England's World Cup 2018 squad have arrived in Russia - and Gareth Southgate has claimed it has been picked to excite the nation at this summer’s tournament.
Manager Southgate revealed his 23-man squad with Adam Lallana, who is on the standby list, the big-name omission.
But Southgate believes, with the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, his young England squad offers plenty of encouragement.
“I believe this is a squad which we can be excited about,” said Southgate. “We have a lot of energy and athleticism in the team, but players that are equally comfortable in possession of the ball and I think people can see the style of play we’ve been looking to develop.
“It is a young group, but with some really important senior players so I feel the balance of the squad is good, both in terms of its experience, its character and also the positional balance.”
— Trent Arnold (@trentaa98) May 16, 2018
As revealed by Telegraph Sport earlier today, Gary Cahill is part of the squad and Liverpool teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold has also been called up, despite being uncapped at senior level.
Who made England's 23-man squad?
Here's who will feature in England's World Cup squad:
Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley).
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United).
Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea).
Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal).
Standby: Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jake Livermore (West Brom), James Tarkowski (Burnley).
Gareth Southgate decided to leave Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere at home and has picked a squad heavily-loaded with defenders, reflective of his desire to play with three centre-backs and wing-backs. Trent-Alexander-Arnold could win his first England in Russia while the inclusion of Ruben Loftus-Cheek also speaks to Southgate's bold approach. Harry Kane will captain the side.
Who is in your starting team?
England Formation Builder
Who is in England's group?
England are in Group G alongside Belgium, Tunisia and Panama.
Belgium: One of the favourites for the competition with a dazzling array of talent. England will be familiar with most of their key players: Thibuat Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku among others, all play in the Premier League. England's toughest opponent by a distance.
Tunisia: Potentially tricky opposition who will look to frustrate England. Were unbeaten in qualifying and Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri could be a danger man. Nevertheless, a team England should beat if they have aspirations to reach the latter stages.
Panama: One of the stories of the tournament, having qualified for the finals for the first time in dramatic fashion. England will be heavy favorites to swat them aside.
When do England play?
Monday June 18
Tunisia vs England (Volgograd), 7pm BST.
Sunday June 24
England vs Panama (Nizhny Novgorod), 1pm BST.
Thursday June 28
England vs Belgium (Kaliningrad), 7pm BST.
Should England progress from their group, their last-16 match will be on Monday July 2 (if they win the group) or Tuesday July 2 (if they finish runners-up in the group).
Should England progress beyond that stage, their quarter-final will either be:
Friday 6 July
Winner match 53 vs Winner match 54 - Kazan, 7pm BST.
Saturday 7 July
Winner match 55 vs Winner match 56 - Samara, 3pm BST.
World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more
And the rest...
Tuesday 10 July
Winner match 57 vs Winner match 58 - St Petersburg, 7pm BST.
Wednesday 11 July
Winner match 59 vs Winner match 60 - Moscow (Luzhniki), 7pm BST.
Third place play-off
Saturday 14 July
Loser match 61 vs Loser match 62 - St Petersburg, 3pm BST.
Sunday 15 July
Moscow (Luzhniki), 4pm BST.
How will England line-up - and what are their tactics?
JJ Bull explains how crucial the wing-backs will be to Gareth Southgate's campaign in Russia.
What happened in 2014?
England were eliminated in the group stages with just one point and two goals to show from their two games. They were beaten 2-1 by Italy in their opening game despite an encouraging performance, before Luis Suarez's goal confirmed their exit in the second match against Uruguay. A dead rubber against Costa Rica finished goalless.
What is Gareth Southgate saying?
“The selection process has been over months really, it’s not just been the last few weeks,” said Southgate. “We feel the team are improving and we want to continue that momentum.
“The first call up for Trent Alexander-Arnold is well deserved. When we pick young players, it’s not just because they are young, it’s because their performances deserve it.
“We’ve also had a couple of injuries with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez, which is a huge blow for them personally and disappointing for us.”
Goalkeeper Joe Hart, midfielder Jack Wilshere and left-back Ryan Bertrand have all been omitted and not placed on Southgate’s five-man standby list that includes Lallana, Tom Heaton, Jake Livermore James Tarkowski and Lewis Cook.
“Ryan and Joe have played a lot over the last two years so they’re not decisions we took lightly. I could’ve had easier conversations by keeping them involved,” said Southgate, whose goalkeepers are Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland and Nick Pope.
“With Joe, we’ve got three other goalkeepers who have had very good seasons and the decision I was faced with was do I keep Joe in and have experience around the group? Or give the three guys who have basically had a better season a chance? We felt the players all needed to be in on merit after their performances this season.
“Ryan is also very unfortunate in that it’s probably one of the strongest positions we have. Ryan has had a decent season, but I just felt the others were ahead of him.
“Both calls were really tough. They’re both good guys and have contributed a lot throughout qualification, so it wasn’t an enjoyable part of the job and I feel it’s important to acknowledge their contribution in getting us to Russia.”
Lallana has not started a Liverpool game since the beginning of March and Southgate has decided the 30-year-old cannot be risked.
He is on Southgate’s list of standbys in case of injuries, but Lallana will be devastated not to be among the 23 players guaranteed a place on the plane.
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Southgate tried to offer some consolation by saying: “History tells us that one of those standby players may end up in the squad, as it’s very unusual for us to get through the end of the season and our two preparation games without any issues.
“All of the guys on standby have been really professional in their approach to this. They recognise there’s still an opportunity and we’ve had a lot of conversations over a period of time with them about their situation.”
And here is how the squad was announced on May 16:
Wonder what the voicemail said...
— Kyle Walker (@kylewalker2) May 16, 2018
You picked largely the same players as Southgate
Telegraph readers agree with all but three of Southgate’s choices
Using our unique squad selector tool over the last few months, our readers chose their preferred 23 England players to go to Russia. As it turns out, more than 50 per cent of you wanted 20 of Southgate's 23 on the plane. The majority of you, however, did not pick Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Danny Welbeck or Fabian Delph.
An inexperienced squad
The 23 players have just 449 caps between them - an average of 19.5, which isn't very many at all.
They also have just three tournament goals between the lot of them: Danny Welbeck at Euro 2012, and Jamie Vardy and Eric Dier at Euro 2016.
Maybe Southgate is taking Gary Linker's advice and building for future competitions.
— Dele (@dele_official) May 16, 2018
Ashley Young achieves a dream
Maybe this picture said I was gonna live my dream and go to a World Cup... dreams do come true ���������� pic.twitter.com/kSM8VORdp0
— Ashley Young (@youngy18) May 16, 2018
— Bury Town F.C. (@BuryTownFC) May 16, 2018
Lovely stuff, Marcus Rashford
After years of you standing on the touch line in the cold and rain, Mum we're off to the World Cup! ������ pic.twitter.com/JOCj5oBCtN
— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) May 16, 2018
Only five players in Southgate's 23-man squad from the 23 picked by Hodgson for 2014: Cahill, Jones, Henderson, Welbeck, Sterling. As comparison, 12 from 2006 WC squad were picked in 2010
— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) May 16, 2018
By the way
This is how the England squad was announced before the list was published in full:
— England (@England) May 16, 2018
These five players are on the reserve list:
Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski, Lewis Cook, Jake Livermore and Adam Lallana
No Adam Lallana in the squad
Danny Welbeck and Ruben Loftus-Cheek make the cut
Jake Livermore misses out
Plenty of options at centre-back, with Cahill, Jones, Maguire, Stones, Dier and Walker selected.
Squad in full
Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young
Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck, Jamie Vardy
The England squad is here
Not long now
If that 2pm estimate was correct for the squad announcement, then we will know England's World Cup squad very, very soon indeed.
There is a sudden surge of excitement on Twitter after Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey posted this picture. Take note of the 'Humble Lion' caption.
���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X
— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018
Jamaica-born Bailey is one of the Bundesliga's most exciting players, and there had been rumours he may qualify through his grandparents, two of whom have British passports.
Fifa rules state that a player can only qualify to play for a country if their grandparents were born in that country which, as far as my research tells me, is not the case for Bailey, meaning he would not qualify to play for England.
NB: There is a chance I am wrong about this.
Jack makes other plans
���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X
— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018
So, what's still up in the air?
There is a core group of players who will definitely be in the squad, and after this morning's revelations, there are only a few spots still up for grabs.
There is probably a centre-back spot that will be contested by Harry Maguire and Phil Jones. Cahill's inclusion could suggest Southgate will go with experience in defence (favouring Jones), but having already picked Cahill he may want a younger player (favouring Maguire).
Adam Lallana will probably make the cut, but he has only played 235 minutes of Premier League football all season, so you could understand why Southgate might have reservations. His recent run of injuries will also mean that, if he is named, the back-up midfielders will be on high alert.
Support for Ruben Loftus-Cheek's inclusion has gathered pace. Will he make the cut or will Southgate go left-field with his final midfielder?
Danny Welbeck will likely be included, but that isn't certain by any stretch.
Make football come home
Why not have some fun mapping out England's path to glory with our predictor tool?
World Cup predictor
It's all go today
There has been a fair bit of bemusement about Wilshere's omission (not least from this journalist), but the decisions to take Cahill and Alexander-Arnold will be widely supported, I reckon. Some experience and some youth: Southgate is pleasing everyone.
Exclusive: Cahill and Alexander-Arnold are on the plane
Gary Cahill has been named in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man England World Cup squad that will be officially revealed later today.
And Liverpool teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold has also been called up, despite being uncapped at senior level.
You can read the full story here.
Not long now
Today is the day: England's squad for the 2018 World Cup will be announced this afternoon.
Everyone has their own opinion over how the final 23 should look, but the only one that matters is that of Gareth Southgate. Here's me trying to second guess the England manager:
England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked
We think the squad will be named around 2pm, so there's a little time to wait yet - and plenty of time to discuss Southgate's options.
He has already let Wilshere, Hart and Bertrand know that they won't be going to Russia, which leaves two outfield spots free (presuming Nick Pope goes as third-choice goalkeeper).
Will Ruben Loftus-Cheek sneak in? Will Danny Welbeck go to another major tournament? Is there any chance of a complete curveball in the shape of someone like Ryan Sessegnon or Ademola Lookman?
Let's see what Southgate decides.