Official: England’s final World Cup squad announced
Gareth Southgate has announced his final 23-man England squad for the World Cup, with high-profile absentees including Adam Lallana, Jack Wilshere, Joe Hart and Ryan Bertrand.
Former first-choice goalkeeper Hart has been dropped from the squad following poor form at West Ham for Burnley’s Nick Pope, while Arsenal midfielder Wilshere has also been omitted from the group that will travel to Russia.
Jordan Pickford and Jack Butland are the other goalkeepers in the squad.
Southampton left-back Ryan Bertrand is a surprise exclusion from the defensive line, though Liverpool youngster Trent Alexander-Arnold has been handed his first senior England call-up after a sensational season following his hand in helping the Reds reach the Champions League final.
Southgate has opted to go with John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Gary Cahill, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, Phil Jones, and Ashley Young for his defensive options.
Seventeen-year-old Fulham starlet Ryan Sessegnon has not been selected for the squad despite a stunning season with the Championship side.
Jordan Henderson is likely to anchor the midfield, with Dele Alli, Eric Dier and Raheem Sterling also selected. Adam Lallana failed to make the cut following his recent fitness issues, while Jesse Lingard, Fabian Delph and Ashley Young will also form the heart of the Three Lions squad.
Tottenham striker Harry Kane will once again lead the England line and is tipped to be captain, with support from Jamie Vardy, Danny Welbeck and Marcus Rashford, at the expense of Bournemouth’s Jermain Defoe.
England’s World Cup 2018 squad in full
Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope, Jack Butland
Defenders: Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Cahill, Danny Rose, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Phil Jones, Ashley Young
Midfielders: Eric Dier, Fabian Delph, Jordan Henderson, Dele Alli, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Raheem Sterling, Jesse Lingard
Forwards: Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford, Danny Welbeck
England will begin their Group G campaign against Tunisia on June 18, before fixtures against Panama on June 24 and Belgium on June 28.
Expectations aren’t high for the Three Lions although favourable Group H opponents in the last 16 – Colombia, Poland, Senegal or Japan – could offer a potential quarter-final berth, where Germany or Brazil would likely await.