Sportsmail's experts name their England squads for the World Cup

With England qualified for the World Cup, Gareth Southgate can begin to put together his 23-man squad – so, as several stars look nailed on and others hope to break in, we asked our experts who they would take to Qatar

  • England secured their spot at next year’s World Cup by beating San Marino 
  • Gareth Southgate is now able to start planning ahead for his 23-man squad 
  • The likes of Harry Kane and Harry Maguire are certainties to make the plane 
  • But others, such as Jadon Sancho, are now at real risk of missing out in Qatar 
  • Here, Sportsmail‘s experts name their squads and pick out players to watch 

England emphatically wrapped up their spot at next year’s World Cup in Qatar after smashing ten goals past San Marino in their final qualifier – and attention can now turn to who Gareth Southgate names in his 23-man squad. 

There are, of course, players who can be confident about making the plane but others find themselves on the fringes and will be hoping to stake their claim before judgement day.

It is a fairly settled group, on paper. However, surprises may spring up across the rest of the season and players who could be fearing missing the cut may enjoy a superb run of form which propels them back into boss Southgate’s thinking.

So, to help settle the discussion, Sportsmail has asked several of our experts for their squads – and also to name their three outsiders to keep a close eye on…

England sealed their spot at the World Cup in Qatar after scoring ten goals against San Marino

Manager Gareth Southgate will now be able to think about which players to name in his squad


Goalkeepers: Pickford, Ramsdale, Pope

Defenders: Walker, James, Alexander-Arnold, Stones, Maguire, Mings, Coady, Chilwell, Shaw

Midfielders: Rice, Phillips, Bellingham, Henderson, Grealish, Foden, Saka, Mount

Forwards: Kane, Calvert-Lewin, Rashford, Sterling

Gareth Southgate has a settled group and is loyal so don’t expect wholesale changes though Kieran Trippier may be vulnerable because of the quality of full backs around.

Harry Kane is nailed on to fly out for the World Cup, and is chasing the Three Lions’ goal record


Ben White, Aaron Cresswell, Conor Gallagher 

Three who could upset the established order are White who will be hard to leave out if he continues to impress at Arsenal, Cresswell should Luke Shaw suffer injury or loss of form, and Gallagher whose energy will be right up Southgate’s street. 

If I am permitted a fourth, Tino Livramento is too good not to play for England at some stage. 

Conor Gallagher (C) is a player to keep an eye on because his energy may impress Southgate


Goalkeepers: Ramsdale, Pope, Pickford

Defenders: James, Walker, Shaw, Chilwell, Maguire, Stones, Tomori

Midfielders: Rice, Phillips, Mount, Bellingham, Ward-Prowse, Grealish, Barnes, Smith Rowe, Foden

Forwards: Kane, Calvert-Lewin, Watkins, Sterling

England will travel to Qatar full of optimism after reaching the semi-finals of the last World Cup, and the final of Euro 2020. 

They are one of the most consistent international teams around and will be a formidable challenge for anyone next winter – provided they can keep their best players fit. 

Trent Alexander-Arnold may be at risk of missing out on the squad due to fierce competition

This squad covers all bases and will enable Gareth Southgate to deploy different systems to suit different opposition. 

James Ward-Prowse deserves inclusion for his remarkable ability from set pieces and while Trent Alexander-Arnold’s omission would certainly cause controversy, he is given far more attacking freedom at club level than he would be with England. 

Southgate’s teams are built on solidity rather than flair and up to now, it has worked.


Eberechi Eze, Conor Gallagher, James Justin

Eberechi Eze has dazzled for QPR and Crystal Palace, and could be in line for a surprise call-up


Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale, Dean Henderson

Defenders: Reece James, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kyle Walker, Harry Maguire, Ben White, John Stones, Luke Shaw, Ben Chilwell

Midfielders: Jordan Henderson, Declan Rice, Kalvin Phillips, Jude Bellingham, Mason Mount, Phil Foden

Forwards: Harry Kane, Jack Grealish, Raheem Sterling, Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood

A fool’s errand at the best of times, this.

How much easier life would be with another 26-man squad – no matter Gareth Southgate’s reservations.

Otherwise I find no place for any of: Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Kieran Trippier, Joe Gomez, Fikayo Tomori, Tyrone Mings, Jadon Sancho, James Ward-Prowse, Jesse Lingard, Tammy Abraham, Ollie Watkins, Conor Coady, Danny Ings, Emile Smith Rowe or Conor Gallagher. 

Not forgetting emerging stars such as Curtis Jones and Tariq Lamptey.

Jadon Sancho is another player who may be forced to watch the showpiece from home instead


Tino Livramento, Harvey Elliott, Marc Guehi 

My three bolters would need to arrive from (very) deep to make the plane. But all have shown such promise. 

How is Livramento only 19? How will Under-21 skipper Guehi develop under Patrick Vieira? 

How could you ignore Elliott if, injury permitting, he continues to shine at Liverpool?

Tino Livramento is on the fringes of the senior team and has shown promise with Southampton


Goalkeepers: Pickford, Ramsdale, Henderson

Defenders: Alexander-Arnold, James, Walker, Chilwell, Shaw, Stones, Maguire, Guehi, Mings 

Midfielders: Henderson, Bellingham, Rice, Phillips, Grealish, Mount

Forwards: Kane, Sterling, Foden, Sancho, Greenwood

When you pair it down to 23, you start to realise just how ridiculous the talent pool is.

How to leave out Rashford, Saka, Gomez, Calvert-Lewin, Abraham, Tomori, Trippier, Gallagher, Loftus-Cheek, Smith-Rowe and Hudson-Odoi? 

The only gaps are perhaps back-up at centre half and a replacement for Harry Kane. 

Hence, Greenwood, who is perhaps the most-natural England finisher other than Kane. You can but hope his development flourishes over the next year.

Southgate favourite Marcus Rashford could fall victim to the Three Lions’ enviable talent pool


Marc Guehi, Trevoh Chalobah, Callum Hudson-Odoi  

Who will be the next young outstanding centre back? 

Ben White and Fikayo Tomori are well placed but Guehi looked one to watch at Swansea and is corroborating that promise at Palace. 

If England are playing a back three and Chalobah earns his place regularly in the Chelsea side, then he’s going to be difficult to ignore. 

This list reads like a homage to Chelsea’s academy. And Conor Gallagher and Tino Livramento could equally be on it. 

But Hudson-Odoi has potential to surpass Sancho, Saka and Rashford if can impress Tuchel enough to stay in the Chelsea team.

Marc Guehi looked like another player to watch at Swansea and is building on that with Palace


Goalkeepers: Ramsdale, Pope, Pickford

Defenders: James, Walker, Shaw, Chilwell, Maguire, Stones, Coady

Midfielders: Rice, Phillips, Bellingham, Gallagher, Smith Rowe, Foden

Forwards: Sterling, Grealish, Saka, Sancho, Kane, Calvert-Lewin, Rashford/Greenwood    

Have gone for an admittedly top-heavy squad and moved it on from the Euros by including the likes of Conor Gallagher and Emile Smith Rowe and would go with one of Marcus Rashford or Mason Greenwood form/fitness permitting.

Emile Smith Rowe scored against San Marino and may be chosen as part of a top-heavy squad


Eberechi Eze, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Fourth centre back position

Ebere Eze was on the verge of provisional Euros squad before injury – his recovery will be worth keeping an eye on. 

Ruben Loftus-Cheek went to the last World Cup so is known to Gareth Southgate. He has forced his way back into things at Chelsea and is such a unique talent that if his form and fitness continues space could be made for him in the squad. 

Would also be prepared to move things around if a standout fourth centre back option emerges. 

Tyrone Mings is in pole position at the moment but many others should/could come into contention such Lewis Dunk, Adam Webster, Ben White and Fikayo Tomori.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek travelled to the last World Cup and is therefore known to boss Southgate

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