Ian Wright Questions Gareth Southgate’s Decision as Jarrad Branthwaite Sidelined in England Friendlies

Everton’s rising star, Jarrad Branthwaite, being left on the sidelines throughout England’s recent friendlies against Brazil and Belgium, former Arsenal striker Ian Wright has raised pertinent questions regarding Gareth Southgate’s selection choices.

Expressing his dismay, Wright emphasized the missed opportunity in not giving Branthwaite any playing time, particularly in light of defensive injuries that sidelined key players like John Stones, Harry Maguire, and Marc Guehi, who have been regulars under Southgate’s helm. Instead, the manager opted for Lewis Dunk and Ezri Konsa as the central defensive pairing.

Wright voiced his concerns during an interview with X on 27th March, stating, “How did Jarrad Branthwaite get zero minutes across the two friendlies? Doesn’t make sense. Perfect opportunity to have a look at him.”

The decision not to utilize Branthwaite became even more perplexing when Stones was forced off the field during the match against Belgium. Rather than turning to Everton’s promising defender, Southgate rearranged his defense by shifting Konsa to center-back and bringing Joe Gomez into play.