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Who’s in? Who’s out? Coral analyse England’s World Cup squad

| 17.05.2018

Three Lions 23-man squad confirmed 

Gareth Southgate kept it safe when announcing his 23-man squad for England’s World Cup campaign on Wednesday afternoon.

The Three Lions boss opted against the clamour for inexperienced youngsters including Jadon Sancho and Ademola Lookman.

Instead, Southgate played a predictable hand with old favourites including Danny Welbeck and Gary Cahill getting the call to go to Russia this summer.

The Coral News Team have looked over the squad and analysed his selections…


(Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope)

The Joe Hart question was the big issue looming large over the goalkeeping department. But with Southgate deciding to omit the Manchester City stopper, it left Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford and Nick Pope as the standout trio between the sticks.

All are deserving of their place within the squad. But it’s their joint lack of experience that provides the worry for Three Lions fans. Between them, they’ve played just nine games for England, with none of those caps coming at a major tournament.

Pickford has been Southgate’s first choice in the recent international friendly matches. It looks to be a straight shootout between the ex-Sunderland man and Stoke City’s Butland to start in England’s opening group match.


(Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young)

There are no real shocks where the defence is concerned. Trent Alexander-Arnold is a slight surprise, but his form in the Champions League arguably warrants a debut England call-up.

It’s not at full-back where the issues are for the Three Lions – it’s centre-half. An aging Gary Cahill, out-of-form John Stones and unreliable Phil Jones doesn’t breed a great deal of confidence. Harry Maguire has impressed for Leicester City this season, but like so many in this squad, Russia will be his first major tournament.

Southgate has a decision to make in respect of how he sets up his backline this summer. On recent displays, the Coral News Team are swaying towards a back three which includes the versatility and pace of Manchester City’s Kyle Walker.


(Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Raheem Sterling)

Jack Wilshere, Jake Livermore and Adam Lallana all missed out on a place in the 23-man squad. That leaves England slightly short of attacking options from central midfield.

Dele AlliJesse Lingard and Raheem Sterling will all be vying for advanced midfield spots. And it’s a fair shout that Sterling and Alli will get the nod to start in England’s opening group match, should Southgate opt with the mooted 3-4-2-1 formation. The latter of the trio has been particularly impressive for his club this season, and now the hope is that Sterling can transfer that to the international stage.

That leaves Eric Dier and Jordan Henderson as the obvious defensive midfield options. Both players boast plenty of experience and will be crucial if the Three Lions want to make any sort of inroads in Russia.

If it doesn’t work out, however, don’t be surprised if the clamour for the absent Wilshere rears its head once again.


(Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford, Danny Welbeck)

The inclusion of Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford was a near foregone conclusion ahead of the announcement. The trio have all excelled in an England shirt and shown their worth in the Premier Leagues this season.

Kane is the obvious starter of the quartet, with Vardy an excellent plan-B to be able to call upon from the bench.

However, it’s the inclusion of Danny Welbeck that has raised some eyebrows. Supporters of the Arsenal striker will point towards his record of 15 goals in 37 matches for the Three Lions. Detractors would argue that it’s a wasted spot for a player who doesn’t produce often enough on the big stage.

Ademola Lookman, Jadon Sancho and a certain youngster on the books at Fulham had all been touted for a potential wildcard pick. Instead, Southgate has played it safe. If England need something different off the bench in any of their World Cup matches, he could come to rue that decision.

Standby List

(Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski, Lewis Cook, Jake Livermore, Adam Lallana)

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Nick Murphy