LONDON • Ryan Bertrand believes England's fringe players will be motivated by Gareth Southgate's suggestion that not every member of the Three Lions squad deserves his place.
Injuries forced Southgate to name a 26-man squad last month without the likes of Adam Lallana, Danny Rose and Jamie Vardy for the World Cup qualifiers against Slovenia and Lithuania. And the England manager said there are one or two players "who haven't necessarily warranted (a call-up based) on their performances".
Bertrand believes those comments will only spur the players on.
"It will definitely (motivate the players in the squad)," the 28-year-old Southampton defender was quoted by Sky Sports as saying.
"I think here we have a fantastic competition for places and it can only mean good for the squad. So every chance people will get they'll be sure to take it."
Since the start of last year, 10 players have made their England debuts.
Defenders Michael Keane and Kieran Trippier as well as midfielders Nathan Redmond and James Ward-Prowse got their first Three Lions appearance this year, while left-backs Rose and Aaron Cresswell; midfielders Jesse Lingard and Danny Drinkwater; goalkeeper Tom Heaton and forward Marcus Rashford became England internationals last year.
Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks, 21, was called up for the first time on Monday, after Southgate lost two more players to injury in Fabian Delph and Phil Jones.
Winks, who has made only a single Premier League start so far this season, took part in his first training session with the senior squad yesterday at St George's Park, stepping up from Aidy Boothroyd's Under-21 squad after just one cap.
He has made seven club appearances this season and began two of Tottenham's last three games in all competitions - the recent victories over Apoel Nicosia and Huddersfield - having recovered from ankle ligament damage suffered in April.
He effectively replaces Manchester City's Delph.
England face Slovenia at Wembley tomorrow night before visiting Lithuania three days later in their final two qualifying games. They need only two points to secure a place in Russia.