England’s official 26-man squad for the Qatar World Cup was announced this afternoon, November 10. Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate’s decisions were revealed at 2pm and there has been plenty of discussion over some central defensive omissions, including for an Aston Villa star.
Those who missed out but were in strong contention are AC Milan’s Fikayo Tomori, Villa’s Tryone Mings and Brighton & Hove Albion captain Lewis Dunk. Southgate, speaking after the squad was revealed, announced to the media why he picked the likes of Harry Maguire, Eric Dier and Conor Coady instead.
“We’ve picked our more experienced defenders,” Southgate said. “We think our younger defenders have top quality but they’ve not quite done enough to push out the more experienced ones. [Maguire] is one of our best centre backs.
“We know within the squad we’ve got a lot of players who have been at tournaments performed at the level and know what’s required. We have other players in form right at this moment and we are away of that - but we have to reach a balance when picking this team.
“In this day and age the squad is the most important than every, we now have five substitutes which means we can make many changes per game. We want different options for different moments in matches and in the tournament.
“We’ve had to cover a couple of players who aren’t fully fit. Having 26 available made us able to maybe make a couple of risks that we wouldn’t have been able to, had we picked just 23. We have the balance and cover - albeit lighter in depth in some positions. But we think we have everything covered.”
Tomori’s omission is perhaps the most contentious in a defensive sense, but Villa ace Mings not making the squad is also of real note. The 29-year-old didn’t get the season underway in the best manner, struggling along with the then-Steven Gerrard-led squad, but he has really improved since.
Mings starred as the Lions beat Manchester United in the Premier League last week and has been one of few players to put out consistently decent displays despite a disappointing start to the campaign. He also ticks the box of having the experience Southgate is looking for having made 17 appearances for England - scoring two goals.
Tomori meanwhile - well, he has been outstanding for Milan in Serie A and arguably deserves a place on the plane ahead of many that did make the squad. Unfortunately for Brighton fans, Dunk probably didn’t stand too much of a chance despite his consistency and clear talent.
England 2022 World Cup squad in full
Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Newcastle), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal).
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Conor Coady (Everton), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City).
Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Conor Gallagher (Crystal Palace), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City), Declan Rice (West Ham).
Forwards: Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham), James Maddison (Leicester), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Chelsea), Callum Wilson (Newcastle).
What are England’s World Cup fixtures?
The Three Lions’ first Group B game, against Iran, kicks off at 1pm on Monday, November 21. They then take on the USA on November 25, before rounding off the group stage with a heated fixture vs Wales on November 29.