Gareth Southgate has included four Mersyside based players in his 26-man England squad ahead of the Qatar World Cup that starts on 20 October.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson and the Reds right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold have both been selected. Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and defender Conor Coady have also made the plane.
Despite some criticism of the 32-year-old, Henderson is the third most capped player in the England team with 70 caps, playing at both the 2014 and 2018 World Cups. Only England skipper Harry Kane (75) and Raheem Sterling (79) have represented the nation more times.
It is expected that Henderson won’t be playing consistently as there are younger and more creative players in Declan Rice, James Maddison, Jude Bellingham, and Kalvin Phillips. The Liverpool captain’s leadership qualities in the training camp, dressing room and on the pitch could still prove pivotal to England’s hopes of winning the tournament.
HENDERSON AND TRENT BUT NO GOMEZ
Alexander-Arnold has seen his fair share of recent criticism this season and many pundits and fans alike have questioned whether he’d make the journey to Qatar. England’s vast options at right-back have caused Southgate problems in previous tournaments, having players such as, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Reece James, and Trent to choose from.
This season Alexander-Arnold has made 18 appearances for Liverpool in all competitions, getting on the scoresheet twice in a poor run of form for the Reds. No one knows who Southgate will pick for the opening game against Iran on Monday the 21 November, but the ability the 24-year-old has proven in recent years will certainly give the manager a tough decision to make.
Another Liverpool player who raised questions of a possible England call-up but narrowly missed out is Joe Gomez. The centre-back has played 11 times this season with Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate picking up injuries and put in an exceptional performance against Manchester City at Anfield. The five centre-halves included in the squad are Harry Maguire, Eric Dier, John Stones, Ben White and Everton’s Conor Coady.
PICKFORD AND COADY MAKE THE PLANE
Pickford has been a consistent player in Southgate’s England side for the last four years, helping them reach the semi-finals in 2018 with penalty saves in the quarter-finals against Colombia, and the Euro 2020 final last year at Wembley making key saves against Italy.
The Toffees goalkeeper’s experience is expected to see him get the nod over Aaron Ramsdale and Nick Pope who have also been called up.
Coady joined Everton at the start of this season and is already loved within the Blues fans. Alongside James Tarkowsi, the 29-year-old from St Helens, has helped Frank Lampard’s team become more solid defensively. Coady has 10 caps for England and was a part of the squad that reached the Euro 2020 final last summer.
Southgate wants everyone to “come together”
Following the squad announcement, the England boss said: “In 2018 we were at the start of something were we hadn’t won a knockout game for 10 years and there was a little bit less experience in the group for big matches.
“I think this is similar in terms of its standing to the group that went to the Euros and we’re excited by the group.”
He continued: “We think there’s a lot of exciting talent in it but the whole group has got to come together. It’s a unique situation for everybody this tournament, the timing of it.
“We’ve got to adapt better than everyone else in this coming period.”