England’s Potential World Cup Squad Surprises

Posted on November 16th, 2017

Source: England via Twitter

Joe Gomez, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Jordan Pickford and Tammy Abraham have all emerged as late challengers for England’s 2018 World Cup squad after all four were called up for England’s first World Cup preparation matches against Germany and Brazil. We take a look at the other players who could stake a late claim for a seat on Gareth Southgate’s plane to Russia.

Nathaniel Chalobah made an impact during Chelsea’s 2016/17 title campaign, making a total of 10 appearances (nine from the bench). But with first-team opportunities limited at the Bridge, he headed off to Watford in the summer. A regular at U-21 level under Southgate’s tutelage, the ambitious 22-year-old felt the move would increase his prospects of a senior call-up. And it was no surprise when he was included along with Harry Maguire in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovakia. The England boss has long been an admirer of the midfielder and may just find a seat for him on the plane to Russia.

Craig Dawson has been knocking on the door for a while but has yet to make the full senior squad. Still only 27 years old, and with top class English defenders in relatively short supply, there is no reason why the West Brom man cannot force his way into the reckoning before next summer. The former U-21 player represented Great Britain at the London Olympics in 2012 and has been a consistent performer under the guidance of Tony Pulis at the Hawthorns.

Source: Liverpool FC via Twitter

Trent Alexander-Arnold has been a revelation since breaking into the senior squad at Liverpool and now has 20 league and cup appearances under his belt. Still only 19 years of age, he has featured for England at five youth levels and is being mentioned as one of the next debutants at senior level. The only question is whether this tournament might have come around too soon for the Liverpool-born right-back, but at 20/1 England are outside of the favourites to lift the trophy this time and may see it as an opportunity to blood some youngsters in tournament play. Jurgen Klopp has been careful not to pile too much pressure on the player but it is hard to imagine that his name is not on Southgate’s watchlist.

Alfie Mawson has popped up on the radar thanks to some impressive displays in the heart of Swansea’s defence. His quick rise through the footballing ranks culminated in an Under-21 call-up last November. He has since made six appearances for Aidy Boothroyd’s team and featured at the European Championships in June alongside the recently promoted Jordan Pickford.

Jack Cork was drafted into the squad for the friendlies against Germany and Brazil after several players were ruled out through injury. Michael Keane and Jake Livermore also returned to the set-up to ensure that the England Coach still had a 22-man squad to choose from. The 28-year-old has featured regularly for Burnley this season since making the switch from Swansea City in the summer. At 28 years of age, his inclusion was perhaps the biggest surprise of all considering he last represented his country at the Olympic Games more than five years ago.

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