Gareth Southgate’s England squad announcement caused something of a stir in some circles but overall both in England and abroad football fans are starting to take notice again of the country that invented the beautiful game. Unlike club management Southgate does not have the option of say, bringing in Messi or Ronaldo so the England Manager has gone for flexibility, adaptability and intelligence ahead of history and reputation.
The first surprise came in the choice of goalkeepers. Joe Hart is reported to have been devastated at the news of his omission and that’s understandable but many agree with the below choices given Hart’s performances in Euro 2016 and the irregularity of his first team action at West Ham.
Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope
Defensively Southgate has made popular and intelligent choices here, picking players primarily from the top clubs who are also able to play in different positions and formations. The selection of Phil Jones has raised a few eyebrows however, especially given his performance in the FA Cup Final, with some feeling that his club-mate Chris Smalling should have got the nod instead. Trent Alexander-Arnold’s inclusion has proved both surprising and popular.
Ashley Young, Gary Cahill, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Fabian Delph, Harry Maguire, Phil Jones, Trent Alexander-Arnold
The debate about Jack Wilshere’s talent and fitness continues but ultimately including him would have been a gamble and it was not taken this time. JonJo Shelvey however has a genuine right to feel aggrieved at not being picked but all in all the following five players offer a mix of technique, defensive solidity and attacking flair.
Eric Dier, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Jordan Henderson, Dele Alli
Four of these players were nailed on certainties a long time ago but not too many expected Danny Welbeck to figure this time. With that said England are not blessed with a lot of attacking options right now so it’s hard to disagree too much with him making the final 23.
Danny Welbeck, Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling