GK: Joe Hart
The former England no 1 has suffered a terrible downslide in his fortunes in recent seasons. From being one of the finest in the world to a player who couldn’t even manage a starting spot for West Ham, Hart’s position had come under increased scrutiny. And with Jack Butland and Jordan Pickford’s rise, things were always going to be difficult for Hart. Gareth Southgate finally made the call of picking Pope ahead of Hart, which virtually pulls the curtains down on Hart’s international career.
Defenders: Keane, Tarkowski and Smalling
Arguably Chris Smalling deserved a place in the 23-man squad more so if his club teammate Phil Jones did manage a place. After watching Jones’ performance in the FA Cup final, Southgate might just have had a moment reflecting on his decision as well. Michael Keane is another notable absentee in the Three Lions’ squad. The young defender joined Everton in hopes of building his career, but has suffered a terrible campaign. His replacement at Burnley, James Tarkowski is another player who could have registered a place in the Three Lions’ squad if only he had some experience of playing at the international stage.
Wing Backs: Bertrand and Clyne
Ryan Bertrand is unarguably a huge miss in the Three Lions’ squad, given the level of performances he has displayed in recent seasons. However, ultimately Danny Rose remained the first choice left back. On the other hand, Nathaniel Clyne has had a season marred by injuries. Trent Alexander Arnold’s fine performances instead have reaped fruits as he was the surprise inclusion in the squad for Russia.
Midfielder: Jack Wilshere, JonjoShelvey and Adam Lallana
After a season where Wilshere proved his fitness and maturity, it comes as a huge surprise that the Arsenal midfielder could not make it to the 23-man squad. Wilshere amassed a massive 38 appearances in all competitions, which in itself, is a huge compliment to the midfielder, who has struggled with injuries throughout his season. However, Southgate cited the dip in Wilshere’s form towards the business end of the season as the reason behind his exclusion. JonjoShelvey is another notable absentee. A player of immense potential, Shelvey is yet to show the maturity needed to play at the highest level. Adam Lallana’s injury stricken campaign meant that a place in Southgate’s squad was always going to be highly unlikely.
Strikers: Andy Carroll and Daniel Sturridge
The former Liverpool strikers are a classic example of players whose injury struggles have taken its toll on their career. Sturridge made a move to West Brom in hopes of getting some significant playing time, in order to make his case for a place in the World Cup; however, instead the striker suffered an injury in the early parts of his career at the Hawthorns and then failed to make the desired impact. Andy Carroll enjoyed shades of brilliance this season as well like so many others but ultimately it didn’t prove enough to guarantee a place in Southgate’s squad.