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.
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.