John Egan says he’s “surprised” Sheffield United teammate Jack O’Connell hasn’t been selected by England yet.
As yet, nothing has been forthcoming, though. Part of the problem was thought to be because O’Connell plays in a three-man defence for the Blades.
Although Southgate used this system to great effect at the 2018 World Cup, since then he has largely operated with a back four. It was also why Wolverhampton Wanderers captain Conor Coady hadn’t received a callup.
Yet that all changed during the recent Nations League matches. Coady was named by Southgate and was handed his Three Lions debut in the middle of a three-man central defence against Denmark.
O’Connell would have been ideally suited on the left-side of that, but instead Eric Dier played there. It was something that was criticised by Tony Cascarino. He said the Blades defender would have been a much better choice.
What John Egan thinks about Jack O’Connell
Egan and O’Connell were key parts of a back line which had the fourth best defensive record in the top flight in 2019/20.
Only the top three teams conceded fewer than the Blades as they finished ninth in their first Premier League campaign in 12 years.
It’s why Egan – who has 10 caps for the Republic of Ireland – is surprised O’Connell hasn’t received similar recognition with England.
“I was very surprised that he didn’t get it last season. He was playing out of his skin. He was so strong, both defensively and marauding forward,” the 27-year-old told Sky Sports.
“He’s a modern-day defender, plays on the left side of a three, got a good left foot, got a great engine, can defend first and foremost and he can play. He can do it all.
“If he can keep those standards up, I’m sure that call won’t be too far away.”