Harry Maguire’s miserable Man United form and just who will be Harry Kane’s holdup? Gareth Southgate still has lots of topics to solve with England before the Qatar FIFA World Cup. It is a World Cup year like no other. But with Russia 2018 in mind, there is anticipation rather than hope that England can lastly lift their first cup since 1966. As we enter the first matches of 2022, the media looks at the main matters facing England boss Gareth Southgate.
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For Southgate, the form of the Manchester United central defender is not as deep a problem as it might seem. Southgate is faithful to players who have achieved well for him. There was comparable conjecture about Raheem Sterling’s room in the team ahead of the Euros and we all know how that twisted out. But as much as Southgate backs the under-fire Maguire, he must have anxieties about his form. England’s strong point during last summer’s run to the Euros final was their defence.
If they are to have any chance at the Qatar Football World Cup, their defence will have to be on the stage again. That’s a disturbing prospect considering how poorly Maguire is playing for United. Perhaps some time away with England, away from the gaze of the Old Trafford attention, is what he needs to recalibrate. Whatever he needs, Southgate will be anxious for it to happen sooner rather than later. For more to know about Qatar World Cup Tickets Click here.
Missed opportunities by England Football World Cup team
Southgate’s strategy to sort matters out over the next few days has been ruined by a long list of drop-outs, with Bukayo Saka the newest to pull out after testing positive for Covid. In goal, Jordan Pickford will almost surely start the World Cup but the form of Aaron Ramsdale has not gone ignored by Gareth Southgate and England’s goalkeeping coach Martyn Margetson. Aaron Ramsdale had a brilliant season and before he suffered a hip injury last week the plan was to give him a jump, either against Switzerland or Ivory Coast on Tuesday.
Southgate was also going to look at Tammy Abraham. The striker has had a fine period at Roma, scoring 23 goals in 37 starts since his transfer from Chelsea. The place as Harry Kane’s substitute remains up for grabs. Last year, it was observed as if Dominic Calvert-Lewin was Kane’s No 2, but an injury-hit season at Everton has slowed down his improvement. This was Abraham’s chance for FIFA World Cup, but sadly injury has mugged him of the chance.
Maybe the major irritation of all will be that right-backs Reece James and Trent Alexander-Arnold have pulled out. With Kyle Walker, who decided to miss this team, almost sure to go to the Qatar World Cup, James and Alexander-Arnold were both set to be given a chance to amaze. Kyle Walker-Peters and Tyrick Mitchell have substituted them but both will be watched as outsiders to make the journey to Qatar. With no more friendlies until pre-event, Southgate will see this week as a chance missed.
New players also available before World Cup
Seemingly Pickford and Phillips would seek moves away from their clubs to reserve their England Football World Cup team chances, but nothing is ever that humble in the transfer market. The position may not be so clear for Gallagher, who goals to return to Stamford Bridge next season in the hope of starting himself as a first-team player. Failing, however, will have consequences for the midfielder’s expectations of travelling to the World Cup.
He is gifted enough to make the grade at his parent club, but that is far from certain. Spending the first half of next season on the bench could have penalties for the midfielder. With just under eight months until the Qatar Football World Cup starts, there could yet be some players that make a late run into Southgate’s team. Curtis Jones, Max Kilman, Jacob Ramsey and Jarrod Bowen are between the players to have been name-checked by the England manager.
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