Southgate considers first England call-ups for Leeds United pair

England boss Gareth Southgate is weighing up the idea of handing Leeds United stars Patrick Bamford and Luke Ayling their first call-ups for England’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers, according to reports.

The Leeds duo have been two of the main reasons why Marcelo Bielsa’s side have been so successful over the past couple of seasons, with Bamford chipping in with 13 goals and five assists in the Premier League, while Ayling has played all 28 of their matches.

And The Guardian claims that ‘Southgate will consider giving first call-ups to the Leeds pair, Luke Ayling and Patrick Bamford, and recalling West Ham’s Jesse Lingard.’

Bamford was forced off with an injury in their 0-0 draw against Chelsea over the weekend – but The Guardian add that he is ‘understood to be fit’.

The Three Lions will play San Marino, Albania and Poland in their first set of World Cup qualifiers but he could be without Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham after he was ‘barred from travelling to the United Kingdom for England duty’.

The Guardian adds that ‘Dortmund are not prepared to be without the player for the two weeks that follow the internationals’.

A couple of weeks ago Southgate talked of the “big decisions” he would be facing ahead of his final selection for Euro 2021 with so many English players in form.

Speaking earlier this month, Southgate said: “Well, I can remember being at Middlesbrough playing Tottenham and we were 2-1 up in the game and Harry Redknapp put Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov on.

“And I looked at my bench and I had five kids from the academy. Now, that’s a headache because you’re thinking ‘well, I’m not quite sure how we turn this game around and improve what we’ve got on the field’.

“When you’ve got a choice of some outstanding talent, now of course there’s big decisions you have to make. But in the end, you know, some of these decisions are sadly taken out of your hands.

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“I mean, if I look at the squad for March we’re already without Joe Gomez, Jordan Henderson, Harvey Barnes. James Justin, who we think has been doing exceptionally well at Leicester, is going to be out.

“So, you know, how many of these guys (are available)? There’s others who aren’t playing at the moment.

“And then actually it’s just a case of ‘right, who’s playing the best’. Who do we think has the pedigree, who’s performed at the high level before coupled with who’s in the form, who fits into the way we want to play with and without the ball?

“So, yes, of course there’s a lot of talent in those attacking areas, but what’s really exciting is that for years we’ve talked about development in English football and where are the creative players, how do we develop those types of players.

“We’ve had root and branch reviews of everything from, you know, grassroots football to academy football to everything for decades and we’ve now (got them).

“I think huge credit to the clubs but also even junior football. When I go and watch junior football played on the local parks we’re able to see the style that kids play, the skill level.

“You go into the cages in the inner cities and see the talent. There’s raw talent and there’s a different type of player, a different skill level coming through which is hugely exciting.”

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