GARETH SOUTHGATE has claimed Jonjo Shelvey’s style of play was the key reason he was not included in England’s World Cup squad, rather than any worries over his disciplinary record.

Southgate named the 23-man squad that will travel to Russia on Wednesday, and Shelvey was one of the more controversial omissions.

The Newcastle United midfielder has been in sparking form in the second half of the season, with his long-range passing ability enabling him to stand apart from England’s alternative midfield options.

However, while the likes of Fabian Delph and Danny Welbeck were included in the squad, with Jake Livermore and Lewis Cook named on the standby list, Shelvey was completely overlooked.

It had been suggested that Southgate was concerned at the 26-year-old’s lack of discipline given that he was sent off against both Tottenham and Everton this season, but the England boss insists that is not the case.

Instead, he has suggested that Shelvey’s playing style is incompatible with the way in which he wants his side to perform this summer.

Southgate said: “We’ve watched a lot of games this year, myself and Steve Holland (his assistant). We know all of the English players in the league, their strengths and weaknesses, and the players we've picked are ahead of the ones we haven't.

“In terms of temperament, we assess someone on the way they fit into the way we want to play. Some of our finest players – (Steven) Gerrard, and others who were not ours like (Patrick) Vieira and (Roy) Keane - have more red cards than most, so we can't just pick players who don't get booked.

“It's not the primary factor for us. It's how their style of play fits, do they have the attributes to play in our system?”