'Nobody gave him a chance': Paul Merson explains why he's delighted for 22-year-old Chelsea player
Paul Merson has shared that he’s delighted for Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher after his England call-up for the World Cup.
The 22-year-old was one of the surprise inclusions in Gareth Southgate’s England squad earlier this week.
Gallagher will travel to Qatar for the World Cup as part of a 26-man squad that will have lofty ambitions to do well in the tournament.
The attacking midfielder has earned four senior caps for England in the past, but dropped down to the Under-21 side during the most recent international break.
However, Southgate has shown real faith in Chelsea’s talented youngster by naming him on the plane for Qatar.
Paul Merson delighted for Conor Gallagher
Merson is thrilled to see Gallagher make the final cut for England and suggests that many will have written him off.
“I’m so pleased for both James Maddison and Conor Gallagher for making England’s World Cup squad. I did not see the latter’s inclusion coming – nobody gave him a chance after a difficult season with Chelsea,” Merson wrote for the Daily Star.
“You had begun to wonder whether he’d shot himself in the foot returning to Stamford Bridge after such a positive loan spell with Crystal Palace but it’s now paid dividends.
“It feels like Gallagher has been included as cover for Kalvin Phillips, who has barely played a football match this season.”
Gallagher was starting every game last season during a very successful loan at Crystal Palace, which is what helped catapult him into the limelight.
He’s had to adjust to not being a nailed-on starter this campaign for boyhood club Chelsea, but he’s adapting to his debut season as a first-team player at Stamford Bridge.
It’s encouraging that the box-to-box midfielder has made 17 appearances across all competitions this season, so Southgate clearly thinks he’s done enough to perform in an England shirt.
His energy and enthusiasm on the pitch is infectious. It’s why he could be a superb option in Qatar.
Hopefully, Chelsea will feel the benefits moving forward from this because Gallagher’s confidence should significantly rise.