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Branthwaite, Gordon get England chance ahead of Euros

Anthony Gordon (left) is back in the England squad. Photo: AFP

Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite and Newcastle winger Anthony Gordon received their first call-ups to the England squad on Thursday for friendlies against Brazil and Belgium.

Liverpool’s Joe Gomez, Aston Villa defender Ezri Konsa and Brentford striker Ivan Toney also return to Gareth Southgate’s squad with the chance to impress in the build-up to Euro 2024.

Toney is included at the first opportunity after serving an eight-month ban for breaching betting regulations but two regulars during Southgate’s reign, Kalvin Phillips and Raheem Sterling, were left out.

Southgate revealed Arsenal defender Ben White has ruled himself out of contention for England.

White left the England squad midway through the 2022 World Cup for personal reasons and has not returned to the international fold.

“For me that is a great shame,” said Southgate on White, who signed a new four-year contract with Premier League leaders Arsenal on Thursday.

“I want that door wide open. He would be in this squad but he’s not available to us and I have to focus on who can help us.”

White’s absence opens the door for Branthwaite, who has impressed despite Everton’s struggles this season.

The 21-year-old has been linked with a big move to clubs including Real Madrid and Manchester United.

“He’s good with the ball, shows good composure, good mentality. He’s a left-footer and we don’t have many left-footed defenders,” said Southgate.

“He’s in on merit and we’re keen to find out more about him.”

Gordon is rewarded for his 10 goals for Newcastle this season, but faces stiff competition in the forward line to make it to the Euros.

England host Brazil on March 23 before facing Belgium three days later at Wembley in their final games before Southgate names his provisional squad for the tournament in Germany.

Southgate’s men, who were defeated finalists at the European Championship in 2021, are among the favourites to win this year’s tournament in Germany.

England squad

Goalkeepers: Sam Johnstone (Crystal Palace), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)

Defenders: Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Lewis Dunk (Brighton), Ezri Konsa (Aston Villa), Jarrad Branthwaite (Everton), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Kyle Walker, John Stones (both Manchester City)

Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid/ESP), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Ajax/NED), Declan Rice (Arsenal), James Maddison (Tottenham)

Forwards: Jarrod Bowen (West Ham), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Bayern Munich/GER), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa), Ivan Toney (Brentford), Anthony Gordon (Newcastle), Cole Palmer (Chelsea)

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