• Dan Tracey


Gareth Southgate

With the beginning of the 2022 World Cup qualifying process getting underway later this month, the focus once again returns to those who are fortunate enough to manage an international side and one of that select group, is none other than Gareth Southgate.

The former Crystal Palace and Aston Villa defender led the Three Lions to the last four of the previous World Cup and although there was an element of national heartbreak after defeat to Croatia, it is fair to say that pride in the side was restored.

However, there is a sense that this pride has perhaps been dented over the past few England showings and although the overall level of football has been functional, it has been far from fantastic.

With the European Championships on the horizon, this is something that manager Southgate will look to address and with March’s triple-header of international action coming up first, he will hope that his England side can iron out the recent kinks that have appeared.

While in doing so, he has also re-introduced a trio of previous internationals and on the evidence of recent performances, you would have to say that the recall of all three in question, is nothing short than richly deserved.

The first of those, is John Stones and with the defender playing a pivotal role in Manchester City’s gallop to the Premier League title and who knows maybe even Champions League success also, the former Everton man will now look to regain an England starting berth.

Which is the same remit for fellow Manchester based defender Luke Shaw and with the left back impressing for United this season, it has been quite the turnaround for a player who looked set to lose his Red Devils starting place to Alex Telles.

Telles’ arrival from Porto asked questions regarding Shaw and his chances of earning precious minutes this season. However, the former Southampton defender has been a class apart for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his efforts have now been rewarded.

While when it comes to rewards, that can certainly be said of Jesse Lingard’s situation. Part of the squad that helped England reach the Semi-finals in Russia and a big part of that; the midfielder was in danger of becoming a forgotten man.

However, since making a loan move to West Ham at the start of the year, his career has been rejuvenated in an instant and with that, Gareth Southgate has decided to install him into the latest England squad.

While here is the squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson (Manchester United), Sam Johnstone (West Brom), Nick Pope (Burnley).

Defenders: Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolves), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), Kyle Walker (Manchester City).

Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jesse Lingard (West Ham, on loan from Manchester United), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds), Declan Rice (West Ham), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton).

Forwards: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa).

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