Kane IN, Rooney OUT - How is England's 2018 World Cup squad shaping up?

Sporting News

England may only have played four of their 10 qualifying matches for the 2018 World Cup, but as with many of these campaigns the Three Lions are well on their way to securing their place in Russia.

Ahead of Sunday's match against Lithuania they sit atop of Group F and looking comfortable to qualify for their sixth straight World Cup.

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But who will be the 23 players who will represent the country once Gareth Southgate likely gets there? The new manager has just over a year to assess his players's capabilities, and he has already shown he is not shy of making controversial decisions.

As such,Goalhas run down which players should be ensuring their passports are in date and who can probably start making holiday plans for summer 2018...


Dele Alli England
Dele Alli England

Despite the World Cup still being over a year away, there are a number of players for whom only injury would end their dream of representing the Three Lions in Russia.

Joe Harthas been able to maintain his spot as the team's undisputed No.1 despite his loan move away from the Premier League, whileKyle WalkerandDanny Roseare miles ahead as first-choice full-backs.

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Elsewhere in defence,Gary Cahill, Chris SmallingandJohn Stonesall look assured of places in the squad, even if they fail to make the starting XI.

Further forward,Eric DierandJordan Hendersonare likely to be the primary options in central midfield, with Adam Lallana, Raheem SterlingandDele Alliahead of them.

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Jamie Vardy England
Jamie Vardy England

Behind Hart in the goalkeeping stakes,Jack Butland, Fraser ForsterandTom Heatonare his likeliest deputies, though one will be forced to remain at home if there are no injuries.

Nathaniel ClyneandRyan Bertrand have moved clear as back-up full-backs, while in midfield it would be surprising not to seeJesse LingardandRoss Barkleyin Southgate's squad should they maintain their recent good form.

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Jamie VardyandMarcus Rashford, too, will have to have catastrophic years not to be entrusted with places alongside Kane in the group of strikers.


Michael Keane England
Michael Keane England

Due to the uncertainties over England squads in recent years, there are a whole host of players who will remain part of Southgate's thinking as next summer's tournament moves ever closer.

Jordan Pickford'sform for Sunderland has seen him earn senior call-ups already this season, whileMichael Keaneimpressed ondebut against Germany.Middlesbrough'sBen Gibsonalso holds an outside chance of selection after being called-up for Sunday's qualifier against Lithuania.

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Nathan Redmond, James Ward-ProwseandJake Livermoreare all also in the current squad and as such can be hopeful of being in the running, while a real outside shot could be current England Under 19s captainTom Daviesfollowing his impressive start to life in the Everton first team.

At the other end of the scale,Jermain Defoe'sreturn to the international fold this month means he cannot be discounted if he continues to bang the goals in with regularity, while Michail Antonioremains an option out wide.


Theo Walcott England
Theo Walcott England

While there are a number of players who can be confident of places on the plane next June, the same cannot be said of a few experienced faces who seem to have slipped down the pecking order.

Phil Jones'sinjury and departure from the current squad means he remains on the outside looking in whileLuke Shawarguably needs more minutes at Manchester United to earn himself a place in the final 23.Leighton Bainesremains a bigoutsider despite previoustournament experience.

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In midfield, bothJack WilshereandAlex Oxlade-Chamberlainmay need to secure permanent moves away from Arsenal to get the game time they need to be considered, whileTheo Walcott'srecent omission suggests he still has more to prove despite a decent season at the Emirates Stadium.

Up front is where there is perhaps the most intrigue, with huge question marks over whetherWayne Rooneycan do enough to earn a swansong in Russia given his dwindling returns for both club and country, whileDaniel SturridgeandAndy Carrollwill likely have to prove their long-term fitness despite their goalscoring pedigree.

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