Bet Slip

No Bets Added

England Squad Reaction & Potential XI

England Squad Reaction

Gareth Southgate has now named his England squad for the 2022 World Cup

The 26-man squad is made up of three goalkeepers, eight defenders, six midfielders and eight forwards, and boasts an average age of 26.4. 

In being named in the squad, Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling join an exclusive list of players who have competed at three World Cup tournaments for the Three Lions. Elsewhere, Southgate has remained loyal to the core group of players who helped him reach the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and the final of Euro 2020. 

There were, however, some surprise inclusions. 

James Maddison, whose sole England appearance arrived almost three years ago to the day, managed to force his way into Southgate’s plans. The 25-year-old has six goals and four assists this term to go alongside the 20 goal involvements he racked up last season.  Only two English players - Harry Kane (11) and Ivan Toney (8) -  in the Premier League have more goals than the Leicester City No.10 this term. His inclusion was a surprise one, but a deserved one. 

Another who falls into this particular category is Callum Wilson. 

The Newcastle United hitman has six goals in just 781 minutes this season. His last appearance for England was in 2019, scoring on his debut against the United States. Maybe Southgate is hoping the 30-year-old can repeat that feat when the two nations face off on matchday two. 

Callum Wilson - Premier League Stats

The third surprise name is Conor Gallagher. He was a revelation while on loan with Crystal Palace last season and his form at Selhurst Park saw him get international recognition. However, he hasn’t been able to replicate those performances since returning to Stamford Bridge and has been a squad option, appearing in just 411 minutes in the Premier League this season. 

For every surprise inclusion, there is a contentious exclusion. 

Fikayo Tomori has impressed for Serie A champions AC Milan following his £25million move from Chelsea in 2021. He struggled in the Champions League recently but some of the centre-backs named by Southgate are in the worst form of their careers. 

Both Ivan Toney and Tammy Abraham will feel aggrieved. Kane is the only English player with more goals than Toney in the Premier League this term while Abraham has 31 goals across all competitions since the start of last season. 
Southgate cited Abraham’s struggles in front of goal as the reason for his exclusion but named Phil Foden (without a goal in seven matches) and Jack Grealish (a player with one goal in 16 outings this team) as part of his attack. 

Potential Formations And Preferred XI

England played a 4-3-3 during the summer but in their final matches in the Nations League, Southgate reverted back to 3-4-3. The Three Lions have the players to be fairly flexible at the World Cup so expect to see variations of both systems throughout the competition. 

The 3-4-3 looks more likely at this stage though given it is the formation he went with in matches against Italy and Germany in September. 

If this is the case, the starting XI could well be: Jordan Pickford; John Stones, Eric Dier, Harry Maguire; Kyle Walker, Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, Kieran Trippier; Bukayo Saka, Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling. 

There are a number of difficult decisions to make with that XI. 

Ben White is in good form and could get the nod ahead of Stones as the right-sided centre-back. Alternatively, Southgate could use Walker in a back three, Trippier as the right wing-back and Luke Shaw on the left. 

In midfield, Kalvin Phillips would usually be a shoo-in alongside Rice but he has barely played this season and it might be viewed as risky to throw him in at the deep end. Bellingham is the form player too, so, on merit, he should get the nod. 

There is also a world in which Mason Mount starts in place of Saka. He can then help in midfield when required while also supporting Kane and Sterling. It is a tactic used by Southgate in the past and it worked considerably well. 

2022 World Cup Outright Winners Odds

skybet logo
England @ 7/1

Star Players

Kane is the easy choice. Spurs manager Antonio Conte claimed the England striker is “really tired” following the Carabao Cup exit to Nottingham Forest. It isn’t what you want to hear on the eve of the World Cup. 

He will be key to England’s success this month. Kane is the captain, the talisman and the main goalscorer. If he’s firing, the Three Lions are likely winning. 

A wildcard pick here may well be Bellingham. He has been putting in mature performances for Borussia Dortmund this season, even captaining them, and the 19-year-old has really caught the eye in the Champions League, scoring four times in five outings. 

Jude Bellingham - Champions League Stats

If he is named ahead of Phillips as the man to partner Rice, expect to see him boss the game, putting in all-action midfield displays with the odd goal.

England Squad In Full

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Newcastle United), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Conor Coady (Everton, loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle United), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ben White (Arsenal)

Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City), Declan Rice (West Ham United)

Forwards: Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), James Maddison (Leicester City), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Chelsea), Callum Wilson (Newcastle United)