bit of a surprise.
England manager Gareth Southgate released the 23 names in his World Cup squad and for some unknown reason he’s actually done what previous managers have all promised but failed to do, for the most part.
Every England manager has claimed when they first got the job that they would only pick players who were playing, in form and fully fit. All of them ended up picking their favourites no matter how unfit, out of form or infrequently they got a game for their club.
Southgate has come about as close to doing it as any before him, going further than I thought he would.
So Southgate named his squad and has left out the likes of Joe Hart, Jack Wilshere, while Adam Lallana is on standby and uncapped 19 year old Trent Alexander-Arnold is included.
The thing is Southgate is getting all this praise for just dropping players who had no right being considered in the first place but even then he’s picked some that are still in that category while desperately hoping others can join in.
It’s amazing that some people thought that Joe Hart should be going along as the third choice keeper. Apparently the squad needs a senior presence, some experience. But what would the experience of being useless at previous tournaments bring to this squad, never mind being useless all season for his club, on the rare occasions he played?
Hart isn’t the third best English keeper in the country, in fact he’s the worst record of any England keeper, saves wise, in the league this season. Hell, it’s second worst of all keepers, never mind the country. Pope has been outstanding and quite frankly is probably had the better season of the three that Southgate has picked. Everton have shipped goals, some of which Pickford has helped in , while Butland went down with Stoke.
Wilshere struggled to get in a team that were inept, while always being an injury liability. While Lallana, there’s Southgate’s Brian Robson. You know he’s desperate to take the Liverpool player who has featured in just 14 games for his club this season managing to play a total of 396 minutes… i.e not even four and a half full games. He can’t go, no matter who falls out of the squad before it has to be finalised, it’s far too much of a risk.
The thing is he hasn’t got rid of all the old rot. Cahill is still there, poncing out of blocking shots, when he can get a game at his club. While Young and Delph are included. Why?
Someone from Burnley could take Cahill’s spot, Tarkowski is on the standby list, while Mee has been excellent over the last couple of seasons in the Premier League. He can also cover at left-back, the position those other two dolts have taken up for their clubs recently. Well, why not take Ryan Sessegnon. He’s been outstanding, yes a league down but who cares about that. He can cover left-back and left-wing. Him and Mee instead of Cahill, Young and Delph, you can then add another attacker.
Well, you take out Welbeck – who with 20 minutes here, twenty minutes there for his club, didn’t deserve his seat on the plane – and you’ve two attacking spots. And as you’ve signalled that kids is the way to go, why not pick some kids.
Lookman did the right thing for himself and England in getting away from Sam Allardyce at Everton. Heading to another country and playing first team football in a quality league. at Leipzig he managed the same amount of league goals in 11 games since his January loan, that Welbeck managed all season.
While at Dortmund Jadon Sancho, another who took the plunge to head to Germany for a better chance to play regularly, finished off the season well. Certainly didn’t look out of place when he got game time during the rest of the season.
These two have shown some bottle to head to foreign parts to advance their game by actually featuring for a top side, rather than take the money and sit on the bench as so many English youngsters with a bit of talent do. Risk should bring some reward.
Sessegnon, Lookman, Sancho have all played at England youth level – as has Mee – they would be far better inclusions than Cahill, Young, Delph and Welbeck. Past failures. This isn’t picking Walcott in ’06, these guys are playing.
But then does it all really matter that much, after all you know Southgate is gonna hinder England with his god awful passing it about at the back and Jordan Henderson in the middle of the park.