Southampton‘s Ryan Bertrand is adamant Gareth Southgate’s decision to leave him out of England’s World Cup squad was an ‘oversight’ as he vows to be ‘even better next season’.
The Saints left back had become a mainstay in the Three Lions’ squad in recent years after featuring heavily in Southgate’s qualifying squad for the summer’s tournament – only for Ashley Young and Danny Rose to be picked ahead of him in the final 23-man squad.
Bertrand made 40 appearances for Southampton in a testing season which saw the south coast side fighting for their Premier League safety, whereas Rose featured just 17 times for Tottenham throughout the season – with Delph and Young’s versatility preferred over another natural left sided defender.
The 28-year-old’s omission, however, came as a complete shock when he picked up the call from the England boss on the second evening of a short end of season family holiday in Abu Dhabi.
He told the Daily Mail: “It was a short getaway to be back in time for England.
“Then the phone rang…it was more shock, silence and reflection. The chat wasn’t too long. He broke the news, there were some awkward silences and then it was over.
“I didn’t try to convince him he is wrong. That was pointless, it was done, the decision was made.It was nice that he had the respect to call me.
“I never presume but I was pretty confident I would be on the plane. I had been heavily involved, so it was a surprise. There were no hints during previous meet-ups that I had to change, or that I would be left out.
“But on individual comparisons, I deserve to be on the plane. I assessed my game time and contributions against my rivals and I was very competitive, if not leading in the statistics.
“I did not really understand the logic. With the numbers, it did not really add up.”
Bertrand’s numbers did show that he played more games, crossed more balls, made more headed clearances and tackles than any of his direct England counterparts, and he was not accepting of the fact that his lack of versatility saw him miss out.
He added: “But I played wing-back in a five at the end of the season, which is how England play. I also played in a central three for Southampton with Virgil van Dijk and Jose Fonte, and we went on Southampton’s record clean sheet run, six on the bounce.
“I played left-midfield in a Champions League final for Chelsea. It is perhaps an oversight in the manager’s analysis and I find that hard to take.
“It is deflating. I can dwell on these things, it affects my mood and I’m a deep thinker. But now I pick myself up and show what I’m about. It is in my mentality to show everyone how wrong the manager was by being even better next season.”