The World Cup is once again upon us and just like every year you sense that the country is lacking in optimism. Well, you can’t blame anyone, being knocked out the Euros 2 years ago by no other than Iceland is sure to be at the forefront of most fans minds. But, we have a new manager in Gareth Southgate, a man who has also been there on the big stage as a player… and failed. Okay, let’s try and be a bit more positive, since taking over at the helm back in November 2016 from a certain Sam Allardyce, due to Allardyce failing to keep his fingers out of all the pies and subsequently losing his job after 67 days. He has gone onto produce a record of 10 wins, 6 draws and 2 losses*, giving him a win percentage of 52.9%. Now, many would argue that England always walk through the qualifiers and friendlies, the real problems occur in tournaments. But then again, you can’t say he’s done a bad job in the process.
One may say, that this group of players has vastly improved since the tragedy of Euro 2016, the likes of Raheem Sterling has started to for fill his potential, thriving under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. Harry Kane has continued to deliver for Spurs, the first season out of the last 3 where he hasn’t taken home the golden boot, deservedly earning him the captain’s armband for Russia. There’s no denying we have attacking threat, but the question is do we have the Terry Butchers in that dressing room? Or the genius of a Paul Gascoigne? Hm, let’s look at the selected 23-man squad:
23 Man Squad
Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland, Nick Pope.
Kieran Trippier, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Danny Rose, Ashley Young.
Raheem Sterling, Jesse Lingard, Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph, Eric Dier, Dele Ali, Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane (C), Marcus Rashford, Danny Welbeck.
Viral World Predicted Starting XI
Here at Viral World, we have created a prediction of the most likely starting XI that Gareth Southgate will select, let us know in the comments what you think!
Jordan Pickford – 3 Caps*
Many tipping the £30 million Everton man to take the number 1 spot at this World Cup due to him starting the majority of the last few games. Claiming the player of the season award at the end of the 2017/18 campaign, albeit playing in an underperforming Everton side. It certainly wouldn’t be a shock to see him between the sticks.
Kieran Trippier – 7 Caps*
There’s no question that Kyle Walker’s departure to Manchester City last summer was the making of Kieran Tripper, with just 6 caps at the age of 27 it seems that his international career is finally underway. Now one of the first men on the team sheet at spurs, he will be looking to cement himself in that wing back position for England over the world cup.
Kyle Walker – 35 Caps*
Now, the reason Tripper may have a chance of making himself England’s number one right back is although this is Walker’s primary position, Southgate has chosen to deploy him at centre back as part of a 3-man defence of recent. This is the likely formation heading into the tournament. Regarded as England’s best defender, and after an exceptional first season in Manchester, Walker will be looking to keep up the impressive form.
John Stones – 26 Caps*
On the back of winning the Premier League title and Capital One Cup, John Stones saw his first real taste of silverware and now has the perfect opportunity to add to that at this world cup. He drifted in and out of Guardiola’s teams last season but for England, you’d expect him to be in the starting line-up often, with Southgate a great believer in playing from the back.
Gary Cahill – 60 Caps*
Gary Cahill will land in Russia as England highest capped player, you simply can’t knock his experience. Southgate will look to Cahill to marshal the back five, as a successful captain at Chelsea, Cahill will be crucial to keeping the defence tight and compact, he will take winning the FA Cup at the end of last season in as a little confidence booster!
Ashley Young – 4 Caps*
Well, if someone had said to you 12 months ago that Ashley Young would be on the plane to the World Cup you’d have laughed. A once blistering winger with incredible crossing/shooting ability has been pulled from the scraps left by Louis Van Gaal at Man United by Jose Mourinho. Young has paved himself into United’s left back position and has had an excellent season, a solid defender who can still bomb forward to support the attack, leading many to tip him over Danny Rose.
Eric Dier – 26 Caps*
This guy has been a solid Premier League footballer ever since he stepped onto the pitch for the first time with Spurs, he is rarely overlooked for both Spurs and England and that speaks for itself. You could say we don’t really have another English player who fits that deep midfield role, but they’d have to be pretty good to get ahead of Dier. He’ll be looking to get off to a bang at this summers world cup just like at the Euros when he curled a wonderful freekick into the top corner against Russia.
Jordan Henderson – 39 Caps*
You need leaders in your team to win and there’s no doubt that Gareth Southgate is a great admirer of the Liverpool Captain. Henderson has established himself as someone the younger lads can look up to, effective at playing it simple and calming the play while finding killer balls through the line. He’ll be hoping to put the disappointment of the Champions League Final behind him and looking forward to Russia.
Dele Alli – 25 Caps*
Remember talking about needing a Paul Gascoigne? Well, this is as close as it gets, Dele burst onto the scene at Spurs in his first Premier League season in 2015/2016, scoring 10 goals in 33 appearances and hasn’t looked back. Dele is arguably the only one in the England midfield who can produce that stroke of magic out of nothing, remember that goal against Crystal Palace? Yeah, that one.
Raheem Sterling – 38 Caps*
Raheem Sterling produced his best goal scoring season last campaign, notching 23 goals in all competitions. His pace and trickery proved too much for many defences he faced last season, the big question is can he adapt his game to the England set-up? Because if he can, this could be a very special tournament for Sterling and England, his versatility could be crucial to unlocking the doors of defences.
Harry Kane – 24 Caps*
“Captain, Leader, Harry Kane…he’s one of our own!” Just as well too, because if he wasn’t, we wouldn’t stand a chance in terms of competing with the favourites for the World Cup. Every team who aims to win a major tournament needs a world class player and in Harry Kane, we certainly have that. Kane will have the weight of the country on his shoulders as he leads the 3 lions out and he isn’t one for crumbling under pressure!
*As of 8/06/2018