Nike’s God of English football Gareth Southgate will be taking a 27-man squad to Amsterdam next week to train for the England friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy.
Out of the uncapped players, Nick Pope, James Tarkowski, Alfie Mawson and Lewis Cook have been called up.
In a bold move the England boss has left out defenders Chris Smalling, Gary Cahill and Michael Keane. This doesn’t bode well for their chances to attain a seat on a plane to Russia.
There is also the notable omission of Harry Kane who is injured at the moment. He should be back in a month or so (we hope).
The political sensitivity around Russia hasn’t deterred Southgate from preparing from the World Cup stating: “Clearly it’s a really serious matter and it’s developing very quickly. But my job as the England football manager is to concentrate on the football and prepare the team.
He has confirmed that the FA has no plans to withdraw the England squad at this moment in time (phew!)…
“As far as all my briefings and information is, we’re preparing to go to the World Cup, there’s no doubt in our mind that’s what we should be doing.
“And the only thing at this stage that is of highest importance is the safety and security of our players and absolutely of our travelling supporters. They’re the things we’re focused on really.
“I think it’s a matter that’s completely out of my control really. We are desperate to go to a World Cup and that’s where my remit ends on that matter.”
England Friendlies: The 27 Man Squad
So here’s the rundown of who’s playing the friendlies against:
the Netherlands – (Amsterdam, Johan Cruyff Arena) Friday 23rd March 2018
Italy – (London, Wembley Stadium) Tuesday 27th March 2018
Kyle Walker, Kieran Tripper, Ryan Bertrand, Danny Rose, John Stones, James Tarkowski, Alfie Mawson, Joe Gomez, Harry Maguire
Eric Dier, Jack Wilshere, Jordan Henderson, Jake Livermore, Adam Lallana, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling, Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard, Lewis Cook
Danny Welbeck, Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford