The sad faces after England’s final group game in the UEFA Nations League against Germany said it all. Things are not going well for the Three Lions and with the 2022 World Cup fast approaching, there are very many questions on how it will be with England at the tournament.
England have gone through a winless run in the Nations League, ending in relegation to League B and a lot of lessons to take home. They’ve been poor both in defence and in attack, leaving many of the team’s fans wondering how it all got here after reaching advanced stages of the last two major competitions.
As things stand, with the World Cup just about two months away, there isn’t a lot of confidence that the World Cup tips and predictions on SportyTrader will favor England, who are drawn in the same group as Iran, USA and Wales. They may get out of this group but after that, things will definitely get thick.
The spotlight now is on manager Gareth Southgate, and a lot of focus will be on who he chooses to go with to this competition.
For starters, unless Jordan Pickford sustains an injury, there is little doubt he will be left out. Southgate also seems to have settled on his understudies. We expect Nick Pope and Aaron Ramsdale to deputize.
In defence, one player whose England future seems uncertain as far as Gareth South Gate is at the helm, is Liverpool’s Trent Alexander Arnold. He was overlooked ahead of the Germany game and while he is great in attack, there have been concerns over his defensive performances. Harry Maguire is another defender facing uncertain times after struggling a lot this season. At his club he rarely starts, but Southgate has stuck with him as a starter, yet he isn’t doing himself any favors, with costly errors, like the ones against Germany.
Southgate has a very wide pool of defenders to choose from, with Ben White, Fikayo Tomori, Reece James, John Stones, Tyrone Mings all available for selection.
In midfield, Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson looks good to go, with his performances, experience and leadership. He served well in the Euro 2020 finals, alongside Declan Rice and at some point, with Kalvin Phillips. Barring injury he should be the first among defensive midfielders. Rice and Mason Mount should also be straightforward considerations.
Just like in defence, Southgate will be spoilt for choice in midfield too. Jude Bellingham has done enough to prove he deserves a spot while Bukayo Saka would do with a little more improvement. Liverpool’s Harvey Elliot will offer a good option in attack and James Maddison may also be in the coach’s radar despite Leicester City’s poor start to the season.
The forward line seems to pick itself out. Harry Kane is definitely in; the team skipper and Tottenham Hotspur forward has been one of the most consistent players in the team and Southgate will only worry about who teams up with him in attack. Southgate has a particular liking for Raheem Sterling, which places the Chelsea forward in a good position to head to the competition while Phil Foden has worked for his place in the team. Jack Grealish may still have a lot to prove and Tammy Abraham will be hoping for a good run with Roma, to attract Southgate’s consideration.
Ollie Watkins, Ivan Toney, Jarrod Bowen and Marcus Rashford are others who will be crossing fingers for call ups.