May 24, 2018

Gareth Southgate favours form over experience for Russian Federation

17 May 2018, 02:51 | Ken Black

Few Surprises in Gareth Southgate's England World Cup Squad

Joe Hart West Ham

Campbell won 73 caps for the Three Lions over an 11-year period and played in three World Cup tournaments.

Trent Alexander-Arnold is 19, still lives with his mother, and was playing in Liverpool's reserve team this time a year ago.

Another of the younger players, Manchester United's Rashford, posted a picture of his mother, Melanie, with the following tribute: "After years of you standing on the touchline in the cold and rain, Mum we're off to the World Cup!".

But nobody had Ashley Young beaten for nostalgia, the United player tweeting this 1990's picture of himself in an old Umbro shirt, complete with shorts and socks.

Defenders: Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ashley Young (Manchester United), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Leicester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur). Only two players are over the age of 30, and only one player has more than 38 caps.

The 26-year-old allayed fitness concerns by playing 38 matches for the Gunners this year - his most in a season since 2010-11.

"The first call-up for Trent Alexander-Arnold is well deserved. They're both good guys and have contributed a lot throughout qualification, so it wasn't an enjoyable part of the job and I feel it's important to acknowledge their contribution in getting us to Russian Federation".

Having returned to the Chelsea first-team after he was left out of Southgate's squad for the March friendlies against Italy and Holland, Cahill was recalled at the expense of Burnley's James Tarkowski who was one of five players on the standby list along with Bournemouth's Lewis Cook, West Brom's Jake Livermore, Burnley's Tom Heaton and Liverpool's Adam Lallana.

"I believe this is a squad which we can be excited about", said Southgate. "But it doesn't mean anything, really, because we have to keep improving as a team", Southgate told ESPN when asked what he would see as a successful World Cup. "When we pick young players, it's not just because they are young, it's because their performances deserve it".

Southgate explained that he had been picking the squad for months rather than the past two weeks, and it shows how far Wilshere was out of the running that, while Hart and Southampton left-back Ryan Bertrand were given explanations, the Arsenal midfielder was not even mentioned.

Premier League champions Manchester City and runners-up Manchester United both have four representatives.

England kick-off their group stage campaign against Tunisia in Volgograd on at 7pm on 18 June, before facing Panama on 24 June and Belgium on 28 June.

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