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Lack of game time could hamper pair's England hopes: Southgate

 

By Rory Dollard

Gareth Southgate admits he is uncertain when Danny Drinkwater or Jack Wilshere might be seen in an England shirt again.

The Three Lions boss contacted Drinkwater with a view to including him in the squad to face Germany tonight and Brazil four days later - but the Chelsea midfielder declined the call-up due to fitness concerns.

He has made one start and three substitute appearances since joining from Leicester for £35million, but last played 90 minutes in April and took a knock to the calf while playing against Manchester United last weekend. Wilshere, meanwhile, has been overlooked for a heavily depleted squad due to a lack of game time at Arsenal.

Southgate sees Wilshere as a deep-lying playmaker but Gunners boss Arsene Wenger and Bournemouth's Eddie Howe, who had the 25-year-old on loan last season, have used him in a more advanced role.

With just six friendlies before next summer's World Cup, time is running short for both men.

On Drinkwater, who won the last of three caps in May 2016, Southgate said: "I wanted to find out where he felt he was. He felt he wasn't ready yet to play this level. If Danny didn't feel he wasn't ready for that I can understand it given the amount of minutes he's had."

Asked whether the chance would come again in the next international break, the manager added: "I've no idea. I would have thought so, but we might have other players back by then."

Wilshere may also be pondering where he stands by then. Southgate holds him in high esteem but his slide down the Arsenal pecking order and the difference of opinion over his deployment means he may need a new club, a new position or both in January.

"I don't think Jack is a number 10," he stated.

"I think he is a deeper player but he is not playing deeper.

"You'd have to ask Arsene why he wasn't at Arsenal last year and you'd have to ask Eddie why he played him as a 10 last year.

"But I want to be clear, I really like Jack Wilshere as a player."

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