Gareth Southgate has named his 23 man squad that will be on the plane to Russia this summer. England begin their World Cup campaign in Volgograd against Tunisia on the 18th June before facing Panama on the 24th June and Belgium on the 26th June in group G.
Southgate, the ex England under-21 manager, has continued to trust the young lions naming a squad with an average age of just over 26 years old, the third youngest English squad selected for a World Cup.
Uncapped Liverpool youngster Trent Alexander-Arnold will join up with the England senior team this summer for the first time following Liverpool’s Champions League Final against Real Madrid on the 26th May. There is also a place for twice-capped Ruben Loftus-Cheek who had an impressive season on loan at Crystal Palace under ex England boss Roy Hodgson, and Manchester City’s title winning Fabian Delph who receives his first call up since 2015.
Southgate has answered his goalkeeping headache by selecting relegated Stoke’s Jack Butland and Everton’s Jordan Pickford, both of which Southgate worked with for the under 21’s. Burnley’s Nick Pope completes the goalkeeping selection who’s incredible rise from Non-League to Premier League has seen him rewarded with a World Cup call up. Pope, 26, could have only dreamt of such a scenario when he was released by Ipswich as a 16 year old and traded his gloves for an electric milk float working part-time as a milkman whilst studying at College.
Defender Gary Cahill has been recalled after losing his place in Southgate’s last squad. The Chelsea captain, who recently lifted the FA Cup following Chelsea’s victory over Manchester United, will be England’s most experienced player with 58 caps. Manchester United defender Phil Jones and Arsenal attacker Danny Welbeck are also recalled, while Harry Maguire, Kieran Trippier and Jesse Lingard make their first major tournament squads.
Southgate’s squad did, however, raise a few eyebrows with the notable omissions of past regulars in England squads. Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere (arguably England’s most comfortable player in possession) and Liverpool’s Adam Lallana (England’s best player at Euro 2016 and most naturally two-footed player) have both been omitted from the 23 man squad following recent injuries and fitness worries that may have influenced Southgate’s decision. The experienced Joe Hart also misses out on the squad having been involved in the last 4 major tournaments. Hart, who has 75 caps, has struggled to find consistent form since Pep Guardiola’s arrival at Manchester City in 2016.
Newcastle duo of club captain Jamal Lascelles and inform Jonjo Shelvey also miss out on a ticket to Russia to the rage of the majority (black & white side) of Tyneside. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez miss out due to injury.
Spurs forward, Harry Kane, England’s prize asset this summer and one of the most inform strikers over the last 4 seasons with 105 Premier League Goals in 139 appearances, has been given the responsibility (without appeal) of wearing the armband in Russia. The 24 year old will be the youngest captain since Bobby Moore (25) in 1966 to captain England at a World Cup, and we all know what happened that year! Let’s just hope he doesn’t put himself on corners.
Southgate will be hoping to better recent misery at major tournaments. England were eliminated in the group stages at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and in the last 16 at Euro 2012 in France. In qualifying, however, England topped the group comfortably winning 8 games and drawing 2.
The squad will meet up at St George’s Park on the 21st May to prepare for warm up games against Nigeria at Wembley on the 2nd June and Costa Rica at Elland Road on the 7th June, before heading to Russia.