Later today he’ll name the 26 lucky players who’ll be on the plane to Qatar
England’s 26-strong World Cup squad will be announced later on Thursday as Gareth Southgate reveals who has made the cut after deliberating over the form and fitness of his key players heading to Qatar.
With their Group B opener coming just 11 days after Southgate declares his squad for a tournament that has been unceremoniously wedged into the middle of the season, the England manage is unlikely to spring any major surprises.
Marcus Rashford has not kicked a ball for England since missing his spot-kick in last year’s European Championship final penalty shoot-out defeat to Italy, with injury and poor form seeing him fall out of Southgate’s plans last term.
But the 25-year-old has enjoyed a resurgence since Erik ten Hag’s arrival at Manchester United and is a strong contender to be named in Thursday’s selection.
James Maddison’s fine form at Leicester has led to clamour for the attacking midfielder to be selected for the first time since winning his solitary cap in 2019, while striker Callum Wilson has caught the eye at Newcastle.
Brentford striker Ivan Toney was called up by England for the first time in September but did not make his debut, while a hamstring issue may well extinguish Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s faint hopes of a recall.
FIFA’s deadline for final confirmation of the squad is Monday and Southgate will be sweating watching the final round of Premier League fixtures play out this weekend.
While captain Harry Kane is a shoo-in for a spot, Southgate will be worried that Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte said the striker was “very, very tired” after starting Wednesday’s Carabao Cup loss at Nottingham Forest.
The England boss has already seen two Chelsea full-backs ruled out of the tournament through injury, with left-back Ben Chilwell’s hamstring issue compounding Reece James’ unfortunate injury.
He hurt his knee against AC Milan on October 11 and “devastated” James confirmed on Wednesday that he would not be in the 26-man squad flying to the Gulf after speaking to manager Southgate.
There appears to be more positive news about the availability of fellow right-back Kyle Walker, who has always been confident of winning his race to be fit for the World Cup after undergoing a groin operation early last month.
Kalvin Phillips – England’s 2020-21 player of the year – has been laid low even longer than his Manchester City team-mate but came off the bench in Wednesday’s cup win over Chelsea to complete his return from shoulder surgery.
Phillips’ lack of game-time is a concern heading into the World Cup, just as it is for England regular Harry Maguire.
The Manchester United captain started the first two matches of Ten Hag’s reign, but poor form and a subsequent enforced injury absence means he has only featured six further times at club level.
Southgate’s centre-back selection will be interesting as he prepares to use a three-man defence at the World Cup. Ben White’s form for table-topping Arsenal has seen him make a strong claim to be selected.
England kick off their World Cup campaign against Iran on November 21, before facing the United States on November 25 and neighbours Wales in their final Group B match on November 29.
Published: by Radio NewsHub Source : Radio News Hub