Gareth Southgate plays down Scott Sinclair's England chances

Scott Sinclair
Scott Sinclair has scored 10 goals for Celtic this season

England manager Gareth Southgate has cooled talk of Celtic's Scott Sinclair earning an international call-up.

The 28-year-old winger has scored 35 goals in 65 matches since joining Celtic from Aston Villa in August 2016.

"I had a conversation with Brendan (Rodgers, Celtic boss) about him at the end of last season," Southgate said.

"He's a good player but we have good quality in that area of the pitch and at the moment I think he is just below the level of what we have already got."

And he added: "I would be happy to have that conversation (what he needs to do to break through) with him but I don't think it's appropriate to talk about performance aspects in public."

Scott Sinclair
Sinclair scored the third goal as Celtic beat Belgian champions Anderlecht

Sinclair has already hit 10 goals this season, including the third in Celtic's impressive 3-0 Champions League triumph away to Anderlecht last week.

But with the likes of in-form Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford fighting for the England starting slots in forward roles, Southgate has plenty of strong options.

England lead World Cup 2018 qualifying Group F by five points going into their last two games against Slovenia and Lithuania.

Scotland are in the same pool and know they can guarantee second spot, and a probable play-off place, by defeating Slovakia at Hampden on Thursday and Slovenia away on Sunday.

Southgate reckons the Scots can make it to Russia next year, and singled out two of Sinclair's Celtic team-mates for praise.

"I think some good young players have come through, the likes of (Stuart) Armstrong and (Kieran) Tierney," he said.

"They've got themselves on a roll. And yeah, they have two very difficult games but games where it's in their hands. There's no reason they can't qualify."

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