After two impressive performances in international friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy, England manager Gareth Southgate has until June 4th to finalise the squad he will take to this year’s World Cup in Russia.
But who do the Bournemouth Rock’s sports team think should travel, and who should be left behind? Sports editor Dan Davis explains his choices.
Jordan Pickford (Everton) – Without a doubt, Jordan Pickford will travel to Russia as the Three Lions’ first-choice shot stopper. His assurance on the ball perfectly compliments Gareth Southgate’s patient, possession-orientated style of play, and his agility enables him to make many a seemingly impossible stop.
Jack Butland (Stoke) – Butland may be enduring a tough campaign at Stoke City, but his goalkeeping ability cannot be denied, and he will make a solid, reliable back-up to Pickford should Everton’s custodian pick up an injury.
Nick Pope (Burnley) – Since Tom Heaton’s injury in September, Pope has stepped into the breach and impressed many with his shot stopping abilities and control of his penalty area. His recent call up to Southgate’s squad was well deserved and he should travel to Russia, if not only for the experience of an international tournament.
Kyle Walker (Manchester City) – After a summer switch to Manchester City, Walker has slotted into the right-back position and impressed in both defending and offensive contributions. With his favourable crossing ability and rapid pace, Walker is a threat out wide, but also performed admirably at centre-half against the Netherlands and Italy.
John Stones (Manchester City) – A certainty to travel to the World Cup, despite falling behind Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi in Manchester City’s pecking order at centre-half. Stones demonstrates the best ball-playing ability out of Southgate’s options, and will likely start in England’s first group game.
Harry Maguire (Leicester City) – Maguire is also adept at playing out from the back, as well as the occasional charge into midfield. A string of assured performances for Leicester City will see Maguire on the plane, and likely starting as one of three centre-halves.
Eric Dier (Tottenham) – Despite primarily being utilised in midfield by both club and country, Southgate has reportedly toyed with the idea of fielding Dier at centre-half for the World Cup. His versatility across the pitch makes him an invaluable figure in England’s squads, and his captaincy against Italy demonstrated Southgate’s faith in the Tottenham man.
Danny Rose (Tottenham) – Despite being ousted from Tottenham’s starting XI this season by Ben Davies, Rose is still likely to travel to Russia and will compete with Ashley Young for the vacant left wing-back position.
Ashley Young (Manchester United)
Phil Jones (Manchester United)
Ryan Bertrand (Southampton)
Gary Cahill (Chelsea)
Fabian Delph (Manchester City)
Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) – Henderson will captain England at the World Cup this summer. Despite not possessing the most flair on the ball, Henderson does the simple things well and is a steadying influence in England’s midfield.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool) – Since a switch to Liverpool, Oxlade-Chamberlain has developed into a talented central midfielder, and will likely partner Henderson at this summer’s tournament. The 24-year-old’s versatility makes him a certainty to travel to Russia.
Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) – Sterling was fielded behind two strikers against the Netherlands and Italy, and justified the ousting of Dele Alli from the side. His trickery in possession and ability to carve out chances from nothing makes him another invaluable asset for Gareth Southgate, and his versatility on the flanks also ensures him a spot on the plane.
Dele Alli (Tottenham)
Adam Lallana (Liverpool) – if fit for the tournament
Jesse Lingard (Manchester United)
Jake Livermore (West Bromwich Albion)
Harry Kane (Tottenham) – Despite a scare on the south coast, after picking up a serious ankle injury against Bournemouth, Kane is fit enough to travel to Russia and will certainly start England’s first group game. Kane’s goalscoring prowess has only been overshadowed by Mo Salah’s heroics for Liverpool, and he will be the Three Lions’ greatest threat at this summer’s tournament.
Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) – The competition for England’s second striker spot may be rife, but Vardy’s performances in an England jersey cannot, and should not, be understated. The frontman’s pace and keen eye for goal will push him ahead of any others in the pecking order in Russia.
Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)