There has been mixed reaction from fans as Gareth Southgate names the much anticipated England squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
He has named a 26-man team ahead of games against which will see the Three Lions take on San Marino, Albania and Poland.
It will see England begin their push towards Qatar 2022, but also offer players a chance to stake their claim ahead of the delayed 2020 Euros this summer.
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Starting with a Wembley clash against minnows San Marino next Thursday night (kick off at 7:45pm), the national side then head to Albania on Sunday evening (5pm kick off).
England then find up their busy schedule by facing Poland – and lethal Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowki – at 7:45pm on Wednesday the 31st of March.
Prior to the announcement, we knew that in the absence of regular number one, Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, there could be a chance for Burnley stopper Nick Pope to impress.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson, will out be out of action until next month amid other injury problems picked up at Anfield.
Southgate knew that he would have to look elsewhere in attacking quarters, too, with skipper Harry Kane and Dominic Calvert-Lewin available, though fellow frontmen Danny Ings, Tammy Abraham and Callum Wilson have all been on the sidelines.
To potentially replace the three attacking options, plenty of names have been thrown into the mix as potential replacements.
Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford is expected to receive his first call-up, while West Ham loanee Jesse Lingard is also closing in on a return after impressing in the Premier League.
Harry Maguire a usual subject in defence, John Stones and Luke Shaw have both been in fantastic form this season – and it would have been unthinkable for them to be left out.
Reports say that Jack Grealish remains touch and go with an injury that has kept him out for Aston Villa since the 13th of February.
On the prospect of a return for Manchester City defender John Stones, Pep Guardiola said: “He deserves it. Of course, Gareth Southgate knows better than me what he needs (in the squad), but just in case it happens, the one person who will be delighted and happy about his comeback for the national team, will be me.”
Amid reports Bamford and Leeds team-mate Luke Ayling could be set for their first call-ups, manager Marcelo Bielsa said: “It’s recognition first of all for the players and secondly, it’s also recognition for the project of the club. The structure of the squad to compete in the Premier League.”
Right enough chit-chat, time to discover who Gareth Southgate names in the England squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers…
AND THE OTHER COUNTRIES?
Goalkeepers: Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool), Gavin Bazunu (Rochdale, on loan from Manchester City), Mark Travers (Bournemouth), Kieran O’Hara (Burton Albion).
Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Matt Doherty (Tottenham Hotspur), Shane Duffy (Celtic, on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion), Enda Stevens (Sheffield United), Kevin Long (Burnley), Ciaran Clark (Newcastle United), Dara O’Shea (West Bromwich Albion), Ryan Manning (Swansea City), Cyrus Christie (Nottingham Forest).
Midfielders: Conor Hourihane (Swansea City, on loan from Aston Villa), Alan Browne (Preston North End), Jeff Hendrick (Newcastle United), Jayson Molumby (Preston North End, on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion), Jason Knight (Derby County), Josh Cullen (Anderlecht), Robbie Brady (Burnley), James McClean (Stoke City), Daryl Horgan (Wycombe Wanderers), Ronan Curtis (Portsmouth), Callum O’Dowda (Bristol City).
Strikers: Callum Robinson (West Bromwich Albion), Aaron Connolly (Brighton and Hove Albion), Shane Long (Bournemouth, on loan from Southampton), James Collins (Luton Town), Troy Parrott (Ipswich Town, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur).
Squad announced for FIFA 2022 World Cup qualifiers
29-player squad named for the three matches with first senior call-up for Gavin Bazunu 👏
— FAIreland ⚽️🇮🇪 (@FAIreland) March 18, 2021
Goalkeepers: Craig Gordon (Hearts), David Marshall (Derby), Jon McLaughlin (Rangers)
Defenders: Andrew Considine (Aberdeen), Declan Gallagher (Motherwell), Grant Hanley (Norwich City), Jack Hendry (KV Oostende), Scott McKenna (Nottingham Forest), Stephen O’Donnell (Motherwell), Liam Palmer (Sheffield Wednesday), Andy Robertson (Liverpool), Greg Taylor (Celtic), Kieran Tierney (Arsenal)
Midfielders: Stuart Armstrong (Southampton), Ryan Christie (Celtic), John Fleck (Sheffield United), Ryan Jack (Rangers), John McGinn (Aston Villa), Callum McGregor (Celtic), Kenny McLean (Norwich City), Scott McTominay (Manchester United)
Forwards: Che Adams (Southampton), Lyndon Dykes (Queens Park Rangers), Ryan Fraser (Newcastle), Oli McBurnie (Sheffield United), Kevin Nisbet (Hibernian)
Goalkeepers: W Hennessey (Crystal Palace), D Ward (Leicester), A Davies (Stoke), T King (Newport)
Defenders: C Gunter (Charlton), B Davies (Tottenham), C Roberts (Swansea), E Ampadu (Sheffield Utd), C Mepham (Bournemouth), T Lockyer (Luton), J Rodon (Tottenham), J Lawrence (St Pauli), N Williams (Liverpool), R Norrington-Davies (Stoke), B Cabango Swansea)
Midfielders: A Ramsey (Juventus), J Allen (Stoke), J Williams (Cardiff), H Wilson (Cardiff), D James (Man Utd), M Smith (Doncaster), J Morrell (Luton), D Levitt (NK Istra), B Johnson (Lincoln), J Sheehan (Newport)
Forwards: G Bale (Tottenham), H Robson-Kanu (West Brom), T Lawrence (Derby), K Moore (Cardiff), T Roberts (Leeds), R Matondo (Stoke).
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Fans reacted as Gareth Southgate names England squad for World Cup qualifiers…
@OliWhiteMOT93: OLLIE WATKINS BUT NO PATRICK BAMFORD IS THIS SOME KIND OF SICK JOKE?!
@SuperGaryCahill: Dier, Maguire, Mings and Coady. No form just vibes. Joke.
@wwfcAlex_: There are so many bad choices in this squad wtf
@AVFCchats: NO KONSA OR TARGETT. SOUTHGATE YOU NEVER FAIL TO AMAZE
@UtdApollo: Ridiculous that AWB keeps being left out of the squad.
@_InvincibleFred: OMFGGGGG BUKAYO SAKAAAAA
@pye_luke: Tarkowski deserved to be in squad for past 2 seasons and hasnt had 1 call up. At this point I’m not even surprised he hasnt been called up
@harry_blissett: Ollie Watkins is a dub. No Konsa targett or Grealish is an L
@WAFCLouis: Absolute shite
@Nick_Clay_: Watkins but no Bamford! Jog on!
@utdrobbo: Taking James, Walker & Trippier over AWB is the reason why Southgate will never be able to beat a top national team when it counts.
@lobwinners: Still too defensive
@nat90HJ: Bamford is harsh sorry to say, leeds fans will agree
@bfcJacob01: Dier, coady and Mings over Keane, Tarkowski and Konsa
@VillaVisionBen: Ollie Watkins. Things we love to see, but honestly how on earth has Konsa not been called up
Goalkeepers: Bailey Peacock-Farrell (Burnley), Conor Hazard (Celtic), Nathan Gartside (Derry City).
Defenders: Jonny Evans (Leicester City), Craig Cathcart (Watford), Stuart Dallas (Leeds United), Shane Ferguson (Millwall), Conor McLaughlin (Sunderland), Jamal Lewis (Newcastle United), Daniel Ballard (Blackpool – on loan from Arsenal), Ciaron Brown (Cardiff City).
Midfielders: Steven Davis (Rangers), Corry Evans (Blackburn Rovers), Paddy McNair (Middlesbrough), George Saville (Middlesbrough), Michael Smith (Heart of Midlothian), Matthew Kennedy (Aberdeen), Jordan Thompson (Stoke City), Niall McGinn (Aberdeen), Alistair McCann (St Johnstone).
Strikers: Kyle Lafferty (Kilmarnock), Josh Magennis (Hull City), Conor Washington (Charlton Athletic), Liam Boyce (Heart of Midlothian), Gavin Whyte (Hull City – on loan from Cardiff City), Dion Charles (Accrington Stanley).