The World Cup trip for Conor Gallagher with England is not due to his Stats for Chelsea.

The selection of the 22-year-old, who was a popular choice for James Maddison, was arguably the second biggest surprise from Gareth Southgate‘s statement on Thursday.

In spite of being left out of the previous lineup and moving down to the Under-21s, Gallagher appears to have received the nod over Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse. His problems upon returning from his numerous loan stints under Thomas Tuchel contributed in part to his promotion.

Gallagher‘s form has slightly improved under new Blues manager Graham Potter. Gallagher has only started five of Chelsea’s 20 matches in all competitions, and he only has one goal, one assist, and one red card to his name this season.

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But Southgate and his FA technical staff have seen enough over the years to concur that Gallagher deserves to be put on the flight to Qatar. They are aware that Gallagher stands out from the other midfielders for England because of his special combination of speed, intelligence, and stamina when he runs and presses.

At St George’s Park, Southgate stated : “He’s a good player. I think he’s an easy one to underestimate because you can get players that look really smooth and you can get players that scurry around the pitch and he’s a bit of a scurrier but he scores goals, he makes goals, he makes life difficult for the opponent and in certain games he’s going to be more suitable than others.

“Also, he is fantastic at pressing the ball. There are going to be moments in these games where we are going to need different attributes. There are any number of players in this squad with different attributes to utilise at those moments. We feel he could be that sort of a player.

“I also thought he dealt really responsibly with the decision last time that he would benefit from more football and going with the under-21s, his attitude was impeccable.”