Versatility is key for Southgate as he leaves out Lallana and Wilshere

Gareth Southgate has raised a few eyebrows following his decision to leave out some key names in his World Cup squad

Gareth Southgate has now announced the England squad for this summer’s World Cup in Russia and as expected he has chosen to leave out a few big names. It was already known that he had omitted both Jack Wilshere and Joe Hart from his plans, however more surprising are the omissions of Liverpool defender Adam Lallana and Southampton defender Ryan Bertrand, the former being included in the list of reserves.

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s form this season for Liverpool caught the attention of the England boss and he is one of three right-backs which will be winging their way to Russia this summer alongside Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker.

Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph and Eric Dier will form the holding midfield options while further forward Southgate will choose from Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli. Ashley Young and Danny Rose will battle it out for a left wing position while the forward options consist of Jamie Vardy, Danny Welbeck, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Harry Kane.

Between the sticks, the England boss will choose from Nick Pope, Jack Butland and Jordan Pickford while on standby are Adam Lallana, Jake Livermore, Lewis Cook, James Tarkowski and Tom Heaton.

Lallana’s and Wilshere’s exclusion raises plenty of eyebrows, especially so given that they are two of the more experienced technical players. Liverpool’s Lallana struggled through injury this season but he has nevertheless made more appearances for his club than Danny Rose managed for Tottenham Hotspur while Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere proved his fitness throughout the season.

At first glance, it is immediately apparent that Southgate has chosen versatility over quality. Ashley Young is equally comfortable whether on the wing, wing-back or full-back while Fabian Delph can cover both at left-back or in midfield. Dier can be chosen for either centre-back or wing-back while Welbeck, Rashford and Lingard can play in multiple positions up front.

It remains to be seen whether Southgate’s approach will pay dividends or whether it will prove a flop, however the England boss believes that he has chosen a squad which will excite.

“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”.

 

Predicted England World Cup Starting XI

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