Aidy Boothroyd announced his England U21's squad last Thursday and some will look at it and think several more deserving players should be in it.
Though the latest Young Lions' squad consists of very talented players, 15 out of the 24 members are currently playing for Premier League clubs, whilst seven out of the 24 are playing in the Championship - five of which are on loan from Premier League clubs. Two other members are currently on loan abroad from Premier Clubs (Jake Clarke-Salter and Reiss Nelson).
Looking at this, in total 22 out of 24 players are contracted to Premier League clubs - a crazy statistic considering the talent in England's second-tier (Championship) and other leagues.
With that being said, I look at two Championship players who arguably should've been included in the England U21's squad...
Che Adams | 22 | Striker | Birmingham City |
Che Adams has been absolutely phenomenal in front of goal for Birmingham City this season. The 22-year-old has scored an impressive 21 goals in 38 games for Blues - his last two coming on February 23.
Despite the almost month-long goal drought, there's no denying how clinical he can be.
So, surely questions should be raised as to why he is not included in Boothroyd's latest squad?
Of the 24 players called-up, there are three natural strikers - Tammy Abraham (Aston Villa, on loan from Chelsea), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), and Dominic Solanke (Bournemouth).
All three of these names are associated with Premier League clubs, although Abraham is on loan in the Championship.
Of these three, statistically only two really deserve to be in the squad. The name that doesn't is - Solanke. The 21-year-old has only made five appearances for Bournemouth so far, failing to score in any. Before moving down south, he featured 21 times in the Premier League for Liverpool, only managing to score once. This is not a prolific record for a 'promising' talent.
Comparing Adams' stats to Solanke's, there no denying who should be in the squad and who shouldn't. The annoying thing is, that - and I mean this in the most respectful way possible, Birmingham are not seen as a big club to the Football Association (FA) and thus their players, regardless of their performance this season, will not be included in the Young Lions' or England's squad.
This to me is a massive shame and this 'agenda' that the FA have against smaller clubs or those in lower leagues than the Premier League is ridiculous.
Jarrod Bowen | 22 | Winger | Hull City |
Jarrod Bowen is yet another 22-year-old to have an exceptional season in England's second-tier, thus far. The winger has scored 21 goals in 38 games - the same amount of goals as strikers, Che Adams and Tammy Abraham.
Hull teammate, Frazier Campbell had this to say about Bowen's exclusion from the Young Lions squad:
So how does he compare to other wingers in the squad?
The squad consists of five wingers - a number only lowered due to Callum Hudson-Odoi being called up to the senior squad. The combined total of goals these five wingers have scored in the Premier League, Championship (Harvey Barnes), and Bundesliga, equals the same as what Bowen has scored alone.
Furthermore, Bowen (3) has more assists than three of the five wingers - Ademola Lookman (2), Demarai Gray (1), and Reiss Nelson (1), showing that he is not just selfish winger who cuts inside and goes for glory.
As you can see, these stats and Bowen's performances so far this season thoroughly deserve him a place in the Young Lions squad. However, much like the situation surrounding Adams, The FA must not see Hull as a big enough club and as a result will not call up Bowen.
When will this 'small club agenda' end? Hopefully it's sooner rather than later, the FA are missing out on some exceptional talent in England's second-tier, some of which, if given the limelight to show how good they are, could earn themselves a move to a 'bigger club'.
Should these players have been included? Let us know in the comments below!