No headlines from Luton boss as Barkley's Euro Championships dreams appear over

Midfielder fails to earn place in latest England squad
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Luton boss Rob Edwards wasn’t about to be drawn into offering an opinion on whether he thought midfielder Ross Barkley should have been named in England manager Gareth Southgate’s latest squad last week.

​The Three Lions chief selected his 25 players to be involved in friendlies against Brazil, taking place at Wembley today, and Belgium on Tuesday, naming five out and out midfielders, Jude Bellingham, Conor Gallagher, James Maddison and Declan Rice involved, plus former Liverpool player Jordan Henderson, with Manchester United youngster Kobbie Mainoo added later on as well.

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The 33-year-old Henderson moved to Saudi Pro League club Al-Ettifaq in July, returning to Europe when signing for Eredivisie side Ajax in January, but despite playing just a handful of times, has got the nod ahead of Barkley. With 33 caps under his belt already, and in stellar form for Town this team, the 30-year-old hasn’t played for his country since 2019, but a number of pundits believed his performances in a Hatters shirt this campaign were deserving of recall from Southgate.

Town midfielder Ross Barkley - pic: Liam SmithTown midfielder Ross Barkley - pic: Liam Smith
Town midfielder Ross Barkley - pic: Liam Smith

After the squad was announced, asked if he thought Barkley, who had spoken about his desire to be involved on the international scene once more, should have been involved, Edwards said: “I’m not going to give any headlines on that, Ross is doing brilliantly for us and every player wants to play for his country, but there’s a lot of competition to play for England and a lot of good players that are in that mix.

"Of course I care about Ross and all of my players, but I care about how they’re performing for Luton Town. If they’re doing well and they’re in the mix for their national teams then that’s brilliant, but there’s a lot of competition. It’s not gone his way this time, but he’ll keep working hard for us.”

With the Euro Championships taking place in Germany during the summer, it appears that Barkley’s chances of playing in another major tournament, having been at the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Euros are now increasingly slim. On whether he could use Luton’s last nine games in a bid to try and change Southgate’s mind and earn a late selection though, Edwards added: “I don’t talk about that at all, the international stuff. I just want him to perform well for us, whatever any player’s motivation is, great, use it.

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"He’s a top player, but the England national team have got a lot of top players now performing brilliantly at big, big clubs as well. So he’s in a position now where all he’s got to do is fight for Luton and do really well for us, and whatever will be will be, but we love him here.”