Gareth Southgate keeps the faith – the numbers behind England’s World Cup squad

Gareth Southgate named England’s 26-man World Cup squad on Thursday, 11 days ahead of their tournament opener against Iran.

Here, the PA news agency looks at how Southgate’s selection compares with previous squads, and which players are most likely to be battling fatigue.

Southgate counts on tournament experience

Southgate has remained loyal to the players who led England to the Euro 2020 final 17 months ago, with 19 of the 26-man squad retained for the trip to Qatar.

The retention rate of 73 per cent is the highest for any England side between major tournaments.

England players celebrate
The majority of players that reached the Euro 2020 final are on the plane to Qatar (Mike Egerton/PA)

The average age of Southgate’s squad has risen to 27 – from just over 25 last summer – which is the oldest since Fabio Capello’s selection for the 2010 World Cup.

The total number of caps (820) averages out at 32 per player – also the highest since 2010.

As a result, England’s squad has a wealth of tournament experience, 22 of the 26 (85 per cent) have been to a World Cup or a European Championship before.

Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson will be playing in his sixth major tournament, tying the England record alongside Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Sol Campbell.

Meanwhile, Chelsea’s Raheem Sterling is heading to his fifth at the age of just 27 – a feat only bettered by Michael Owen, who had been to three World Cups and two European Championships as a 26-year-old.

Newcastle players feature for first time since 2006

Newcastle's Callum Wilson
Newcastle’s Callum Wilson has not played for England since October 2019 (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Newcastle’s form under Eddie Howe is reflected by a renewed presence in the England squad.

The Magpies have three players heading to a major tournament with England for the first time since 1998, with Callum Wilson joining Nick Pope and Kieran Trippier in the 26 on the back of his impressive club performances.

They follow in the footsteps of Alan Shearer, David Batty and Rob Lee, who made Glenn Hoddle’s cut ahead of France 1998.

Newcastle had been on a barren spell of representation at international level, with Owen in 2006 the last player to make a tournament squad.

Elsewhere, Premier League champions Manchester City account for the most players in Southgate’s group, with five: John Stones, Kyle Walker, Kalvin Phillips, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden.

There are 11 clubs represented in all, with Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal tied with Newcastle on three players, Tottenham, Liverpool and Everton all contributing two, and West Ham, Leicester and Borussia Dortmund sending one apiece.

Kane running on fumes

Harry Kane applauds
Harry Kane has started every game this season for club and country (PA)

Some of Southgate’s players have accumulated a lot of playing time already this season, none more so than captain Harry Kane.

Kane – described as “really, really tired” by Antonio Conte after the Carabao Cup defeat by Nottingham Forest on Tuesday – has started all 23 matches for club and country since Tottenham’s season began on August 6, just 96 days ago.

As skipper for club and country, he has played 97 per cent of possible minutes and has been substituted just four times – on Tuesday night in the Carabao Cup and three times late on during Premier League matches.

(PA graphic)
(PA graphic)

Kane is one of three England players – alongside Tottenham team-mate Eric Dier and Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham – to have amassed more than 2,000 minutes in 2022-23.

No one else in the squad has passed 1,800 minutes.

At the other end of the scale, Kalvin Phillips’ shoulder injury and the form of Rodri has limited him to only four substitute appearances for Manchester City, amounting to a total of just 68 minutes.

(PA graphic)
(PA graphic)

Harry Maguire – like Phillips – has arguably been picked on the back of his performances in last year’s run to the Euro 2020 final.

He has just 660 minutes to his name for Manchester United in this campaign, of which only 305 have come in the Premier League.