Southgate reveals England’s World Cup squad

By Mirror: Thursday, May 17th 2018 at 09:19 GMT +3 | World Cup 2018
Southgate's squad is heavy in defence [Photo: Courtesy]

Gareth Southgate has revealed his final England squad for this summer's World Cup in Russia.

The Three Lions boss has narrowed down his selection to just 23 players.

Southgate made a number of tough calls this week and notified experienced duo Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere, who have 109 caps between them that they had missed out.

Alexander-Arnold has been one of the surprises of the season [Photo: Courtesy]

“I believe this is a squad which we can be excited about, “Southgate said. “It is a young group, but with some really 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 been the last few weeks. We feel the team are improving and we want to continue that momentum.

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Ruben Loftus-Cheek was one of Gareth Southgate's most used U21s players [Photo: Courtesy]

“The first call up for Trent Alexander-Arnold is well deserved. When we pick young players, it’s not just because they are young, it’s because their performances deserve it.

“We’ve also had a couple of injuries with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez, which is a huge blow for them personally and disappointing for us.”

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Southgate guided the Three Lions to top spot in UEFA qualification with an unbeaten record of eight wins and two draws.

There will be a five-man standby group who will be expected to train with the 23-man squad at St George's Park in the event of injuries.

Livermore has to settle for a place on the standby list [Photo: Courtesy]

England have two friendlies left before the tournament starts against Nigeria and Costa Rica.

The first group stage match is against Tunisia in Volgograd on June 18, with Panama and Belgium to follow.

The first session as a group will be on Monday, May 21, though any Manchester United and Chelsea players named in the squad will be allowed extra time to rest after the FA Cup final.

It's heartache for Lallana [Photo: Courtesy]

Southgate also explained why Joe Hart and Ryan Bertrand missed out.

“Ryan and Joe have played a lot over the last two years so they’re not decisions we took lightly. I could’ve had easier conversations by keeping them involved," he added.

Ryan Bertrand was edged out [Photo: Courtesy]

“With Joe, we’ve got three other goalkeepers who have had very good seasons and the decision I was faced with was do I keep Joe in and have experience around the group? Or give the three guys who have basically had a better season a chance? We felt the players all needed to be in on merit after their performances this season.

Joe Hart suffered disappointment [Photo: Courtesy]

“Ryan is also very unfortunate in that it’s probably one of the strongest positions we have. Ryan has had a decent season but I just felt the others were ahead of him.

“Both calls were really tough. They’re both good guys and have contributed a lot throughout qualification, so it wasn’t an enjoyable part of the job and I feel it’s important to acknowledge their contribution in getting us to Russia.”

FULL SQUAD

GOALKEEPERS

Jordan Pickford (Club: Everton, Age: 24, Caps: 2, Goals: 0)

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Ronald Koeman believed he was buying England's new number one when he spent £30million on Pickford last summer and after confident clean sheets against Germany and Holland he is favourite to start the tournament. His ability to play the ball long or short at will could be just as important as his glovework.

Jack Butland (Stoke, 25, 7, 0)

Has a strong relationship with Southgate having captained his under-21 side and brings self-belief and physical stature to the table. Will battle Pickford all the way but relegation with Stoke harmed his cause.

Nick Pope (Burnley, 26, 0, 0)

Would barely have been on the radar of most Premier League fans at the start of the season but has been in irresistible form for Burnley since an untimely injury to Tom Heaton in September. Yet to wear the Three Lions at any level.

DEFENDERS

Phil Jones (Manchester United, 26, 24, 0)

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Hailed by Southgate last year as England's best defender but familiar fitness problems have restricted his appearances for club and country this term. Brave in the tackle but there will be concerns over his ability to last the course in a tournament setting.

John Stones (Manchester City, 23, 24, 0)

Absolutely central to England's chosen tactical set-up, his job will be to link defence with midfield and distribute the ball wisely at the back. That opens him up to errors in possession and just five Premier League starts since the turn of the year took the sheen off his title-winning season.

Gary Cahill (Chelsea, 32, 58, 4)

England's most experienced outfield player, occasional captain and a serial trophy winner at Chelsea. He has nevertheless been made to sweat over his place after being cut from the last squad.

Kyle Walker (Manchester City, 27, 34, 0)

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Arguably the most reliable, trusted figure in Southgate's tenure to date. The £50million man is just as important to Pep Guardiola and, having established his credentials as a world-class right-back, has emerged as a candidate to stiffen the back three.

Kieran Trippier (Tottenham, 27, 5, 0)

Having stepped up to replace Walker at Spurs, the former Burnley full-back has underlined his deputy credentials in the Three Lions set-up despite an untimely injury scare. Offers wicked crosses from the right and stands to gain most if Walker is used centrally.

Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool, 19, 0, 0)

The teenager's senior international experience amounts to no more than a training session at St George's Park to make up the numbers but having excelled in Liverpool's charge to the Champions League final, he should not be daunted. A bold, attacking option at wing-back.

Ashley Young (Manchester United, 32, 33, 7)

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Reappeared at Wembley for the November friendly against Brazil, over four years after last wearing the shirt. Has followed Antonio Valencia's route from raiding winger to successfully-converted full-back with the Red Devils and is in peak physical condition.

Danny Rose (Tottenham, 27, 16, 0)

His high performance ceiling has to be balanced against his middling recent output on the pitch. Has plenty of suitors but fitness problems and the form of Ben Davies mean he has not been as integral as he once was at Spurs.

Harry Maguire (Leicester, 25, 4, 0)

Despite relatively junior status, the hulking Foxes defender has made a strong impression at recent St George's Park get-togethers. Like Stones, he is confident stepping up from the back and brings his stature to bear at set-pieces in both penalty boxes.

MIDFIELDERS

Eric Dier (Tottenham, 24, 25, 3)

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The kind of player whose contributions are always more valued in the dugout than they are in the stands. Dier was one of the better players at the mess that was Euro 2016 and is one of the established leaders in a squad lacking in vocal characters.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea, 22, 2, 0)

Laid down a marker with a man-of-the-match showing on his international debut against Germany in November. Has had injury problems on loan at Crystal Palace but ended the campaign strongly and at his best offers a compelling blend of athleticism and elegance.

Jordan Henderson (Liverpool, 27, 38, 0)

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Could be a Champions League-winning captain by the time he likely arrives in Russia. Has proved his credentials with a key role in Jurgen Klopp's free-flowing side and will be eyeing the chance to turn in some defining performances at this level, not to mention a maiden goal.

Fabian Delph (Manchester City, 28, 9, 0)

Won his last cap in 2015 but would surely have featured more were it not for injury issues. Made 29 appearances for Pep Guardiola's all-conquering Manchester City side, at left-back and midfield, and can only have improved from being around that environment.

Dele Alli (Tottenham, 22, 23, 2)

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Has not always been at his scintillating best this season but has still contributed 14 goals for Spurs. His instinctive relationship with Harry Kane is a precious resource in the final third and his footwork in tight spaces around the box is unmatched in the squad.

Jesse Lingard (Manchester United, 25, 10, 1)

Increasingly comfortable on the big stage and capable of the kind of direct running which unnerves international defences. Has done well enough to nudge ahead of Anthony Martial at Old Trafford and was a trusted performer for Southgate at under-21 level.

FORWARDS

Raheem Sterling (Manchester City, 23, 37, 2)

Few players are likely to have as much to say on England's prospects in Russia as the fleet-footed forward. If he can recreate the wonderful form which brought him 23 goals for the Premier League champions this season, the Three Lions have a diamond in their midst. But Sterling's Euro 2016 experiences still weigh heavy and he must shrug them off to fulfil his promise.

Harry Kane (Tottenham, 24, 23, 12)

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As long as he is fit and in form, opponents will be wary of England. Nobody has scored more Premier League goals over the past three seasons than Kane and he positively relishes the prospect of shouldering the scoring burden for club and country. Unlikely to be on corner duty this time around.

Jamie Vardy (Leicester, 31, 21, 7)

Has the pace to spring any back line that gives him room to run into and is insatiably hungry to keep his rags-to-riches story going. Has proved his effectiveness against elite opposition with goals against Spain, Germany, Italy and Holland but could be seen as a game-breaker from the bench.

Marcus Rashford (Manchester United, 20, 17, 2)

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A bolter in France two years ago but now an established member of the side. A Wembley performance of class and character against Slovakia two years ago seemed to place him for a starring role but his form has cooled for the Red Devils in the second half of the season.

Danny Welbeck (Arsenal, 27, 37, 15)

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Proud owner of a surprisingly impressive scoring record in the international arena but yet to nail down a role in the Southgate regime. Valued most for his tactical discipline and reliability but the Gunners forward may have to settle for a supporting slot.

STANDBY LIST

Tom Heaton (Burnley, 32, 3, 0)

James Tarkowski (Burnley, 25, 1, 0)

Lewis Cook (Bournemouth, 21, 1, 0)

Jake Livemore (West Brom, 28, 7, 0)

Adam Lallana (Liverpool, 30, 34, 3)

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