With the World Cup just around the corner, we’re very nearly at the exciting stage of squad announcements.
Surprise inclusions and outrageous omissions provide the drama football fans live for in the build up to major tournaments and, with plenty of options for Gareth Southgate to ponder over, we could see a few eyebrow-raisers in England’s squad announcement for Qatar.
But when is it?
Southgate will announce the players he’ll be taking on the plane to the 2022 World Cup on Thursday 10 November, with a deadline for announcements set for 13 November.
You can watch the official announcement of Southgate’s World Cup squad live on Sky Sports from 12:00 (GMT) on 10 November.
Contrary to previous lists of 23 players, Southgate will be able to name a 26-man squad for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar due to the unprecedented mid-season format of the tournament.
Even with such little time to go until the beginning of the Three Lions’ World Cup campaign, there is still uncertainty over what 26 players will actually be on the plane.
What players will England take to the World Cup?
Eyebrows will be raised whoever dons the gloves for England, with Aaron Ramsdale, Nick Pope, Jordan Pickford and even Dean Henderson all vying for the starting spot between the sticks – with only three goalkeeping inclusions expected.
Injuries to Reece James and Ben Chilwell have opened up spaces in Southgate’s defensive options, while doubts over Kyle Walker’s readiness for the group stage puts his inclusion in doubt as well. The likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben White and Marc Guehi might profit from those unfortunate injuries, but the omission of regularly performing defenders such as Fikayo Tomori would no doubt also cause widespread contention.
Meanwhile, Kalvin Phillips – England’s Player of the Year in 2021 after a brilliant EURO 2020 performance – is a doubt having suffered an injury-stricken start to his Manchester City career, while the performances of James Maddison – and even those of players such as Eberechi Eze – in James Ward-Prowse’s comparatively subdued form have certainly given Southgate much to think about.
The Three Lions’ offensive options should represent less of a dilemma for Southgate, although calls for Marcus Rashford’s reintroduction and the choice between the likes of Ivan Toney, Callum Wilson and Tammy Abraham as Harry Kane’s deputy don’t offer simple tasks for the England boss.
Whoever is included in Southgate’s 26-man list, England commence their 2022 World Cup campaign on 21 November as they take on Iran in Group B – one day after Qatar face Ecuador in the tournament’s official curtain-raiser.