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We’ve got nothing to lose by taking these three uncapped players to the World Cup

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jadon Sancho and Phil Foden would earn valuable experience and bring a touch of the unknown if they made the World Cup squad

With the World Cup squad announcement and a royal wedding in the same week it’s a surprise anyone has a voice left.

Only the weather is a bigger talking point, and it just so happens to be pretty tropical in Blighty at the moment.

But I’m here to focus on the football today, given Gareth Southgate will be naming his World Cup squad tomorrow.


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The new James Bond

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The new James Bond

Now I’m sure you’ve had a crack at naming your own squad, which inevitably ends up in going to war with the office over your choice of reserve left-back.

So here’s my two cents.

  • Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland, Nick Pope
  • Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kyle Walker, Fabian Delph, Ryan Bertrand, Harry Maguire, John Stones, Phil Jones, James Tarkowski
  • Midfielders: Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Jesse Lingard, Phil Foden, Jonjo Shelvey, Dele Alli
  • Forwards: Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho

A couple of names might stand out from that list but I’m fully prepared to have petty back and forth online arguments about them.

Let’s start with the three uncapped players.

The more you watch Alexander-Arnold the more it becomes apparent that he has the best delivery of the players available to Southgate, aside from Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse.

His inclusion comes at the expense of Kieran Trippier- a fine player in his own right but one who lacks the athletic ability of Kyle Walker or technical qualities of Alexander-Arnold.

Confidence shouldn’t be an issue for a player who’s mixed it with Europe’s elite during Liverpool’s run to the Champions League final.

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Sancho is the most exciting teenager in England… or Germany.

If he’d started for Borussia Dortmund from the beginning of their campaign we wouldn’t even be having to debate his inclusion.

In 684 minutes of Bundesliga football he’s been involved in five goals and countless broken ankles.

Not convinced? Have a watch of the video below.

I fully accept Foden is a big leap of faith, and there’s no chance Southgate will take him.

But Henderson will be Southgate’s midfield general, Dier will probably play alongside him with Loftus-Cheek, Alli and one of Shelvey, Wilshere or Livermore watching on from the bench.

Adam Lallana’s struggles with injury this season are the only reason he misses out, as any player who gets through 15 Cruyff turns a game deserves to be in when fully fit.

If you’re going to bring a midfielder who in all likelihood won’t play, why not use the tournament as a chance to give Foden experience?

As the youngest Premier League winner his talent clearly isn’t in question, while his attitude is disciplined enough to play under Pep Guardiola.

The Premier League’s most creative midfielder and Kevin De Bruyne

Getty Images - Getty
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The Premier League’s most creative midfielder and Kevin De Bruyne

As for Ryan Sessegnon, having played more than 50 games this season at the age of 17 I’d leave the Fulham winger at home to rest up.

There’s no doubt he’s going to have a long career at the very top but for now we should let him enjoy a summer off to avoid burn out later down the line.

Will Southgate be brave enough to take any gambles? Probably not, but you can’t really blame him for sticking with seasoned Premier League campaigners like Danny Welbeck.

You’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t.

But, just for once, it would be nice to see a damned England manager throw caution to the wind. You never know, it might just pay off.


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