After the completion of the penultimate international break before the World Cup, the usual optimism of England fans has begun to build. In fact, impressive performances against Italy and the Netherlands has shown the potential of a newly formed youthful three lions side. Although, despite Gareth Southgate’s satisfaction it means the proposed submission of the 23-man squad on June 4th has now become even more difficult. So with the 71 day countdown until Russia fast decreasing, here are five players that may be waiting anxiously with a phone in hand on submission day.
1. Nick Pope – Despite arriving at Burnley as third choice keeper in the summer of 2016 and beginning this season as second fiddle to Tom Heaton, Nick Pope has managed to establish himself as Sean Dyche’s number one. The ex-Charlton man has capitalised on his counterparts early season shoulder injury and has managed to rack up an impressive ten clean sheets. In fact, most Premier League fans would now argue his inclusion in the squad would be more than deserved, particularly when considering the poor from of previous England number one Joe Hart. Nevertheless, neither Pope or Hart received any minutes in the recent friendlies and it is looking likely that Southgate’s decision for a third goalkeeper in the squad will come down to the Clarets keeper or the on loan West Ham stopper.
2. Phil Jones – One of the most notable absentees of the recent internationals, Phil Jones started the season in excellent form alongside Eric Bailey in the heart of the Manchester United defence. However, since Jones began the season with sixth successive Premier League clean sheets his place in the United defence has become inconsistent. As a result of this, putting his England position at risk. In fairness, the versatile defenders career has been plagued with injury and this may be the reason for his lack of inclusion but for sure Jones will be aiming to break his way back into the Red Devil’s side in an attempt to gain his place on the plane.
3. Jamaal Lascelles – Although Jamaal Lascelles has represented various England teams at youth level, the toon fan favourite is yet to receive his call to be a full international. Indeed, the goal scoring centre-back may feel hard done by when considering a large quantity of pundits believed the 24 year old had an equally good enough chance of making the squad as Burnley defender James Tarkowski. Tarkowski however managed to bag himself his first cap in the 1-1 draw with Italy on Tuesday and now Lascelles faces an uphill battle to make a late push for a surprising inclusion in the squad while captaining Newcastle to safety.
4. Glenn Murray – After promotion to the Premier League, it seemed an incredibly risky move for Brighton to rely on 34 year old Glenn Murray to retain their place in England’s top flight. Eight months into the season and Murray’s 11 goals have given the Seagulls a real fighting chance, potentially paving the way for the veteran striker to start a late international career. Gareth Southgate himself revealed early on in his three lions reign that a players form rather than name should earn them an international call up and if Murray manages to continue his purple patch between now and the end of the season, he could indeed be handed a role in the 23.
5. Ryan Sessegnon – The youngest of the five players, aged 17, Ryan Sessegnon has been a revelation since making his introduction known during the 2016/17 season at Fulham. The impressive left footer has scored a remarkable 14 goals this season, as well as contributing 5 assists to the high flying Cottagers, helping them on their way to third position in the Championship table. So the hope is for Sessegnon – the cousin of the Beninese international footballer Stéphane Sessègnon. Is that Gareth Southgate will put his trust in youth once again. This comes after the ex-under 21’s manager included Lewis Cook in the recent friendlies. Sessegnon has already made the step up from his own age group to the under 23’s and now he could potentially go one step further and squeeze into Southgate’s Russia bound side.
Do you agree with any of the five players included AllOutFootball readers? Make sure to leave your own thoughts about who should be included in the World Cup squad below.