Kolkata, May 18: England manager Gareth Southgate has finally broken his silence on omitting midfielder Jack Wilshere from the squad for the FIFA 2018 World Cup to be held in Russia.
The 26-year-old has always been one of the best midfielders in a Three Lions shirt, but the former Middlesborough manager decided to keep him out of the squad from his 23 man squad for the tournament beginning on June 14.
Wilshere last played for England in the side’s defeat to Iceland at Euro 2016. But following an injury-plagued time at Arsenal and a dull loan spell at Bournemouth, he did not receive any international call-up for more than one year.
And Southgate preferred players like Fabian Delph and Ruben Loftus-Cheek ahead of Wilshere.
While talking about his team selection for Russia 2018, Southgate revealed that Wilshere's name was discussed, but his inconsistent performances towards the end of Arsenal’s campaign was the main reason why he was not selected for the quadrennial extravaganza.
"Jack Wilshere has of course been in our thoughts. We selected him in March but he hasn’t played a game for us," Southgate said.
"We've been pleased with the players who played in November and March.
"The only midfielder we added is Fabian Delph who had a fantastic season with the champions.
"Jack had a good spell but was maybe not as effective towards the end of the season. We’re very open minded in terms of what we want."
England's travelling squad to Russia will also see former England number one Joe Hart sit at home. The former Manchester City keeper has always been one of the first names in the team sheet during any of England's events but a dull spell at West Ham made Southgate snub the player.
However, the England manager assured Hart that the door will remain open for him.
He said: "Absolutely Joe could play again. I pick players on form.
"'There’s no reason it has to be the end. He has an important career decision this summer and we hope he can be back at his best."
In Russia, England are drawn along with Belgium, Tunisia and Panama in Group G. They open their campaign on June 18 against Tunisia.