England boss Gareth Southgate has confirmed his 23-man squad for the World Cup finals, and a number of big names have failed to make the final selection.
Joe Hart, Adam Lallana, Jack Wilshere, Jonjo Shelvey, Ryan Bertrand and Chris Smalling have all missed out on a place in Russia, when they had hoped to go.
Southgate had a number of issues across every department of his squad to finalise, and he has now done that.
In goal, it is heartbreak for previous number one Joe Hart, with Burnley’s Nick Pope getting the number three role behind Jack Butland and likely number one Jordan Pickford.
In defence, there is no place for Southampton left-back Ryan Bertrand with Fabian Delph, Ashley Young and Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold getting the nods at wing-back.
There are four recognised centre-halves in the squad in the shape of Harry Maguire, Gary Cahill, John Stones and Phil Jones – Kyle Walker is likely to be deployed in that role, although Eric Dier could also drop back if required.
In midfield and probably the biggest absentee is Wilshere, he along with Shelvey are over-looked with Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek, whilst Lallana is only on the stand-by list.
In attack and the only surprise is the inclusion of Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck, who Southgate has decided has done enough to earn his spot alongside Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford.
The England boss was delighted with the 23 he has named and said: “I believe this is a squad which we can be excited about.
“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.
“The selection process has been over months really, it’s not just been the last few weeks. We feel the team are improving and we want to continue that momentum.”
Squad in full
Goalkeepers: Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope.
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Cahill, Fabian Delph, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young.
Midfielders: Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Forwards: Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Jamie Vardy, Danny Welbeck.
Stand-by: Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski, Lewis Cook, Jake Livemore and Adam Lallana.
Southgate is also yet to confirm his captain but Bookmakers are confident that Kane will get the honours and he is 8/11 favourite to be Gareth Southgate’s skipper in Russia.
The Tottenham striker, who looks guaranteed to start England’s first game against Tunisia at 1/8, is fancied to be given the honour of leading his country out next month ahead of his Spurs teammate Eric Dier at 2/1.
Jordan Pickford at 1/3 is the leading online bookmaker’s favourite to start in goal for the first group game, while Gary Cahill is 8/11 to form a centre back partnership with Harry Maguire at 5/6.
Kyle Walker (1/8), Danny Rose (4/11) and Kieran Trippier (4/7) look nailed on to start alongside them in defence while Raheem Sterling (2/9) and Dele Alli (1/4) look set to complement Kane in attack.
Betway’s Alan Alger said: “Harry Kane is one of the first names on Gareth Southgate’s team-sheet and he looks the obvious candidate at 8/11 to lead his country out in Russia next month.
“The Spurs forward heads the betting for the captain’s armband and he looks set to lead the line at 1/8 with Raheem Sterling at 2/9 and Dele Alli at 1/4.
“Southgate picked Jordan Pickford for the Holland friendly and at 1/3 we think he’ll stick with him for first game against Tunisia.
“In the defence, Kyle Walker (1/8), Danny Rose (4/11) and Kieran Tripper (4/7) look guaranteed to start, while it seems Gary Cahill at 8/11 and Harry Maguire at 5/6 will form the centre back pairing.”