England’s World Cup selection issues


DOHA, Qatar – Manager Gareth Southgate’s loyalty to perhaps the greatest test of anything England Players come now. England enters the last 16 of the World Cup, where they face Senegal On Sunday, the under-52-year-old with a selection conundrum largely absent in previous tournaments: choose players on form or past international performance?

Prior to 2016, there was really no “past international performance” worth considering. That summer, England were humiliated by Iceland at the round-of-16 stage and a new generational gradual change initiated by Roy Hodgson was accelerated by Southgate following Sam Allardyce’s brief 67-day stint.

Yet Southgate later delivered the first World Cup semi-final in 28 years in Russia 2018 and then the first major tournament final in 55 years at Euro 2020. There has been a gradual move towards a top-heavy, creative-led talent pool.

Central to the work he has done to redefine the players’ relationship with the England shirt, in particular embracing the opportunities presented rather than feeling their own weight of past failures, Club Travels There has been an unassailable team spirit. And a key aspect of that detachment is the knowledge that past contributions to the cause are not forgotten. Which is why Southgate faces some big decisions ahead of the Senegal game, partly because of the way his loyalty has been rewarded by other teammates in Qatar.

Here, ESPN takes a look at the England players who most clearly represent the form versus prestige debate.

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Make no mistake: Maguire was lucky to be in this England team based on him manchester united Form. The 29-year-old centre-back has made just nine appearances for United this season, including one start in the Premier League since August, and AC MilanSerie A winner fikayo tomori Can feel particularly distressed at being left out. Nevertheless, Maguire’s first three appearances in Qatar turned the clock back to 2018, when he was a key figure at the back and an essential component of the “love train” of players assembled for England corner routines. Row was the given nickname.

Maguire earned cult-hero status during that tournament and proved himself again as part of England’s defense in five out of seven matches at Euro 2020 (missing only the first two due to injury), where he won the UEFA Cup. Made Team of the Tournament. There have been times when Maguire and John Stones Possession has worked as they try to play from behind – especially against the US – and suspicions remain that any major mistakes in England’s exit will lead to what some consider to be “Southgate stubbornness”. will reject But his authoritative performance in the group stage has settled the debate as to whether Maguire is worthy of surpassing the other defenders in this team.

Shaw is England’s only natural left-back in this final. ben chilwellA hamstring injury sustained early last month has robbed Southgate of the most obvious challenger to the 27-year-old, who has fallen out of favor at Man United as Erik ten Haag initially preferred the new arrival. Was given tyrrell malaysiabefore Shaw regained his place to start the final seven Premier League games before the World Cup.

But there’s more going on here. Shaw spoke in March 2021 about feeling a sense of regret at having been dropped from several England camps over the years, wondering “how much he was letting Gareth down.” As he reinvented himself, Southgate gave Shaw another chance and he hasn’t looked back, scoring England’s goal in last summer’s Euro 2020 final and cementing his place in Qatar with three solid performances Of. The pair have a new bond as a result.

keiran trippier can play left-back Bukayo Saka Has worked (incredibly) as a left wing-back for England, but Shaw was dropped with 25 minutes left wales When the game was already won, a clear indication that barring injury, he would definitely start against Senegal.

This is where things start to get difficult. Sterling was included in UEFA’s Team of the Tournament at Euro 2020 (harry kane Wasn’t) and Roos was a key player for England in 2018, linking the midfield and attack. Manchester City To Chelseawhere he is believed to have endured a change of manager and even more frequent position changes as Graham Potter used him as an advanced wing-back.

For England, competition is fierce for striker Kane on either side of the attack Phil Foden And marcus rashford making a compelling case for his inclusion with a goal-scoring outing against Wales, while Saka and Jack Grealish He also has his supporters.

But Southgate has never started a knockout game without Sterling in his lineup. And when Sterling scored from Kane IranIt was the 16th time the pair had combined for an England goal from 60 appearances (now 61). Son Hyung-min, Dele Alli And christian ericssonWith whom he played more than three times the number of games at Tottenham.

Southgate recognizes Sterling’s past efforts and, when he was struggling at City last season, is reported to have regularly offered his support if necessary, with the manager maintaining a close relationship. Only Kane (54) has started more games under Southgate than Sterling (49). Even though Foden, Rashford and Saka all make strong cases for inclusion, it would be a big surprise if Southgate doesn’t find a place for the winger given his history. with.

Groans were almost audible when Henderson was Southgate’s first change as England played out a 0-0 draw against the United States. But, he liverpool The midfielder has infused some energy and enthusiasm into the England midfield, proving he can play a more prominent role than just being one of the key figures behind the scenes in maintaining standards and professionalism within the camp.

Henderson is vital to the dynamic squad in that regard – defender conor cody Another example of this, providing such a positive presence in the group that Southgate’s assistant Steve Holland named him as the unofficial player of the tournament last summer without actually kicking a ball – and, indeed, he were probably primarily closer to the lineup as a result of Calvin Phillips’ injury than anything else.

Man City had always been bullish about Phillips’ chances of recovering from a shoulder injury to make it to the World Cup, but he needed more time to sharpen up at England’s Al Waqarah base. In his absence Henderson started against Wales.

Jude Bellingham Has been hugely influential in the England midfield and will certainly keep his place, but for Southgate the 19-year-old and mason mount 4-3-3 in shape Declan Rice As England’s sole holding midfielder against Senegal. He backed up two disciplined central midfielders the previous summer in Rice and Phillips, who had been maligned by Southgate for their orthodox passing despite highlighting stability and cover, giving them a fragile defence.

Switching to a 3-4-3 is another option, although it would mean missing out on two Phillips, Henderson and Mount. Henderson will most probably fall to the bench, with a cameo role to see out the game should things go according to plan.

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