Paul Merson ‘shocked’ Gareth Southgate snubbed in-form Conor Gallagher for England
"I don’t think he could have done any more to earn a call-up."
Paul Merson believes that Conor Gallagher has been 'one of the best players in the country' so far this season and 'deserves' a place in the senior England squad.
The 21-year-old has been in impressive form this season, contributing four goals and two assists in 10 Premier League games - helping Crystal Palace to 10th in the table.
Although the Chelsea academy graduate has been in good form - having scored an important goal for the Eagles against Wolves last weekend - he failed to make Gareth Southgate’s squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Albania and San Marino.
Instead, Gallagher remained with the Under-21s and featured for 89 minutes as Lee Carsley's side secured a 3-1 victory against Czech Republic on Thursday.
Prior to England's 5-0 thrashing of Albania on Friday, Southgate acknowledged the youngster's strong start to the campaign, but insisted that he already has plenty of depth already in his squad.
The Three Lions manager's decision to leave Gallagher out has 'shocked' Arsenal legend Paul Merson, who believes the midfielder was 'unlucky' not to make the cut.
"Conor Gallagher should be in the England squad and it’s shocked me that Gareth Southgate has snubbed him," Merson told the Daily Star.
"He’s been one of the best players in the country this season for Crystal Palace and I don’t think he could have done any more to earn a call-up.
"Chelsea loanee Gallagher deserves to be in there and if he hasn’t got a call-up up now I don’t know how he ever will.
"He affects games every single time he plays and he’s completely and utterly on top of his game. I think he’s really unlucky."
Merson also suggested that Southgate could've sent a positive 'message' to young English players if he would've picked the Chelsea loanee.
He said: "Southgate could have picked him and sent a message to every young English player that if you’re playing well you will get a chance.
"But he hasn’t, and that sends the wrong message for me – especially as people like Declan Rice have pulled out."
Gallagher is likely to feature for the Young Lions again when they travel to Georgia on Tuesday night in an Under-21 International Friendly.