Daily Nation Newspaper - - FEATURES -

WE now know who is go­ing to Russia and who is hav­ing an ex­tended sum­mer hol­i­day but the big ques­tion is why Gareth South­gate has se­lected these 23 men to rep­re­sent Eng­land at the World Cup.

Our reporter An­ton Toloui, who has been around the Eng­land camp all sea­son and is part of our team go­ing to Russia this sum­mer, re­veals what we learned from South­gate's post­squad an­nounce­ment me­dia con­fer­ence...

South­gate wants Eng­land to be fear­less Lions

”I don’t see be­ing free of in­hi­bi­tions as a gam­ble,” in­sisted South­gate when asked about his thoughts be­hind pick­ing the squad. His selec­tion cur­rently has a to­tal of 449 caps be­tween them, that’s fewer than 20 per per­son. The group Fabio Capello took to South Africa in 2010 had an av­er­age of al­most 16 more - but didn’t ex­actly set the in­ter­na­tional stage alight.

South­gate is trust­ing in youth and even men­tioned Phil Fo­den, Jadon San­cho and Ma­son Mount po­ten­tially only be­ing “six months” away if they start to ex­cel at club level. Get used to see­ing faces in an in­ter­na­tional shirt that make you feel very old in­deed. It won’t be long un­til the first player born in the 21st Cen­tury lines up along­side Jor­dan Hen­der­son et al.

In Trent he trusts

If you’re good enough, you’re old enough. That’s very much South­gate’s mantra and he would have gone against every­thing he stood for if he didn’t pick Trent Alexan­der-Arnold. The 19-year old has ex­celled for Liver­pool at right-back and cen­tre mid­field, coaches adore his char­ac­ter and work rate and he could go on to be­come the poster boy for the FA’s de­vel­op­men­tal sys­tem.

“He’s the next best full-back in Eng­land,” ad­mit­ted South­gate; does that mean he’s ahead of Kieran Trip­pier al­ready? Fu­ture hope for Hart

South­gate ad­mit­ted he picked “the three best ‘keep­ers in Eng­land this sea­son’, which is why for­mer No 1 Joe Hart has an ex­tended break this sum­mer.

But the Eng­land man­ager isn’t re­fus­ing to rule out pick­ing the 75-cap vet­eran in the fu­ture. How­ever, South­gate ad­mits Hart “faces a big sum­mer” as he al­most cer­tainly looks to se­cure his third move away from Manchester City in as many sea­sons.

End of sea­son drop-off cost Wil­shere

It was thought by peo­ple around the Eng­land camp that Jack Wil­shere’s ticket to Russia was can­celled af­ter he pulled out of the squad to face Nether­lands and Italy through in­jury. South­gate in­sists that’s not the case, cit­ing the Arse­nal mid­fielder’s form at the end of the sea­son.

”He played well for a spell but dropped off a bit to­wards the end,” claims South­gate, who would later go on to speak pos­i­tively about Wil­shere’s re­place­ment Ruben Lof­tus-Cheek. Shelvey re­mains out of South­gate’s plans

Eva­sive is per­haps a harsh word to use but it’s fair to say South­gate didn’t ex­tol Jonjo Shelvey’s virtues when given the op­por­tu­nity. “We watch all English play­ers” and “pick­ing up yel­low and red cards wouldn’t im­pact selec­tion” meant Shelvey was on the long list of play­ers con­sid­ered - but he cer­tainly wasn’t as close to the fi­nal 23man squad as some had sug­gested or hoped for.

…But Lal­lana is still loved

Pre­vi­ously her­alded by the man­ager as Eng­land’s “best player in qual­i­fy­ing”, Adam Lal­lana has missed out on the first choice 23-man squad - but there are few play­ers South­gate ad­mires more than the Liver­pool man.

Get­ting se­lected on the standby list is a huge con­ces­sion to South­gate’s love for the mid­fielder’s tech­ni­cal abil­ity de­spite his lack of first-team football. A pos­i­tive fit­ness re­port and a pro­duc­tive cameo in the Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal could see Lal­lana be the first choice to step in if there’s an in­jury.

Cap­tain call will wait

Ah yes, the ques­tion South­gate gets asked in ev­ery me­dia con­fer­ence. Cue the usual “I want a team of lead­ers” an­swer but that’s not a pop at the man­ager. South­gate no­ticed a lack of lead­er­ship on day one in the job and has set about try­ing to em­power his play­ers to speak up and mo­ti­vate oth­ers by ro­tat­ing who wears the arm­band. But let’s be hon­est, it’ll be be­tween Harry Kane and Jor­dan Hen­der­son. The Liver­pool skip­per won’t ar­rive in camp un­til af­ter the Nige­ria game on June 2, so don’t ex­pect this elu­sive ques­tion to be an­swered any time soon. - Sky sports

Gareth South­gate

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