England World Cup Squad Analysis and Reaction
It is officially time to get excited. The most prestigious tournament in all of sport is just around the corner and Gareth Southgate has named his England World Cup squad!
There are mountains of English talent that have a claim to get in the squad, but the England manager can select just 26 men. 26 elite footballers tasked with bringing football home.
|Goalkeepers||Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale, Nick Pope|
|Defenders||Trent Alexander-Arnold, Harry Maguire, John Stones, Conor Coady, Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, Luke Shaw, Ben White, Eric Dier|
|Midfielders||Conor Gallagher, Mason Mount, Jude Bellingham, Jordan Henderson, Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice|
|Forwards||Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford, Callum Wilson, Bukayo Saka, James Maddison, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish|
Assessing each player
Let’s take a look at the squad and attempt to gauge the thinking behind Southgate’s decisions…
Jordan Pickford: The Everton no. 1 has been a stalwart in the England set-up for years and has been Southgate’s trusted man for two major tournaments. He has excellent leadership quality, he’s a commanding presence in the box and he’s an excellent shot stopper. He will face competition from Aaron Ramsdale for the starting place.
Aaron Ramsdale: Ramsdale has emerged as one of the best keepers in the Premier League. He has been superb for Arsenal this season, one of the reasons they will be sitting top of the table this Christmas.
Nick Pope: The third and final keeper in the England World Cup squad is Newcastle shot stopper Nick Pope. Pope has won 10 caps for England so far, it’s unlikely he’ll start as Jordan Pickford seems to be the favoured man.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: Trent has made the England World Cup squad for the second time in his career. This time around, he’s in a much different place.
His form has dropped significantly for Liverpool and his place was under massive question, but with Reece James ruled out and Kyle Walker’s fitness issues he had to be included. He needs a big tournament, for the team and his own confidence.
Kyle Walker: Manchester City right-back, Kyle Walker has once again been included despite undergoing groin surgery just a month ago. It’s been an incredibly quick turnaround by his team to get fit for this competition. He’s an excellent boy to have around and can provide cover at centre back in a back three if needs be.
Kieran Trippier: Kieran Trippier was an obvious choice for Southgate. He has been with the squad for the past two major tournaments and provided one of the best moments in England’s 2018 World Cup run. He scored a peach of a free-kick in the semi finals in a moment described by many England fans as the ‘peak of their lives’. That’s some praise.
His club form has been excellent too, he was a no brainer.
Harry Maguire: Harry Maguire was poor for Manchester United in the 2021/22 season and is yet to find a place under Erik ten Hag. Despite this, he is always part of Southgate’s squads. The England boss trusts him and he is often repaid by brilliant performances. A good tournament would do Maguire a world of good in one of the roughest spells of his career.
Ben White: Arsenal’s £50 million defender has been nothing short of exceptional this season. He’s adapted to playing on the right-hand side of defence and has formed an excellent partnership with William Saliba. He has earned his place and will likely start alongside the next man on this list.
John Stones: John Stones has been around the England squad for years now and when he’s stayed fit, has been arguably England’s best central defender. He has won countless Premier League trophies with City and has formed an excellent partnership with Harry Maguire at England.
Eric Dier: Eric Dier is another one who’s been around for ages. He scored an excellent freekick in a Euro 2016 group game vs Russia. He returns to the England World Cup squad after missing out on a seat on the plane for Euro 2020.
Conor Coady: One of the more controversial names on the team sheet is Conor Coady. The Everton defender has beaten out the likes of Marc Guehi and Fikayo Tomori who have both been excellent. Coady has made 10 caps so far for England and this will be his first major international tournament.
Luke Shaw: The final defender on the list is one of England’s 2020 Euro heroes, Luke Shaw. The United full-back will appear in his first World Cup since 2014! He’s one of few players to be in the squad for 2014 and 2022. Shaw has had an excellent start to this season. Even though United signed Tyrell Malacia, he has maintained his place in the starting XI.
Jude Bellingham: Jude is one of the most exciting players in world football and one that I personally love (and not just because he shares my first name…). He has taken the Bundesliga by storm playing for Borussia Dortmund. Not only does he provide goals, assists and great link up play, he is also a born leader. He will undoubtedly captain England at some point in the future.
Conor Gallagher: Conor Gallagher has been decent for Chelsea this season, he’s not been a world beater like Bellingham, but he’s been decent. He offers great energy in midfield and will be a useful extra-time substitute.
Jordan Henderson: The Liverpool captain once again makes it into the England squad. Even if he was injured, he’d still likely make it in. This is due to his excellent character and leadership in the dressing room. He’s a credit to himself and his country on and off the pitch.
Mason Mount: Mason Mount is included as expected. He’s dropped off in form slightly this season, but he is still a top player and one who is trusted very much by Southgate. He’s excellent in and out of possession with an excellent eye for goal.
Kalvin Phillips: Another one of Southgate’s trusted men makes the cut despite hardly featuring for his club this season. He suffered a shoulder injury in September but had recovered just in time to hop on the plane and join the England World Cup squad.
Declan Rice: Another excellent leader who prides himself in professionalism. Declan Rice is an excellent midfield player who can retain possession well, win the ball and carry it forward. He is an ideal transitional player and will provide great tenacity.
Harry Kane: The captain and the 2018 World Cup golden boot winner. Need we say more?
Raheem Sterling: England’s most influential player in Euro 2020 and one of the best of his generation. His place was never in doubt.
Marcus Rashford: The Man United winger has turned his fortunes around this season and has earned a place in the England World Cup squad. His speed and direct style of play will make him quite the asset from the bench.
Jack Grealish: Grealish has struggled to justify the £100 million fee that Man City paid for him, but he always turns up for England. His trickery and ability to draw fouls will be key for England. He’s an ideal teammate for set-piece specialist Kieran Trippier who has also made the England World Cup squad.
Phil Foden: One of the most exciting players in the England set-up, he has reached new heights this season with some magic performances. Including a hat trick versus Man United.
Bukayo Saka: Another young man with the world at his feet is Bukayo Saka. He has been excellent for Arsenal and England this season. He won the England player of the year award a couple of months ago and was always going to make Southgate’s England World Cup squad .
James Maddison: Maddison has forced his way into the squad thanks to his excellent start to the season with Leicester. He’s an elegant player who can take free kicks, split defences with a pass and score himself. He’s made just one cap for England in his career so far and he’ll be hoping to leave a lasting impression on Southgate.
Callum Wilson: Last but not least in the squad is Callum Wilson. The Newcastle forward has been a phenomenon this season as Newcastle sit third in the league. His inclusion has shocked a few people, but there is no doubt in his ability.
There are some players that are extremely unlucky to miss out on a place in the England World Cup squad who deserve a mention:
- Jadon Sancho
- Ivan Toney
- Tammy Abraham
- Marc Guehi
- Fikayo Tomori
- Dean Henderson
- James Ward-Prowse
Any of these men could have made it into the England World Cup squad under different circumstances and they’ll all be gutted to miss out. Thankfully, many of them have youth on their side and will have more chances to play for their country in the World Cup in the future.
With this squad of players we can see England having an excellent tournament. A World Cup is very difficult to predict as knockout football is very volatile, but we can see the three lions making it to at least the semi-finals.
What do you make of the England World Cup squad? Do Southgate’s men have what it takes to bring football home? Tell us your thoughts over on the TVG Facebook and stay up to date here for all things World Cup! Find out more about the betting on England to Win World Cup.
Author: Jude Sutcliffe