England manager Gareth Southgate has named his final squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and even though on paper, it looks like a very decisive and competitive team there are some major issues with the selection.
A few months ago, the manager claimed that he is going to make his squad based on form and not on reputation.
Southgate had told The Daily Telegraph back in September(h/t SportsMax): “I’m very conscious I’ve got to get the balance right because ultimately my responsibility is to produce a winning England team.
“I never pick on reputation; form has to come into it. You have to look at the opposition and the type of game you’re expecting and select the players best suited to that.”
However, once the final squad was announced for the Qatar World Cup, it was quite evident that the England manager had failed to keep his promise. He has had his favourites since taking charge of the Three Lions and once again, he’s gone ahead and selected most of them, irrespective of how they are currently performing.
We take a look at a few such players who are very lucky to have found a seat on the flight to Qatar.
Harry Maguire – Man United:
The centre-back has been one of Southgate’s darlings so despite him falling down the pecking order at Manchester United, he has still found a place in the England squad.
During the 22/23 season, Maguire has played only 280 minutes in the Premier League but he’s still in the World Cup squad and we also feel that he’s going to start most of the games for England.
For Man United, Maguire is a burden because he’s not someone who is a ball carrier and neither can he help build from the back. However, he’s actually a decent fit for England because the Three Lions play a very different brand of football. If this happens, then it will be really harsh on players like Ben White and Eric Dier because of them have been standout performers for their respective clubs this season. John Stones is going to be one of the central defenders, that’s for sure, now we will have to wait and see who gets the vote of confidence from his manager.
But does that justify his selection over guys like Tyrone Mings and Fikayo Tomori?
Callum Wilson – Newcastle United:
Wilson has had a decent season with the Magpies, scoring six goals in 11 league games but it was an absolute crime from the England manager to not select guys like Ivan Toney or Tammy Abraham.
Both Toney and Abraham have been on fire during the current calendar year, scoring tons of goals but still, somehow Southgate thought it would be apt to take Wilson to the World Cup as Harry Kane’s backup.
Kalvin Phillips – Manchester City:
Phillips made his dream move to Manchester City during the summer but his club career has gone down a spiral in the past few months.
In the Euros, he was a rock-solid figure in the middle of the pitch alongside Declan Rice but this season, he’s played only one game for Pep Guardiola’s team.
Also, he’s just recovered from injury so his selection makes very little sense especially when there were players like James Ward-Prowse.
We doubt if the midfielder will be match fit to play a 90-minute game so in the end, he’s going to turn out as excess baggage for England.