England manager Gareth Southgate has announced his 26-man squad for the upcoming World Cup in Qatar.
In what is a much-anticipated tournament, Southgate has now picked the players he feels can fire the Three Lions to glory in the Middle East.
Prior to the announcement, a few players have already been ruled out due to injury. Most noticeably Chelsea duo Reece James and Ben Chilwell, who suffered knee and hamstring injuries respectively. There were also intense speculations about whether the likes of Harry Maguire and Trent Alexander-Arnold deserve a place in the squad due to their well-documented struggles so far this season.
The squad is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale, Nick Pope.
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, Harry Maguire, Ben White, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Eric Dier, Conor Coady.
Midfielders: Jude Bellingham, Mason Mount, Declan Rice, Jordan Henderson, Kalvin Phillips, Conor Gallagher.
Forwards: Phil Foden, James Maddison, Marcus Rashford, Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Jack Grealish, Bukayo Saka, Callum Wilson.
One major talking is the inclusion of Leicester City star James Maddison, who has been in fine form for the struggling Foxes this season. There were rumours circulating that the 25-year-old was going to be left out despite many fans and pundits wanting Maddison to be in. However, it looks like Southgate has been impressed by the midfielder and therefore rewarded him with a place on the plane to Qatar.
The England boss is under immense pressure to deliver due to the fact that the Three Lions set-up is packed full of young talents such as Foden, Mount and Saka. It is now up to Southgate to find the perfect formation in order to fit his best players into one team.
Image Credit: AlamyHowever, the preparations ahead of the tournament have been far from ideal after a run of six matches without a win.
England will be hoping to draw on their recent successes in previous tournaments to spur them on to go that one step further.
In the 2018 World Cup, they reached the semi-finals but were eliminated by Croatia. Last summer, the Three Lions reached the final of Euro 2020, where an agonising penalty shootout defeat against Italy prevented them from lifting the trophy.
England are in Group B for the tournament in Qatar, alongside the USA, Iran and Wales.
How far will England go? Only time will tell.