ENGLAND boss Gareth Southgate admitted he did not want to select Saints goalkeeper Angus Gunn for his latest squad just to stop him from deciding to play for Scotland.

Gunn has played for England at every level from U16 to U21 and had been tipped to replace Alex McCarthy, who he has recently usurped as Saints number one.

It was thought that Gunn’s chances had increased after reports that he is considering pledging his international future to Scotland.

Scotland manager, Alex McLeish is understood to be close to the Gunn family and hopeful of convincing the Saints custodian to follow in the footsteps of his father Bryan, who played for Scotland six times.

Gunn has played Saints’ last four Premier League games, having been restricted to one in his first six months at St Mary’s after signing from Manchester City last summer for £13.5m.

But Southgate was reluctant to select him just to prevent him from playing for Scotland, so recalled Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton to replace Alex McCarthy instead.

He said: “I’m not prepared to pick players just to stop other countries from picking them. [Crystal Palace right-back] Aaron-Wan Bissaka for example is doing well but I am not going to pick players, give them one cap and stop them playing for other countries.”

Discussing Heaton’s return, Southgate added: “He’s played well,he’s had a really consistent run of games.

"We know Tom, he’s been a really impressive character to have around our squad in the past.

“This is a good opportunity for him to come back with us. He’s had a frustrating period where he missed out on a World Cup.”

Heaton and Jack Butland will provide competition to Pickford, who has had a number of difficult recent games for Everton.

Asked if Pickford was still guaranteed to be number one, Southgate said: “Jordan has played extremely well for us. You could look at any players across our squad and say at moments they’ve played well and at moments they’ve had difficult afternoons.

“There’s no question that was the case for Jordan at the weekend. I’m never keen to say this player is number one, because you’ve always got to have competition. We’re pleased with what’s Jordan done. Like everybody else, he has to train well and perform well.”