World Cup Preview - Group G
ENGLAND FIFA World Ranking: 12th
FIFA World Cup Appearances: Best Place: Winners (1) in England 1966. Possible XI: (4-4-2) Butland (GK), Walker (RB), Cahill (CB), Jones (CB), Rose (LB), Dier (CDM), Henderson (CDM), Lingard (RM), Sterling (LM), Alli (CAM), Kane (ST)
Gareth Southgate (ENG) Age 47 The man who is remembered for his penalty miss at the Euro 1996 semi-finals Southgate took over from a disgraced Sam Allardyce in September 2016 after good experience as manager of England’s U-20 team. It is no shock then when you hear that this is the youngest England team to go to any World Cup as with Southgate there, he has entrusted the players he coached in their younger years and the evidence shown so far has been a positive one with a different feel around the England camp compared to squads if the past. When appointed many claimed that Southgate got the job as was always perceived as a ‘yes man’ for the FA but it couldn’t be further for the truth, he has left a stamp on this England team and got them to play a good style of football with favourable results steering them into Russia 2018 with 8 wins and 2 draws scoring 18 goals and only conceding 3. He plays a high pressing game and has benefitted that the boys from Liverpool and Tottenham are accustomed to this style of play. Once Middlesbrough manager during the relegation season of 2009 this will be his first major tournament as international as an international coach.
Harry Kane (23 caps / 12 goals) If there was ever a modern version of the story of Roy of the Rovers then Harry Kane’s rise so far since Germany lifted at the World Cup in Brazil runs pretty close to that. During that summer night at the Maracanã Harry Kane had 5 goals to his name and was making good progress in breaking into the Tottenham first team, playing for the England U21’s under Southgate, but no one expected him to do as well as he has done. He has established himself and one of the deadliest strikers in world football, two golden boots later, and 108 Premier League goals to his name he is now the main man for England team spearheading their attack and now as he was handed the captaincy for Russia 2018. His England career got off to a similarly successful start scoring after 79 seconds when he came off the bench against Lithuania and as it stands he has scored 13 times in 23 appearances. There was concern that he may not make it to the World Cup as an injury ruled him out towards the end of the season but he made a return to the Spurs side and is now out to make history this summer.
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Raheem Sterling (37 caps / 2 goals) The Manchester City forward has had a superb season as he helped his club become Premier League champions and realised a potential he showed at Liverpool thanks largely to Pep Guardiola‘s guidance over the last two seasons. The improvement in his play is night and day to when before Pepe got there and he now possesses a scoring ability not seen by him even during his time at Liverpool the confidence can be seen when he is on the ball and this can only benefit England. His role in the team has changed slightly over the last couple of years and Southgate will use him more centrally than out on the wings (although his pace will always give that option of playing out wide) an option of paying him alongside Alli behind Kane is there. He was the focus of media unsavoury attention when he revealed a AK-47 tattoo on his leg, but was soon supported by his manager and the team with the contingent focused on what they need to do in Russia to succeed.
England haven’t won a world cup since they hosted the competition in 1966 and they haven’t come close to winning it since their run in Italia 90. Whist memories of that night still fresh in the minds of those 30 somethings England fans have since produced a ‘golden generation’, Beckham and Lampard et al, but never threatened and England have only got past the quarter finals stage once since ’66. This time around the team haven’t been blessed with the talent they had 20 years ago they do have a style of play and a sense of togetherness not seen by an England squad probably since 1990. Southgate’s experience at under-21 level has come good as many in the squad would have been under his guidance before, they now how he works and what he expects of them, so the transition up to senior level seems seamless. I do not see this England team winning it but I will go as far to say that they do have the talent good enough to get to at least the quarter finals. |If they can steer past that round there’s not reason why England can’t be considered contenders for this summer.
Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley).
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United).
Dele Alli, Eric Dier (both Tottenham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea).
Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal).