Loftus-Cheek.
The tall midfielder has been enjoying his first sustained run of Premier League football since joining Palace and Southgate is looking forward to seeing how he fares against world champions Germany.
“He’s always been the biggest kid in the playground, but he’s not a player who’s survived on physical strength,” said Southgate, whose side face Brazil in another high-profile Wembley friendly on Tuesday.
“He’s a player of great technique. He’s a different sort of player, at his best in behind the opposition midfield, driving at defences.
“Great technical quality, dribbling ability, power; I think he’s a really exciting player.
“He’s quite a quiet lad, so I’m hoping he gets a lift in confidence from how we see him and the level we think he’s capable of.”