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World Cup 2018

England dreaming of World Cup glory in Russia

England have named their 23-man squad for this summer’s World Cup in Russia and manager Gareth Southgate has certainly not been afraid to make some big calls.

Goalkeeper Joe Hart and midfielder Jack Wilshere have been left out, along with left-back Ryan Bertrand.

Uncapped Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold is in the squad, while there are also places for Nick Pope and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

England start their Group G campaign against Tunisia on June 18, before games against Panama and Belgium.

The Three Lions are priced at 16/1 to win the tournament and you can use this free World Cup bet to wager on the outcome.

Read on as we look at England’s squad and assess their chances of success this summer.

Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley).

Joe Hart’s exclusion is the biggest news, although the stopper shouldn’t be surprised after a woeful season with West Ham United. Pickford is likely to be first choice in Russia, although there’s probably little to choose between the trio of goalkeepers selected.

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester City), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Man City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham), Kyle Walker (Man City), Ashley Young (Man United).

The selection of Alexander-Arnold at just 19-years-old underlines Southgate’s confidence in the nation’s younger players. Left-back Young is deservedly included after an impressive season with United. Cahill’s experience will prove useful and Kyle Walker’s versatility will come in handy, but Rose’s inclusion ahead of Bertrand is a surprise after his injury troubles.

Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Man United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea).

There were calls for Jonjo Shelvey to be included, but for all the fuss about his passing ability the Newcastle United playmaker has created just three goals this season and his omission is the correct decision. Wilshere’s suspect fitness has seen him left out, meaning England will rely on Alli, Lingard and Loftus-Cheek to provide creativity from midfield.

Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Man United), Raheem Sterling (Man City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal).

There were no real surprises up front, with Theo Walcott failing to make much impression at Everton and injury-prone Daniel Sturridge out of the running. Kane will undoubtedly lead the line, while Vardy, Sterling and Rashford are useful impact players to have in the squad.

England tournament preview

England will be playing at their sixth consecutive World Cup this summer and they are aiming to progress beyond the last 16 for the first time since 2006.

An opening group of Belgium, Tunisia and Panama should hold no fears for the Three Lions.

If England can win the group they will be pitted against the runner-up from Group H in the last 16. Their likely opponents would be either Poland or Colombia and both are the sort of sides England are capable of beating.

Things get trickier in the quarter-finals, with Brazil possibly lying in wait, although a 0-0 draw in a friendly back in November showed that England can make things difficult for the Samba Kings.

Spain, France and Portugal are possible opponents in the last four, but looking that far ahead is probably unwise given England’s woes at major tournaments in recent times.

A place in the last eight is likely to be the limit of what England will achieve at the World Cup – anything beyond that would be viewed as major bonus.

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