England manager Gareth Southgate said on Thursday (March 15) his players are "desperate" to go to the World Cup in Russian Federation despite soaring political tensions between London and Moscow over the poisoning of an ex-spy.
"He's getting closer to where we want him".
Southgate omitted centre backs Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling and Michael Keane.
Danny Rose and Dele Alli hobbled out of Tottenham's most recent game, but both are named in the squad, unlike team-mate Harry Kane who is out of action until next month with an ankle issue. "The key for me is that he's playing in the games that matter for Arsenal and he's been playing well".
He's a guy I respect enormously so it was a very hard call because he played a lot of our qualifying matches but, as I said, I was really pleased with how the defenders played in November and the others are players I want to find out more about.
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Southgate added: "We will be talking to all our players about what might get them into disciplinary trouble during the tournament, whether that's how they approach referees, committing fouls in our areas of the pitch, we have to avoid giving free kicks away".
He admitted in January, as talk of a possible recall surfaced for the first time, that it was his intention to push for a place in Southgate's 2018 World Cup plans.
"I think the medical reports we have are that for sure he'll play well before the end of the season", Southgate said.
Arsenal's Danny Welbeck, Manchester United's Marcus Rashford and Leicester City's Jamie Vardy will compete to lead the line against the Dutch on March 23 and Italy four days later.
Southgate said his side could suffer if England fans decide against travelling to the tournament.
Southgate said it was "probably a very hard call" to drop Cahill, who has captained England in the past.