WORLD CUP DRAW SEES ENGLAND AND WALES IN SAME GROUP

World Cup 2022: England squad features Maddison, Rashford and Wilson

Leicester midfielder James Maddison has been included in England’s 26-man squad for the Fifa World Cup in Qatar.

Manager Gareth Southgate has also chosen Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford and Newcastle striker Callum Wilson, Manchester City full-back Kyle Walker and Arsenal defender Ben White.

But AC Milan centre-back Fikayo Tomori, Brentford striker Ivan Toney and West Ham forward Jarrod Bowen miss out.

England face Iran in their World Cup opener on 21 November (13:00 GMT).

They are joined in Group B by Wales and the United States.

Manchester City midfielder Kalvin Phillips, despite only recently returning from two months out with a shoulder problem, is in, as is centre-back Harry Maguire, who has struggled to get a game for Manchester United this season.

England squad

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Newcastle), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)

Defenders: Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Eric Dier (Tottenham), John Stones (Manchester City), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), Conor Coady (Everton), Ben White (Arsenal), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Declan Rice (West Ham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City)

Forwards: James Maddison (Leicester), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Chelsea), Callum Wilson (Newcastle), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)

Maddison’s inclusion is reward for his superb form for Leicester this season, but although I initially thought England might win the trophy, I have serious doubts now that I have seen Gareth Southgate’s squad, which is listed above.

Players I would not have chosen include defenders Harry Maguire, John Stones and Kyle Walker.  Midfielders who would not get my vote include Jude Bellingham and Jordan Henderson and the forwards who would not be in my team are Bukayo Saka, Callum Wilson and Marcus Rashford.

Maddison has been instrumental in the Foxes’ resurgence following their poor start to the season and has six goals and four assists in 12 Premier League games.

His only cap for England came almost three years ago to the day – in a Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro when he played 35 minutes.

“He is playing really well,” said Southgate.

“He is a good player. We have always said he is a good player. He has earned the right. We think he can give something slightly different to the other attacking players we have.

“He is playing as well as any of the attacking players in this country and he is a bit different to the others.”

We think we have everything covered – Southgate

Walker has proved his fitness to Southgate after undergoing groin surgery and not playing in more than a month.

The England boss has also put his faith in Philips, despite the midfielder having had injury struggles this season. Phillips, who has had surgery on his shoulder, returned to action as a second-half substitute in Manchester City’s 2-0 win against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.

Rashford has not played for England since the Euro 2020 final defeat by Italy, but the Manchester United forward has scored seven goals in all competitions this season.

Newcastle striker Wilson, who has scored six goals in 10 games this season, joins Tottenham’s England captain Harry Kane as the Three Lions’ main striker options for the World Cup.

But, like Brentford’s Toney and West Ham’s Bowen, Roma striker Tammy Abraham has been overlooked.

“We have wanted to make sure we have the balance of the squad right,” added Southgate.

“In this day and age squad is more important than ever with five substitutes. You want different options for different moments of matches and different stages of the tournament as well.

“We have had to cover a couple of players who are not fully match fit as well so having 26 players means you can take a couple of risks.

“We think the balance is there. We think we have everything covered.”

 May be an image of text that says "GROUP A QATAR ECUADOR GROUP E SENEGAL SPAIN COSTA COSTARICA RICA NETHERLANDS GERMANY GROUP B JAPAN ENGLAND IRAN GROUP F UNITED STATES BELGIUM WALES CANADA MOROCCO GROUP c CROATIA ARGENTINA SAUDI ARABIA GROUP G MEXICO BRAZIL POLAND SERBIA SWITZERLAND GROUP D CAMEROON FRANCE VORLD FIF CUP AUSTRALIA GROUPH DENMARK PORTUGAL TUNISIA GHANA URUGUAY SOUTH KOREA"

Top of page picture is of England striker Harry Kane whose family come from Letterfrack in Connemara in the Irish Republic. England were my first preference to win the Jules Rimet trophy with France and Portugal next in line. Bill Heaney

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