Pundit defends Gareth Southgate’s England decision impacting Chelsea

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Chelsea star Conor Gallagher will be on the plane to Qatar, beating the likes of James Ward-Prowse to selection.

Gallagher was one of the toss-up decisions facing Gareth Southgate, who announced his final squad for Qatar on Thursday, ultimately deciding to include the Chelsea star. The midfielder impressed last season for Crystal Palace during a loan spell, and he has shown flashes for the Blues this year, albeit he has had to settle for one goal and one assist in 11 games as part of a Chelsea team that has struggled so far.

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The inclusion of Gallagher was an interesting one from Southgate, with James Ward-Prowse the surprise absentee from the midfield. The Southampton star has been a regular call-up, but he finds himself on standby ahead of the last round of club games before the World Cup this weekend.

But former Tottenham star turned pundit Jenas sees reason in the selection of Gallagher, telling the BBC: “I had a feeling that Conor might sneak in there you know. I had a feeling, he’s a goal threat, he reminds me a lot of Lampard, and also he [Gareth Southgate] likes to promote from within.

“In that midfield area I can imagine he was deliberating between James Ward-Prowse, someone who is a bit more reliable, great set-piece taker but then, Gallagher just offers you something else. I think he’s a game changer. I think he’s that type of player you bring on, he’ll have an impact on the game. He presses, he gets himself in the box and creates chances, and also he’s won a World Cup, hasn’t he.”

Gallagher is not likely to be a starter in Qatar, but he will be hoping to get the nod off the bench as he looks to add to the four senior caps he currently has to his name.

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