Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher has admitted that he did not expect to make England’s final World Cup squad.
The 22-year-old made his England debut last year as a reward for his excellent form on loan with Crystal Palace but has not played as consistently following his return to Chelsea, where just eight of his 18 appearances have come as a starter.
Nevertheless, Gallagher made Gareth Southgate’s final cut and he could hardly hide both his excitement and his surprise towards the decision.
“To be honest, I didn’t expect it,” Gallagher said of his call-up. “I don’t know about percentages, I’m not great at maths. I didn’t really expect it.
“Obviously I was hoping there was a chance. I kept hoping, and when I got the text, I was so proud and honoured. I told my dad first like always.
“He’d always be the first person I’d tell that amazing news to, he’s my biggest fan and my biggest inspiration.“
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Gallagher went on to discuss his decision to return to Chelsea this summer and the risk that came with leaving a guaranteed starting spot at Selhurst Park for a squad battle at Stamford Bridge.
“A lot of people said I was at a team where I played week in, week out and I would have had more of a chance,” he explained. “[They also said] maybe I haven’t played as much football as I’d like but I am at Chelsea which is my dream club, the team I always wanted to play for.
“I am trying to prove myself there and impress the manager as much as I can. Luckily enough, I was called up for the World Cup, [it] is a great feeling. All focus now is on here and training as hard as we can to get ready for the games.”