England’s Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere expected to miss out on World Cup squad
The England boss is preparing to reveal his hand for Russia 2018.
Goalkeeper Joe Hart and midfielder Jack Wilshere are expected to miss out when England manager Gareth Southgate finally goes public with his World Cup squad.
Southgate is set to name his 23-man group for Russia 2018 on Wednesday afternoon with the announcement from the Football Association expected at around 1pm.
The England boss confirmed he had everything “ready to go” when speaking briefly ahead of attending the League Managers’ Association Awards dinner in London on Tuesday night.
Southgate, though, would not be drawn on the widespread reports emerging over the omission of the high-profile duo.
The satisfaction of those officially selected by Southgate at Wednesday’s announcement will contrast with the disappointment of those missing out on the trip to Russia next month.
Southgate is reported to have called 75-cap goalkeeper Hart on Monday evening to tell him he would not be in the squad, which at 31 could well signal the end of his international career following a difficult spell at club level.
Widespread reports also emerged on Tuesday evening that Arsenal midfielder Wilshere has also been told he will not be travelling to Russia. Chelsea defender Gary Cahill, a former England captain, has also seen doubt cast on his inclusion.
Wilshere has not played for his country since the Euro 2016 exit to Iceland, but was in line to start against Holland in March before injury put his World Cup hopes in jeopardy.
Manchester City’s versatile Fabian Delph is said to have been included by Southgate, along with Tottenham defender Danny Rose and Manchester United wing-back Ashley Young, while Burnley centre-back James Tarkowski could be part of the group on standby.
Given Hart’s expected absence, uncapped Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope, 26, could well get the nod to make the trip alongside Jordan Pickford and Jack Butland, who was relegated with Stoke.
A promising campaign for 19-year-old Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold, also uncapped at senior level, has put him in with a shout.
Asked if it would be a youthful squad which headed to Russia, Southgate said: “People know the direction we’ve headed in over the last few months and we’ll keep doing that.”
Swansea’s Alfie Mawson, an unused member of the squad in March, is also out after going under the knife, so Southgate may consider the likes of Chris Smalling and Michael Keane to bolster his centre-back options.
In midfield, Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey has performed well recently, but last donned the Three Lions in November 2015. Adam Lallana, England’s player of the year in 2016, is a fitness doubt, although Ruben Loftus-Cheek is an exciting option.
The squad will be drawn from the privately submitted long list of 35 handed to FIFA. Although the world governing body does not need it whittled down until June 4, Southgate will name 23 players to strip unnecessary anxiety and pressure from preparations.
Southgate, though, rejected suggestions he was set to spring a wildcard selection, as previous England managers had done.
“Depends on what you consider a surprise I suppose,” he told Sky Sports News.
“In my mind I’m pretty clear on who we’re picking and whether that surprises people, I guess, remains to be seen.”
Most players will meet up on Monday as World Cup preparations get under way, although Manchester United and Chelsea players will be given an extended break after the FA Cup final.
Liverpool’s players will get similar respite after the Champions League final against Real Madrid.
England have warm-up friendlies against Nigeria at Wembley on June 2 and Costa Rica in Leeds on June 7, ahead of the Group G opener against Tunisia on June 18.