James Maddison and Callum Wilson, who haven’t played for England in over three years, have been named in their squad for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.
Gareth Southgate also opted to gamble on the fitness of Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips, while there was heartbreak for Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori, James Ward-Prowse, Jarrod Bowen and Ivan Toney as they failed to make the 26-man party.
Phillips made his return from almost two months out on Wednesday night, playing 41 minutes of Manchester City’s victory over Chelsea in the League Cup. Walker hasn’t seen any action since undergoing groin surgery on 4 October.
“With 26, we were able to take a few more risks than we would have been with 23,” said Southgate. “We’re aware Kalvin won’t be able to play seven 90 minutes, but he’s a super player.”
There was no place, however, for Reece James. The Chelsea wing-back, Southgate explained, would only be fit for later in the tournament “if everything went perfectly”.
Maddison, considered one of the best players in the Premier League, won his one and only England cap in 2019.
“He’s playing really well,” Southgate said. “I think he’s playing as well as any of the attacking players in this country. “We’ve always said he’s a good player. He’s earned the right. We think he can give us something different to the attacking players we’ve got.”
Southgate attributed the inclusion of Wilson over Abraham, who has been a fixture in recent England squads, to form. The Newcastle United striker has hit six goals in 10 Premier League games this season, while the Roma No9 has netted three times in 14 appearances in Serie A.
“Tammy’s had a poor run of scoring form at the wrong time,” explained Southgate. “It’s not a case of being three or four weeks away from the finals and our first match. We’re now 10 days [away]. Form could be more important.
“We wanted to make sure we got the balance of the squad right. I think in this day and age, the squad is more important than ever. “We now have five substitutes. You can change almost half the team during a game. You want different options for different moments of matches and different stages of the tournament.”
England’s Qatar 2022 squad
Goalkeepers Jordan Pickford (Everton) Nick Pope (Newcastle United) Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)
Defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) Conor Coady (Everton) Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur) Harry Maguire (Manchester United) Luke Shaw (Manchester United) John Stones (Manchester City) Kieran Trippier (Newcastle United) Kyle Walker (Manchester City) Ben White (Arsenal)
Midfielders Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund) Conor Gallagher (Chelsea) Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) Mason Mount (Chelsea) Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City) Declan Rice (West Ham United)
Attackers Phil Foden (Manchester City) Jack Grealish (Manchester City) Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) James Maddison (Leicester City) Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) Raheem Sterling (Chelsea) Callum Wilson (Newcastle United)
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