Sunderland star in dark over England snub

FRUSTRATED ... Connor Wickham.
FRUSTRATED ... Connor Wickham.

CONNOR Wickham says he’s in the dark about why he’s being ignored by England – after a double snub.

Wickham has been left out of Gareth Southgate’s Under-21 squad again for their two games against Czech Republic and Germany this week.

But not only did the frontman miss out on the original selection last week, he was again snubbed yesterday when Southgate opted to call up Fulham’s Cauley Woodrow instead of him to replace THREE injured strikers.

Middlesbrough’s on-loan Chelsea striker Patrick Bamford and Bournemouth forward Callum Wilson withdrew from the squad, with West Brom’s Saido Berahino having been ruled out with a foot problem over the weekend.

That left just Burnley’s Danny Ings from the four strikers originally chosen, with still no return for Wickham despite the shortage of players available.

Wickham admits he doesn’t know why he isn’t being selected for his country, with head coach Southgate having not spoken to him about his ommission.

If they pick me, they pick me. If they don’t, I’ll carry on working hard here.

Connor Wickham

“I’ve never spoken to anyone from the England set-up for a while,” he admitted.

“I don’t understand what the situation is.”

Wickham’s last appearance for the U21s came in August 2013 when he scored in the 6-0 friendly win over Scotland at Bramall Lane.

Southgate took over following that game and named Wickham in his first squad, but the striker withdrew through injury and has not featured since.

Like many of his team-mates, Wickham has suffered an up and down season for Sunderland, with the ex-Ipswich youngster needing to add more consistency to his game.

However, he is still a regular at Premier League level, unlike many of the players in the Under-21s squad.

Wickham has played 32 times for the Black Cats this season, scoring four goals while often operating out of position on the left-hand side.

He was surprisingly handed a different role on Saturday by new boss Dick Advocaat, playing just behind the front two of Steven Fletcher and Jermain Defoe as Advocaat opted for an attacking line-up at West Ham.

And while Sunderland went down to a 1-0 defeat, Wickham impressed, turning in one of his best performances of the season.

The 21-year-old says he will continue to try his best for Sunderland and hasn’t given up hope of forcing his way back into the England set-up.

He added: “It’s just down to playing my football at Sunderland.

“If they want me to play, I’m never going to say no to my country.

“If they pick me, they pick me. If they don’t, I’ll carry on working hard here.”

The Young Lions take on Czech Republic on Friday in a friendly in Prague, before hosting Germany at Middlesbrough three days later.