All countries participating in the World Cup must announce their 23-man squad by June 4. England manager Gareth Southgate has a few dilemmas to decide on who to take to Russia, here I’ll give the 23-man squad should it have been my choice.
Jordan Pickford has been Everton’s top keeper all season and would rightfully deserve to be on the plane to Russia. At just 24 he has shown maturity and held down the no.1 spot at Goodison Park. Pickford has played every minute in the Premier League for Everton and has a WhoScored rating of 6.70, the joint 8th in the Premier League* alongside the likes of Manchester City’s Ederson. Jordan Pickford has made 114 saves this season the third most in the league. Personally, I think Pickford should be first choice for England at the World Cup.
Jack Butland has been one of the only positives for Stoke this season, they currently sit second bottom of the Premier League ahead of West Brom. Butland has played 32 games for Stoke this season after recovering from his ankle injury, he ranks 6th for goalkeepers this season* based off his WhoScored rating of 6.74. Jack Butland has made more saves than any other keeper in the Premier League with 133 saves. I think Jack Butland should be in competition with the final keeper on this list on who should be backup, the World Cup warm up games (friendlies) should be a competition between both.
The final keeper should be Burnley’s Nick Pope, he’s had a fantastic season for Sean Dyche’s side. At first Pope was only filling in for Tom Heaton after he suffered an injury, however he’s now held down the goalkeeper spot. Nick Pope also has the higest average rating for goalkeepers in the Premier League this season and deserves to go to Russia.
(* = of Goalkeepers that have played over 10 games)
The ever so versatile Ashley Young has slotted in at left back for Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United, and done a fantastic job. He averages a 7.18 match rating from left back, the joint 4th best in the league** alongside West Ham’s Masuaku. Young also has a higher rating than Marcos Alonso who made the PFA Team of the Year at left back. Young would be my first choice should I be in charge of England as I believe he deserves it off his performances this season.
Premier League champion Fabian Delph would be a great choice for England to take to Russia this summer. Not only can he fill in at left back but also centre midfield which could be especially key after the injury to Oxlade Chamberlain. Delph’s average rating is just below Ashely Young’s with a rating of 7.14, he has slotted in well after Mendy’s injury. Overall Delph is defensively more solid than Ashely Young which could come in use against the Belgian attack. Overall, I’d play Young against Panama and Tunisia and Delph against Belgium.
(** = of players that have played over 5 games)
Since Harry Maguire’s Hull days, he has always been improving on an upward trend. Harry Maguire has played 34 league games this season, he has even contributed to 6 goals for Leicester. Maguire has been the 21st best defender in the league this season**, he has an average rating of 7.11 alongside Ryan Shawcross. Southgate has the choice of three and four at the back, whichever Southgate chooses I believe Maguire should be the first defender on the team sheet.
It’s been a far from impressive season for Gary Cahill and Chelsea, ultimately could be his last at the club. Despite the sub-par season Gary Cahill has experience in the biggest games and this can be key especially should England progress from the group stages. A four back system would suit Cahill alongside Maguire, in my opinion England’s strongest defence.
Despite nothing more than average season for Smalling, he scored a crucial goal in the Manchester derby at the Etihad. He has shown that he can play in the big games however clearly has his limitations. Personally, I’d take him to the World Cup to make up the numbers however should he be needed he’s capable of stepping into the side.
A year ago, little would have known of James Tarkowski. He was on the fringes of an average Burnley side, but now Burnley and Tarkowski’s fortunes have turned around and he’s even make his England debut, and deservedly so. James has an average rating this season of 7.27 which is the highest out of any of England’s central defenders this season. Personally, he’d be my choice to slot in to a three-man defence or be the backup for any four back formations.
Kyle Walker is undoubtedly the best right back in the Premier League as is up there with the best in the world. Kyle has also proved that he is capable of doing a job in a back three and could be used there. Walker has averaged a match rating of 7.07 and has contributed to 7 assists this season. Walker’s position is untouched new and shouldn’t even be in doubt also would be one of the first names on the plane.
Kieran Trippier has played 18 league games for Tottenham this season, and I think he should be taken to Russia as a back-up to Kyle Walker. He has 4 league assists and 3 in the Champions League showing he can play on the biggest stage. He has a marginally higher rating than Walker with 7.09 however he should play second string to Walker.
Jordan Henderson is far from the most flashy player however his experience and leadership could be key to England’s World Cup run this summer. Henderson as an average rating of 6.96 this season and has played an impressive 39 games this season, it’s important that he gets some rest before the World Cup as it seems his season could be up to 45 games. If Henderson plays well for England they have every chance of progressing.
Despite Harry Winks’ injury problems this season it’s key that he should go to the World Cup this summer, the experience he will gain could be big however he can even play a key part to the squad with his energy. Harry Winks played 5 games for Spurs in the Champions League and put in performances capable of the call as well as showcasing that he is capable to play at the highest level.
Cook has to be one of the most underrated players in the Premier League, in my opinion. He has played 35 games this season including making his England debut and offers a lot to the team. Lewis is aged just 21 and personally I believe he offers more than Jack Wilshere and Eric Dier, bar experience. He’s more than capable of playing at the World Cup this summer.
Alli is undoubtedly one of England’s best footballers (and Fortnite players) and should be on the plane to Russia. Alli has played nearly 50 games this season with 13 goals and 14 assists and will be one of the main reasons England will do well this summer. Alli has earned his place in the starting line-up of the World Cup squad this summer.
Dele Alli’s best mate should also be going to the World Cup, Dier is a versatile player that can play in defence or midfield for Southgate’s side. Very much alike Henderson, Dier doesn’t have bright haircuts and doesn’t dab instead he gets the job done and will provide England with defensive solidity this summer.
Jesse Lingard has had a fantastic season for Manchester United this season, he has kept the likes of Martial out of the side. Despite a lot of (expensive) competition for places in the squad Lingard has managed to feature in 47 games this season. Personally, I think Lingard deserves the chance to start at the World Cup however wingers should be picked based off form at the tournament.
Despite Rashford’s best position being striker England suffer from a lack of wingers and he could slot in on either wing. Rashford has played 50 games this season for United, most of which as a sub. But he can be key for England either from the start or off the bench and should be taken. Also, he offers pace which Lingard offers less of therefore this can be key to Southgate’s tactics.
Despite the British media’s strong hatred for Raheem Sterling he is now a Premier League champion, but also one of England’s most talented players. I’ve only picked one right winger as Marcus Rashford can slot in if needed however I think England best system won’t play with wingers but with Sterling or Vardy alongside Kane. Sterling will be pivotal to how England do this summer with 24 goals and 9 assists this term.
It’s without doubt that Harry Kane will be leading England to Russia this summer, his goals are key to his club and country and if England want to do well he must turn up this summer. Despite a poor EURO 2016 Kane has been Tottenham’s top scorer since. Kane’s goal scoring is clearly his strongest attribute with 39 more goals this season it’s important he takes it to the World Cup this summer. Kane has shown he can do it regularly on the biggest stage however has failed to show up at the major international tournaments.
Despite a fairly standard season for Leicester Jamie Vardy has one of the best records against the ‘top 6’. Vardy and Kane should be England’s first choice duo should Southgate chose to go 2 up top. Vardy has scored 20 goals for his club this season and averaged a 6.96 match rating. Personally, I think England suit a 4-4-2 most and Vardy and Kane should lead it in Russia.
Wayne Rooney is probably a slightly controversial choice however he offers versatility and experience which can’t be said about many players in the squad. Rooney also has 10 goals to his name in the Premier League and can also be a useful asset in attack.
Finally, the 23rd man in the squad should be Everton’s Calvert-Lewin, much like Harry Winks this choice is based off the future they can gain key experience and learn for future tournaments. Calvert-Lewin has 7 goals and 6 assists in all competitions this season and could also be given a go on the wing. I’d take him as back up to other strikers however he is capable of playing a part.
On a final note.. COYBIG.