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Four Chelsea players make England cut for March qualifiers

Gareth Southgate announced his England squad for the upcoming 2024 European Championship qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine, with four Chelsea players making the cut.

According to the Blues’ website, Reece James and Ben Chilwell are back on the national team after missing out on the Qatar World Cup, while Mason Mount and Conor Gallagher retained their places.

Despite being a first-team regular during the qualifying campaign, James, who has gone from strength to strength at Stamford Bridge in the past two years, had to sit out the tournament due to injury.

The 23-year-old has experienced an injury-hit start to the new calendar year, but he returned to the fold two days ago and should be ready to start Chelsea’s home game against Everton on Saturday.

Chilwell’s underwhelming career in west London saw him fall out of favour with Southgate, who preferred Manchester United ace Luke Shaw over him.

However, the former Leicester City left-back has hit the ground running in 2023, recovering his place in the starting line-up under Graham Potter and rejoining the national squad.

Although Southgate will likely stick with Shaw as his first-choice left-back, Chilwell’s return to the England set-up is a step forward for the defender.

Gallagher’s call-up may sound odd, considering the box-to-box midfielder has recently surrendered his place in Chelsea’s starting XI to marquee winter arrival Enzo Fernandez.

He was part of the England squad that suffered a quarter-final exit to France in Qatar last December but was demoted to playing second-fiddle to Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham.

As for Mount, his berth on the national team has never been in doubt, even though his performances in 2023 have flattered to deceive.

But Southgate’s decision to cut Raheem Sterling has caught Chelsea fans by surprise, especially considering the former Manchester City forward has always had a special place in the England squad.

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