England manager Gareth Southgate’s squad selection for the upcoming World Cup has been bold and ruthless, banking on trust over experience.
Southgate’s squad has an average age of 26 years and 18 days and is all about talent and potential. The Three Lions start their Group G campaign against Tunisia on 18 June, before games against Panama and Belgium.
Southgate’s selection shows that he trusts youth over experience and that may bode well if England performs well in the World Cup. But if it backfires, Southgate may be in for a lot of criticism.
Here is the strongest line up that England could field at the World Cup in summer.
Probable England XI
Manager: Gareth Southgate
Jack Butland (GK)
For the now relegated Stoke City, Jack Butland was one of the very few star performers. He was terrific in goal and if we choose the best, then Butland probably is the safer bet than Jordan Pickford and Nick Pope.
Kyle Walker (RWB)
While the young Trent Alexander-Arnold made the 23-man squad, he will find himself down the pecking order behind Kyle Walker and Kieran Tripper. Pacey and agile with fantastic crossing abilities, Walker would be Southgate’s undisputed choice at right wing-back.
Phil Jones (RCB)
Jones has had another underwhelming season at Manchester United. However, he has made it to the England squad and will possibly be at the heart of their defence.
Gary Cahill (CB)
Partnering with Jones in central defence could be Gary Cahill. The Chelsea man has not had a good season but will be upbeat after having ended the campaign by winning the FA Cup. His experience would be vital as England look to make a mark in the World Cup.
John Stones (LCB)
Southgate prefers ball-playing centre-backs and Stones is certainly one. While City have become the champions of England, Stones, in particular, did not have a good season according to the standards he has set. He will be itching to make an impression at the World Cup.
Danny Rose (LWB)
Rose should be Southgate’s first-choice left-back ahead of the likes of Ashley Young and Fabian Delph. Energetic and aggressive, the Spurs man could shine at the World Cup.
Jordan Henderson (CM)
For the holding midfielder’s role, Henderson could be preferred over Dier. The Liverpool skipper has enjoyed a good season and would be hoping to replicate his fine form in Russia.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (CM)
Pairing Henderson with Dier would be a big mistake given that both are defensive midfielders. Loftus-Cheek may lack the experience of playing on the bigger stage but there is no doubting his quality. He could be the ideal player to partner Henderson in midfield.
Raheem Sterling (LW)
Sterling is coming on the back of a fantastic season, guiding City to the Premier League title. He is a guaranteed starter for England.
Jesse Lingard (RW)
On the right should be Jesse Lingard, who exceeded expectations this season at Manchester United. Lingard’s intelligent movement and ability to utilise pockets of spaces behind defenders may come in handy for the Three Lions.
Harry Kane (ST)
Leading England’s attack will be none other than Harry Kane. Kane scored 30 goals for Spurs in the recently concluded season. His injury at Bournemouth scared the England fans but he recovered well ahead of schedule and will be raring to go in the World Cup.