Chris Sutton has accused Gareth Southgate of ‘arrogance’ as he took the England manager to task over his decision not to include Scott Sinclair in his most recent squad.
The BT Sport pundit launched an astonishing attack on Southgate in his column in the Daily Record, questioning some of his call-ups and accusing him of turning his nose up at the Scottish game.
Sinclair, who appeared for England at every level from Under-17 through to Under-21, has been in fine form for Celtic but at the weekend, Southgate confirmed he wouldn’t be calling up the former Manchester City and Swansea City player.
The England boss said: “I had a conversation with Brendan Rodgers about [Scott Sinclair] at the end of last season.
But Sutton insists that Southgate’s snub is a result of a ‘surefire sign of arrogance towards the Scottish game’, pointing out that ‘Jonny Hayes gets picked for Ireland and he rarely gets a game at Celtic’.
He said: “If I was Sinclair, I’d be most unhappy [with Southgate’s comments]. It’s a public slap in the face and it was unnecessary.”
The ex-Celtic striker continues: “If the [Scottish Premiership] is so poor, it seems unusual Michael O’Neill can fill half of a Northern Ireland squad with players from it and manage to reach major finals.”
Sutton continues: “Sinclair was voted Celtic’s best player and Scotland’s best player [last year].
“There are places up for grabs [in the England set-up] and I find it astounding that Sinclair hasn’t even been called into a squad over the past 12 months to be looked at during training.”
Sutton admits that Sinclair wouldn’t unseat the likes of Marcus Rashford or Raheem Sterling, who are England’s first choice starters in the wide areas, but highlighted players who he felt were lucky to be in the squad.
“Jesse Lingard has been selected. He hasn’t even started a game for Manchester United in the Premier League this season. Jake Livermore was rested by West Brom because he was out of form and low on confidence, yet he’s back in the fold while Sinclair is stuck at Lennoxtown.”
Sutton’s parting shot was to say that Sinclair ‘isn’t Messi [or] as good as a Sterling or a Rashford’, adding: “But he’s not worthy of dismissal either and the fact he has been is a surefire sign of arrogance towards the Scottish game.”
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