Stewart Robson joins the FC panel to talk England’s probable World Cup starting XI and to debate just how far this squad can go in Russia.
Mark Ogden shares his thoughts on Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad and who he feels the England manager will pick to be captain in Russia.
Take a look at England’s squad ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Despite England’s recent struggles, Ian Darke and the ESPN panel are cautiously optimistic about England’s World Cup chances.
Manchester United extended their record as the only club represented in every England tournament squad as Gareth Southgate named his World Cup squad on Wednesday.
England’s squad also features 11 black, Asian and minority ethnic players — the highest number they will have taken to any major competition.
Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford make up United’s contingent in the 23-man party to travel to Russia meaning the club have been represented in every World Cup and European Championship England have appeared in, all the way back to Henry Cockburn and John Aston at the 1950 World Cup.
Their four inclusions this time around match the most players they have had in a squad — it is the seventh time in England’s last 10 tournaments they have achieved that mark.
Tottenham have the most players, five, in this year’s squad with England manager Southgate calling on full-backs Kieran Trippier and Danny Rose, midfielders Eric Dier and Dele Alli and striker Harry Kane.
Spurs, along with Liverpool, have had players in all but two England tournament squads. Spurs missed out in 2014 and Liverpool in 1986, while neither were represented back in 1954.
Liverpool are represented by Jordan Henderson and the uncapped Trent Alexander-Arnold this time around but see United nudge one ahead in overall selections, 66 to 65. Had playmaker Adam Lallana been fully fit this season it could have been different for the Reds.
They still hold the record for a single tournament with six inclusions — Glen Johnson, Steven Gerrard, Martin Kelly, Jordan Henderson, Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing at Euro 2012 and Ray Clemence, Phil Neal, Phil Thompson, David Johnson, Terry McDermott and Ray Kennedy in 1980.
The Premier League’s ‘big six’ provide 17 of the 23 players chosen by Southgate, with Kyle Walker, John Stones, Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph from champions Manchester City along with Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck and Chelsea defender Gary Cahill.
That is in line with the recent trend — the previous six tournaments saw an average of exactly 17, with a high water mark of 19 at the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2012 and a low of 15 with Spurs’ no-show in 2014. Arsenal in 2010 were the only other top club not represented in an England squad in that time.
Meanwhile, Gareth Southgate’s selection of 11 BAME players — Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Ashley Young, Raheem Sterling, Jesse Lingard, Dele Alli, Fabian Delph, Marcus Rashford, Danny Welbeck and surprise inclusions Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ruben Loftus-Cheek — means his squad is the most diverse England will have taken to a tournament.
It also represents the continuation of a notable trend in increasing representation by BAME England internationals since the turn of the century, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain only missing out through injury.