England boss Southgate spoke of the mistake made in snubbing Smalling

Smalling has been capped 31 times for his country, but the last came in 2017 when Southgate dropped him from the squad and he was unable to regain his place in the squad. Former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp has claimed that his form in Italy meant that Smalling was unlucky enough to be left out of the squad.

“I think who was unlucky, who has never been talked about defensively speaking of form, I think Chris Smalling was unlucky,” Redknapp told Sky Sports. “He has done a great job at Roma, José Mourinho is a big fan of his, he has improved his defensive aspects beyond all recognition. He’s someone who never got a mention, but I think right now, looking at our defensive team, he’s just unlucky not to be on it.”

Central defenders Harry Maguire, John Stones, Conor Coady, Eric Dier and Ben White were chosen over Serie A defenders Smalling and Fikayo Tomori as the two have enjoyed successful spells in Italy. Stones and White are the two most in-form players, although both have played primarily on the right side of their respective defenses.

Smalling does, however, have a history with Southgate, after criticizing the decision to remove the defender from the team in 2017. “I was shocked,” Smalling said five years ago.

“But you don’t play for one of the biggest clubs in the world for as long as I have and you win every trophy except the Champions League without being able to do everything a top defender needs to do, either playing or defending.

“I really don’t feel like I have to prove anything to Gareth. Like I said, I play for one of Jose’s most successful coaches and he will only pick the best players. I’m having a good run of games these last few months and I feel good.”

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