Gareth Southgate’s recent England squad caused quite the stir among Three Lions fans and pundits alike. There were a few surprise additions to the team and some faces missing that really didn’t warrant the snub.
It’s all making for an interesting end to the Premier League season as Southgate looks to pick his final 23-man squad. His side didn’t do themselves any harm against the Netherlands on Friday night, with the likes of Jordan Pickford, Harry Maguire and Kieran Trippier all getting ever closer to booking their spots on the plane. But who’re missing? And who could be the outside shots to make it to Russia 2018?
It was a huge shame for Jack Wilshere, who had to pull out of the recent squad due to injury. He’s worked so hard to get back into both the Arsenal and international fold and fully deserved to get a start in the heart of England’s midfield.
He’s certainly one of most pundits World Cup tips to go still if he’s fit as almost every England manager he’s played under has appreciated his quality with the ball. It’s something they could very well need, with Eric Dier, Jake Livermore and Jordan Henderson the other likely contenders for that central midfield spot.
While Gareth Southgate said he’d only pick players who were playing, it was still a surprise to see Chelsea’s Gary Cahill miss out on a place in Southgate’s recent squad. He’s struggling to get a game at Chelsea but his leadership and experience could be a valuable asset to England.
Managers of the nation do usually pick an experienced man within their squad and with only Joe Hart having more than caps than in and around the England set-up, Cahill could be the likely choice.
A lot of fans were hoping to see Glenn Murray put on an England shirt in the recent friendlies but instead Southgate opted for Danny Welbeck. What Murray offers is something different, but it will now take great courage from the manager to drop someone in place of a player who is yet to be tried or tested at international level.
The England strike force does currently look a little one dimensional though. They have Kane as an all-round talent and then on top of that just a number of pacey forwards who like to get in and behind defenders. What happens when England need to go direct? Or Southgate needs someone to hold the ball up at the other end of the pitch? It’s a worry and Murray could be the answer.
James Tarkowski was given a call up in the recent squad by Gareth Southgate and it can be argued Ben Mee deserves one just as much. The centre half places are well and truly up for grabs in this squad and Mee could be an outside bet if he continues to shine.
He’d be an ideal replacement should any injuries occur as he’s been a shining light at the heart of Burnley’s defence all season. We’re sure many would love to simply pluck both Mee and Tarkowski from the Clarets back line and place them straight into the England team they’ve been that sound defensively. Of all the players England fans may argue about being in or out of the squad, we doubt any would argue against Mee warranting a place.