England World Cup squad: Trent Alexander-Arnold named by Gareth Southgate


Uncapped 19-year-old Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold has been named in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man England squad for this summer’s World Cup.

Defender Gary Cahill has been recalled and there are also places on the plane to Russia for Chelsea team-mate Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope.

Goalkeeper Joe Hart and midfielder Jack Wilshere have not been included, along with left-back Ryan Bertrand.

England start their Group G campaign against Tunisia on 18 June, before games against Panama and Belgium.

Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana is one of five players on standby for the tournament, along with Burnley keeper Tom Heaton, Clarets defender James Tarkowski, Bournemouth’s Lewis Cook and fellow midfielder Jake Livermore of West Brom.

“I believe this is a squad we can be excited about,” Southgate said.

“It is a young group but with some really important senior players, so I feel the balance of the squad is good, both in terms of its experience, its character and also the positional balance.”

Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley).

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Kyle Walker, John Stones (Manchester City), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Kieran Trippier, Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), Phil Jones, Ashley Young (Manchester United).

Midfielders: Eric Dier, Dele Alli (both Tottenham Hotspur), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea).

Forwards: Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal) Harry Kane (Tottenham).

Standby: Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski (Burnley), Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Jake Livermore (West Brom) and Adam Lallana (Liverpool).

England’s key World Cup dates
2 June v Nigeria (friendly)
7 June v Costa Rica (friendly)
12 June Squad leaves for Russia
18 June v Tunisia (opening group game)
24 June v Panama (second group game)
28 June v Belgium (final group game)

Why was Alexander-Arnold picked?

Alexander-Arnold’s call-up is his first for the England senior team and follows the right-back’s breakthrough season at Liverpool.

The England Under-21 international has played 33 times for the Reds this season, including nine appearances in their run to the Champions League final.

“The first call-up for Trent Alexander-Arnold is well deserved,” Southgate said.

“When we pick young players, it’s not just because they are young, it’s because their performances deserve it.”

He is one of four full-backs in the squad, alongside Manchester City’s Kyle Walker and Tottenham pair Kieran Trippier and Danny Rose, while City’s Fabian Delph and Manchester United’s Ashley Young have played in a full-back position for the majority of this season at their clubs.

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‘Tough to leave out Hart and Bertrand’

Two of the most notable absentees from the squad are Manchester City keeper Hart and Southampton full-back Bertrand.

Hart, 31, has won 75 caps and was England’s first-choice goalkeeper at the past three major tournaments but has had a poor season, conceding 39 goals in 19 Premier League games on loan at West Ham.

Burnley’s Pope was chosen over Hart, joining recent starters Jack Butland and Jordan Pickford in the squad, while his Clarets’ team-mate Tom Heaton is selected as the goalkeeper on the standby list, despite not playing since September because of injury.

Bertrand withdrew from the squad for the friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy in March with injury, but had featured in nine of England’s previous 10 games.

“Both calls were really tough,” Southgate said.

“They’re both good guys and have contributed a lot throughout qualification, so it wasn’t an enjoyable part of the job and I feel it’s important to acknowledge their contribution in getting us to Russia.

“With Joe, we’ve got three other goalkeepers who have had very good seasons and the decision I was faced with was do I keep Joe in and have experience around the group or give the three guys who have basically had a better season a chance?

“We felt the players all needed to be in on merit after their performances this season.

“Ryan is also very unfortunate in that it’s probably one of the strongest positions we have. Ryan has had a decent season but I just felt the others were ahead of him.”

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The other major decisions

One player returning to the squad is Chelsea centre-back Cahill.

He was left out of England’s most recent squad for the friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy in March. Before that, the 32-year-old was an unused substitute in friendlies against Brazil and Germany, plus the final World Cup qualifier against Lithuania.

He is the most-capped player in the squad with 58 and is the only player to have made more than 40 appearances for England.

Cahill was preferred to fellow centre-back Chris Smalling despite the 28-year-old playing 45 times for Manchester United this season.

Wilshere and Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey, who had been tipped for an inclusion after impressive form at the end of the season, have been overlooked in midfield.

Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck, who scored five Premier League goals this season, is included.

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