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  1. ITV Report

England boss Southgate reveals his 27-man squad for upcoming friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy

Photo: PA

England boss Gareth Southgate has named his squad for England's upcoming friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy.

Uncapped Nick Pope, James Tarkowski, Alfie Mawson and Lewis Cook have been called up. Meanwhile defenders Chris Smalling, Gary Cahill and Michael Keane have all been left out of the England squad.

Southgate remains fully focused on preparing his team for the World Cup despite the current political tensions between the UK and tournament hosts Russia.

Southgate said: "Clearly it's a really serious matter and it's developing very quickly. But my job as the England football manager is to concentrate on the football and prepare the team.

"As far as all my briefings and information is, we're preparing to go to the World Cup, there's no doubt in our mind that's what we should be doing.

Credit: PA

"And the only thing at this stage that is of highest importance is the safety and security of our players and absolutely of our travelling supporters. They're the things we're focused on really.

"I think it's a matter that's completely out of my control really. We are desperate to go to a World Cup and that's where my remit ends on that matter."

Southgate is disappointed to be without striker Kane but believes England can cope with his absence.

He added: "I think the medical reports we have are that for sure he'll play well before the end of the season.

Kane is out until April after being injured for Spurs last weekend. Credit: PA

"You never want any player to experience injury and of course Tottenham have some very big matches coming up. It's a disappointment for us not to have Harry with us.

"But I think of the 14 matches I've had in charge he's only actually been available for six and within those six he's scored seven goals. So there's an indication of his importance and his standing for us. Having said that, we've had to cope without him and it's important we're able to cope without him because you never know what's going to happen in football.

"And in those other matches, the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Marcus Rashford and Jamie Vardy have all stepped forward and scored important goals - and Jermain Defoe.

"Always part of what I'm working on is the strength of the squad and people who are able to come in because we've been to previous tournaments and lost important players and the whole focus has been on that rather than the collective."

Wilshere's form for Arsenal has led to a recall Credit: PA

Southgate explained his selection process had been complicated, saying: "My preference is always that you have clarity for the players, in terms of you need to be playing regularly, you need to be in good form.

"It's obvious to everybody we have a very small number of English-qualified players playing in the Premier League. On top of that a lot of our better players have missed time with injury or through selection have missed matches.

"So leading into a World Cup I've got to look at who are the players we believe can play at the level, and who are the players who have done well for us in the past.

"There are clearly some inclusions of players that are playing well for their club and who are getting their first call-up. So there is a little bit of a complex minefield to get through."

On Pope, Southgate said his form had been "excellent" and made it worth taking a closer look at him in case England lose a senior goalkeeper.

Southgate said it was "probably a very difficult call" to drop Cahill, who has captained England in the past. The England boss said the Chelsea defender could win back favour before the World Cup, adding: "I think there are a few players not in this squad who are certainly not out of our mind."