Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham has been given permission to travel from Germany to join the English squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
The 17-year-old was named on Thursday in the group of 26 Gareth Southgate picked to face San Marino, Albania and Poland later that month.
Coronavirus restrictions in Germany had originally threatened to prevent Bellingham from taking his seat, but on Sunday the FA shared an update on the former Birmingham player’s availability.
“We are pleased to confirm that @BellinghamJude will be able to work with the #ThreeLions tomorrow following the latest COVID risk update from the German authorities,” said England on Twitter.
Southgate said after his squad announced it was “doubtful” that Bellingham could play, with the teenager facing a 14-day period of self-isolation after returning from international service to Germany.
Borussia Dortmund had made it clear that they would not allow any players to go abroad if that meant that they would no longer be able to train and play for their club after their return.
Since Bellingham moved from Birmingham to Dortmund in July 2020 for an entry fee of £ 25million, he has established himself as a regular in the Bundesliga, having played 35 games in all competitions this season.
The turn of events will make him available for England’s home game against San Marino on March 25, an away game against Albania on March 28 and a return to Wembley to host Poland on March 31.
Gareth Southgate’s 26-man English squad
Goalkeeper: Dean Henderson, Sam Johnstone and Nick Pope
Defender: Ben Chilwell, Conor Coady, Eric Dier, Reece James, Harry Maguire, Tyrone Mings, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker
Midfield player: Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden, Jesse Lingard, Mason Mount, Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice, and James Ward-Prowse
Forward: Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, Raheem Sterling and Ollie Watkins
Fresh and familiar faces at the final audition for England’s Euro squad
Sky Sports’ Peter Smith:
After days of speculation about Patrick Bamford and the news of Michail Antonio’s move to Jamaica, it was Ollie Watkins who finally got the available forward spot in the English camp from Gareth Southgate for his World Cup qualification against San Marino, Albania and Poland. And what an opportunity for the 25-year-old, who played in the championship last season, to make a name for himself.
Aston Villa frontman is one of two new faces in the group alongside West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, while Jesse Lingard is a household name returning to the international scene after his career on loan from Manchester United at West Ham and John resurrected the Stones also deserved a recall.
Johnstone, Lingard and Watkins have benefited from injuries, Jordan Pickford, Jack Grealish and Tammy Abraham are eliminated, but they will be called up on time – and have the opportunity to secure a spot on the squad for the European Championship later this summer. After all, this will be the last big audition before this tournament.
With five center-backs selected and a couple of full-backs to fill in, it is clear that Southgate intends to continue with a three-man defense, but further up the field, with Jordan Henderson injured, the midfield makeup is everything else as clear, although the manager’s admiration for 17-year-old Jude Bellingham is evident.
Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford seem like the most likely combination. Jadon Sancho is out and Mason Greenwood, Callum Hudson-Odoi, and Emile Smith Rowe are in the U21 squad for their European Championship games. However, Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka offer exciting options for the forefoot.
This may be the last round of England games before the euro – but there is still a lot to be decided. Key players are injured. Now they have to replace to show what they can do.