England manager Gareth Southgate decided earlier this week that he could do without the services of Jack Wilshere and Joe Hart for this summer’s World Cup campaign and prior to his official announcement, rumours circulated as to what sort of line-up he would announce this afternoon. Wilshere has made more appearances for the Gunners this season than any other of his last six campaigns and his omission is something of a surprise, especially given his ability to ‘open up’ games and produce something special on a regular basis.
Joe Hart’s omission is less of a surprise given that he has appeared in just one of the past five outings under Southgate. Hart has been England’s first-choice keeper in the Three Lions’ last three major international competitions – namely the 2012 and 2016 European Championships and the 2014 World Cup. Nevertheless he hasn’t enjoyed the best of seasons with 39 goals conceded in 19 Premier League matches whilst on loan to West Ham from Manchester City and it is no huge shock to see him dropped for this summer’s World Cup.
Jack Butland will possibly appear between the sticks for the Three Lions, the Stoke City keeper relegated with the Potters at the end of the season but looking forward to a summer of World Cup football following the confirmation that he will be in the squad alongside fellow keepers Jordan Pickford and Nick Pope. Butland is certainly a massive and commanding presence in the goalmouth and he has impressed with some excellent saves this season, this clearly enough to persuade Southgate to include him in the England line-up.
It has been confirmed that Liverpool teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold and Tottenham Hotspur’s Danny Rose will appear in the squad for Russia, the latter making just ten Premier League appearances for Spurs this season. Alexander-Arnold is uncapped at senior level although his excellent performances on Merseyside were clearly enough to convince Southgate that he should be on the plane to Russia this year.
Manchester United’s Ashley Young has also been included in the squad for Russia, the left-back currently focusing on this weekend’s clash with Chelsea in the FA Cup final. Young missed out on a place in the 2010 World Cup under Fabio Capello, however his international ambitions were boosted when he was given an international recall by Southgate and he now finds himself booked on the plane to Russia.
“This is a squad which we can be excited about”, Southgate said. ” It is a young group but with some very important senior players so I feel the balance of the squad is good, both in terms of its experience, its character and also the positional balance. We have a lot of energy and athleticism in the team but players that are equally comfortable in possession of the ball and I think people can see the style of play we’ve been looking to develop. The selection process has been over months really, it’s not just in the last few weeks. We feel the team are improving, we want to continue that momentum” On the subject of his choice of Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold in the squad, the England boss said,”It’s not just because they are young, it’s because their performances deserve it”.
Full England Squad for the 2018 World Cup
Jordan Pickford – Everton
Jack Butland – Stoke
Nick Pope – Burnley
Kyle Walker – Man City
Kieran Trippier – Spurs
John Stones – Man City
Phil Jones – Man United
Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool
Gary Cahill – Chelsea
Danny Rose – Spurs
Ashley Young – Man United
Harry Maguire – Leicester
Eric Dier – Spurs
Dele Alli – Spurs
Ruben Loftus-Cheek – Chelsea
Jesse Lingard – Man United
Jordan Henderson – Liverpool
Raheem Sterling – Man City
Fabian Delph – Man City
Jamie Vardy – Leicester
Danny Welbeck – Arsenal
Harry Kane – Spurs
Marcus Rashford – Man United
Tom Heaton – Burnley (goalkeeper)
James Tarkowski – Burnley (defender)
Lewis Cook – Bournemouth (midfielder)
Jake Livermore – West Brom (midfielder)
Adam Lallana – Liverpool (midfielder)
Predicted England Starting XI