Gareth Southgate has confessed that Manchester United duo Jadon Sancho and Jesse Lingard have not been playing enough football at club level to justify a spot in his latest England squad.
The Three Lions are set to face Albania and San Marino later this month as they look to seal their place at the 2022 World Cup.
Sancho has been used sporadically by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer since his £72.9m move from Borussia Dortmund during the summer and has been an unused substitute in three of his side's last five Premier League games.
He has also been forced to settle for cameos off the bench in the Champions League of late, seeing a combined 20 minutes across the two games against Atalanta.
As for Lingard, he is yet to start a Premier League game this season, leading to Southgate admitting that a lack of football cost the Man Utd pair a spot in his latest squad.
"With Jesse and with Jadon, they just aren't playing a lot of football compared to the other players in their positions," Southgate confessed (via football.london). "I know people say inconsistent, but I don't think I am.
"If you're playing regularly for your club, you've got a much better chance of us assessing your level compared to the rest of the group. And sometimes there'll be players there'll be a lot of depth in one position, and there might not be as much depth in another position and a player that is in the position with less depth might have a better chance of getting in with less club time.
"With these two lads they’ve got great competition for places in the position as they play. And Jesse has had 10-15 minutes, I don't know what his form or fitness is really to be able to assess him against the rest of the group.
"So both of those boys when I spoke with them totally understood that. They get it. They know that at the moment they've got to get playing for their clubs and playing well. And then England is a bonus on the top but they they're both players that have done well for us. And I'm sure there'll be back with us."
There was also no spot in the squad for United striker Mason Greenwood, who has not featured for England since picking up his solitary cap against Iceland in 2020.
"I discussed the situation last time so we've been through that," Southgate said of Greenwood's absence, referring back to previous comments insisting he does not want to overwork the young striker by calling him up for international duty as well.
The trio's absence means defenders Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw are United's only representatives in the squad.
England will take on Albania on Friday 12 November, before ending their qualifying campaign with a trip to San Marino three days later.