GARETH SOUTHGATE has named his 26-man England squad for the World Cup – and he has picked James Maddison.
All the talk ahead of the Qatar showpiece was whether Southgate would pick the in-form Leicester ace, and he has.
Though Brentford striker Ivan Toney and Roma’s Tammy Abraham have not been chosen for Qatar.
The big tournament kicks off in just 10 days.
How to get free bets on football – the 17 best bookies to claim rewards and bonuses
Stay tuned with all the latest ahead of the tournament…
Southgate ready to push on
Gareth Southgate admits he’s ready to go a step further after reaching the World Cup semis in 2018.
The England gaffer explained: “In 2018 we were at the start of something where we hadn’t won a knockout game for 10 years and there was a little bit less experience in the group for big matches.
“I think this is similar in terms of its standing to the group that went to the Euros and we’re excited by the group. We think there’s a lot of exciting talent in it but the whole group has got to come together.
“It’s a unique situation for everybody this tournament, the timing of it.We’ve got to adapt better than everyone else in this coming period.”
Who are the biggest casualties?
There’s plenty of heartache going around today, with Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Ivan Toney shock exclusions from the England squad.
Elsewhere, Jarrod Bowen and Marc Guehi will have been left feeling disappointed.
And recently-capped dup Kyle Walker-Peters and Tyrick Mitchell may have thought they had a chance following injuries to Reece James and Ben Chilwell.
Fans divided over Southgate calls
England fans are split after Gareth Southgate announced his 26-man squad for the World Cup in Qatar.
Some feel the Three Lions boss has got it bang on, picking the players that can secure glory this winter.
But others have been left angrily scratching their heads.
READ FAN REACTION TO ENGLAND SQUAD HERE
Southgate’s Qatar Lions finally revealed
It’s been a long wait, with plenty of question marks over certain players.
But England boss Gareth Southgate has finally confirmed his 26-man squad for Qatar 2022.
Let’s take a closer look at the players and the clubs they represent…
Southgate on FIFA politics comments
“I think that’s highly unlikely (to stay silent on political issues).
“I think we have always spoken about issues that should we talked about especially ones we feel we can effect.
“We have spoken in the same way other countries have about the human rights challenges and been very clear on our standpoint.
“Of course, we would like to focus primarily on football. This is a carnival of football and you don’t want to diminish that but we recognise we are going to be in that situation.”
Southgate on LGBTQ+ being victimised and Iran supplying Russian weaponry
“We stand for inclusivity, we’re very very strong on that.
“We think it’s important in terms of all our supporters and we understand the challenges this tournament brings.
“If it wasn’t for the strength of that community we wouldn’t be Women’s European Champions, so it’s very important to us.
“With Iran that’s a political situation that I don’t know enough about to comment on, so those decisions have to be taken by governing bodies.
“I can’t comment on it with enough authority to give you an answer.”
Comparison to other previous squads
“I think they’ve all been good squads.
“I 2018 we were at the start of something where we hadn’t won a knockout game for 10 years and there was less experience in the group.
“I think this group is similar in standing to the one that went to the Euros.
“We’re excited by the group we think there’s a lot of talent in it.”
Southgate on Maddison reaction to being picked
“Yeah he was delighted.
“And as I said I had some difficult calls that were emotionally at the other end of the spectrum so it was nice to give myself an enjoyable end to that.
“Because you know I’m excited about going to a World Cup it’s my fourth and that’s a privilege and an honour.
“All of the calls were a reminder of what it means to the players.”
More Southgate on Maddison
“He’s always been up against some really good players in that area of the pitch and we’ve not always played with a number 10 profile.
“We like that he finds pockets of space well and turns and plays forwards – not enough players play forward in this day and age – and of course his set play delivery is outstanding and can score from long distance.”
Southgate on player experience
“Yeah, he (Maguire) is one of our best centre-backs.
“We have players in the squad who have been to tournaments and have performed at the level, they knows what’s required.
“We have other players who are playing well and we need to balance all that in the team.”
Southgate on Maguire
“Physically we’ve had really good communication with all the clubs on training loads.
“We’re picking up various fitness levels and we need to get that right.
“We’ve picked our more experience defenders and we think some of the younger ones have really good qualities but we don’t think they’ve done enough to push the more experienced ones out.”
Gamble on Phillips and Walker
On the gamble of bringing Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips, Southgate said: “Not that’s not the case (they can’t play opening game).
“Kalvin played last night, so with him he’s free of injury. We are aware he won’t be able to play 90 minutes so we will build his fitness.
“We don’t really have a defensive midfielder outside of (Declan) Rice. We have Hendo (Jordan Henderson) who can play there but that’s not really his number one position so we don’t have a lot of cover in the country for that position.
“Kalvin is a super player and we feel that’s a risk worth taking and we think he can add to the group.
“Kyle’s a little different but he will be available again by the end of the group stage.
“We had to make a difficult call with Reece (James) but with him if everything went perfectly he wasn’t going to be available until the latter stages of the tournament and there were too many unknowns and we can’t take a player who isn’t available in the group.”
Southgate on Abraham snub
“Tammy’s had a poor run of scoring form at the wrong time and it’s not a case where we are three or four weeks away from the start of the tournament – we’re 10 days off so form couldn’t be more important.
“We’re watching their club form but we don’t really know where they are until we see them face-to-face on the training pitch.”
“I haven’t had a chance (to speak with) with Callum (Wilson), I have had with James because this morning there was a lot of speculation about him not being with us but we had decided a couple of weeks ago that he would be with us.
“I didn’t get a chance to speak with Callum because my priority on these days are the difficult conversations and sad news and that’s really tough.
“There’s not really many harder decisions in football than that, maybe releasing a young player at the early stages of their career but the nature of those conversations good and bad remind you of what it means to go to a World Cup.”
Southgate on Maddison inclusion
“He’s playing really well.
“We’ve always said he’s a good player and we think he can offer something slightly different to the other attacking players that we’ve got.
“At various stages there’s been conversations and debates about James…
“I think he’s playing as well as any of the other attacking players in this country and he’s a little different to the others and we might need that.”
Southgate on tough decisions and whether the squad has everything
“Yeah, we’ve wanted to make sure we’ve got the balance of the squad right.
“In this day and age squad is more important than ever. With five subs you can change almost half the team changed during a game so you want different options of matches and for different stages of the tournament.
“Having 26 available meant we’ve been able to take a couple of risks that we might have not been able to with 23.
“We think the balance is there and we have the cover we need. We’re lighter in depth in some areas than others in our country.
“But we think we have everything covered.”
Southgate press conference
England boss Southgate is set to talk through his squad.
Possible line up
Is this England’s best possible World Cup team?
ENGLAND WORLD CUP SQUAD ANNOUNCED
So here it is, Gareth Southgate’s England World Cup squad.
Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope, Aaron Ramsdale
Defence: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Conor Coady, Eric Dier, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ben White
Midfielders: Jude Bellingham, Conor Gallagher, Jordan Henderson, Mason Mount, Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice
Forwards: Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Harry Kane, James Maddison, Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, Raheem Sterling, Callum Wilson
Some stats behind Maddison
Maddison’s creativity has long been hailed to be among the very best in the country, and it seems the stats back this idea up.
BREAKING: BEN WHITE INCLUDED IN ENGLAND SQUAD
Ben White has been included in the England squad for Qatar, according to The Athletic.
White has been in terrific form for Arsenal this season and was an emergency call-up for an injured Trent Alexander-Arnold at the Euros.
We now have just 30 minutes until the England team is officially announced.
It’s been one hell of a day already in terms of news bombshells but can we expect anymore to come…
Sherwood picks next England boss
Tim Sherwood has picked who should be England’s next manager.
It has been rumoured that this World Cup could be the last one with Southgate in charge, and Sherwood has revealed who he believes should take up the mantle after him.
Speaking to Fair Betting Sites, he said: “Eddie Howe would be my first choice and Potter has claims too.
“As mentioned I’ve been impressed with Newcastle this season and what Eddie Howe is doing there, so he’d have to be a big contender.”
BREAKING: JAMES MADDISON IS IN WORLD CUP SQUAD
James Maddison has finally convinced Gareth Southgate of his quality and has earned a place in the England World Cup squad, according to reports.
The Leicester star has been knocking on the door of the England team for some time now and it appears he will now make an appearance at the World Cup, as reported by Matt Law.
Maddison made his debut under Southgate in 2019 but has failed to appear since despite his strong form for Leicester.
Brazil have been backed to win the World Cup by Tim Sherwood.
The former Tottenham manager told Fair Betting Sites: “If I’m betting with my own money I’m backing Brazil.
“When you see their squad it’s like the Harlem Globetrotters!!
“An incredible squad of players and if they can knit it all together they will take some stopping.”
Source: Soccer - thesun.co.uk