FIFA World Cup 2018: England boss Gareth Southgate 'excited' about squad

May 17, 2018, 08:41 IST | PA Sport

England boss Southgate announces 23-member squad and insists his young and athletic team will enthrall the nation during the World Cup in Russia

England’s Kyle Walker (left), Dele Alli and Danny Welbeck (right) during a training session recently
England’s Kyle Walker (left), Dele Alli and Danny Welbeck (right) during a training session recently

Gareth Southgate has named a bold World Cup squad focused on promise rather than experience. Uncapped Trent Alexander-Arnold is celebrating a maiden England call-up but Adam Lallana, Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere miss out. After months of speculation, scrutiny and conjecture, the 23 men charged with bringing the country success in Russia were revealed yesterday afternoon, along with the five-strong stand-by list for the tournament.

Hart, Wilshere dropped
England's joint second-most capped goalkeeper Hart was excluded as were Arsenal midfielder Wilshere and Southampton left-back Ryan Bertrand — but Lallana provided the biggest shock. While the Liverpool attacking midfielder has not started an EPL match since New Year's Day, he is a favourite of Southgate. However, his lack of fitness means he has to settle with a stand-by place alongside Jake Livermore, Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski and Lewis Cook.

England boss Gareth Southgate
England boss Gareth Southgate

Reprieve for Cahill
Gary Cahill received a surprise reprieve having been excluded from March's squad. But the most striking inclusion is uncapped teenager Alexander-Arnold. An impressive performer in Liverpool's run to the Champions League final, the defender, 19, briefly trained with Southgate's side in March and has now been named in the senior squad for the first time. The other uncapped squad member is Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope, having been selected ahead of Hart to take the third spot behind Jordan Pickford and Jack Butland.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek was rewarded for his fine form, with versatile Fabian Delph coming in after winning the title at Manchester City. "I believe this is a squad which we can be excited about," England manager 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.

England’s 2018 FIFA World Cup squad
Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley). Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Man City), Phil Jones (Man United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham), John Stones (Man City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham), Kyle Walker (Man City), Ashley Young (Man United). Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Man United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea). Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Man United), Raheem Sterling (Man City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal)

Key dates
June 2 v Nigeria (friendly)
June 7 v Costa Rica (friendly)
June 12: Squad leaves for Russia
June 18 v Tunisia (opening group game)
June 24 v Panama (second group game)
June 28 v Belgium
(final group game)

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