PETER CROUCH’S GUIDE TO ENGLAND’S WORLD CUP SQUAD
GOALKEEPERS 1 JORDAN PICKFORD AGE: 24 CAPS: 3
The way he played in the first game of last season has stuck in my mind. That was his debut for Everton after his £30million move from Sunderland but he was outstanding. He’s brilliant with the ball at his feet, too, and is every inch the modern goalkeeper who can spray passes around. Gareth Southgate wants the team to play out from the back and that will hold no fears for him.
13 JACK BUTLAND AGE: 25 CAPS: 8
If my Stoke team-mate isn’t No 1 in Russia, there will come a day when he holds that position. Injuries have cost him but he has a good head on his shoulders and is a top goalkeeper. He’ll never let anyone down.
23 NICK POPE AGE: 26 CAPS: 1
People will ask what benefit Burnley’s No 1 will get going to the World Cup as No 3 keeper for England if he is not going to play but let me put like this: I’d go as No 3 ’keeper! I’d go as the kit man if they gave me the chance! What a brilliant experience to cap an excellent individual season.
DEFENDERS 2 KYLE WALKER AGE: 28 CAPS: 35 GOALS: 0
Played with him at Tottenham. What an athlete! When I first saw him play, I didn’t think it would be possible to sustain those runs up and down for 90 minutes but he’s different class. Has taken his game up another level at Manchester City. He’s our best right back but he has the ability and intelligence to play on the right of a back three.
12 KIERAN TRIPPIER AGE: 27 CAPS: 7 GOALS: 0
Every time I watch him play, I think to myself how good it would be to have him on my side. The first-time balls he puts in from the right are a striker’s dream — you would just love to be on the end of those inch- perfect crosses. Another one whose form has gone up a notch this season.
22 TRENT ALEXANDERARNOLD AGE: 19 CAPS: 1 GOALS: 0
I mentioned him a few times in my column during Liverpool’s run to the Champions League final. He keeps on standing out and you saw another example in that game against Real Madrid when his first touch was to cushion a ball out of the sky and lay it off. Nothing bothers him. If the 19-year-old is called upon, he will be ready.
5 JOHN STONES AGE: 24 CAPS: 26 GOALS: 0
You couldn’t say last season was ideal. He had an injury then didn’t get the starts he would have liked but there is no doubting his quality and Gareth Southgate knows him inside out. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t start.
15 GARY CAHILL AGE: 32 CAPS: 60 GOALS: 5
I’ve always had trouble playing against him, right back to the days when he was at Bolton. He’s stepped forward and replaced John Terry at Chelsea and you’ll see him put his body on the line and make a block in an important game that is as good as a goal.
6 HARRY MAGUIRE AGE: 25 CAPS: 5 GOALS: 0
It now feels like he is getting more appreciation for what a good footballer he is. He is a proper defender but he’s got quality on the ball and I can’t forget when Stoke played at Hull the season before last when he did a Cruyff-turn on the edge of his penalty area and then hit a 60-yard inch-perfect pass. Harry is right up there with the best in the Premier League now and deserves his place in the squad.
16 PHIL JONES AGE: 26 CAPS: 25 GOALS: 0
When Sir Alex Ferguson signed him for Manchester United, he was given a huge build-up. It’s been difficult for him to reach those levels but he’s come on each season. He’ll be valuable as he can play different positions.
18 ASHLEY YOUNG AGE: 32 CAPS: 34 GOALS: 7
He was my pick for left back in the PFA Team of the Year. His setpieces are always a threat, he is solid and you don’t see many wingers give him the run around. For an attacking midfielder, his transition to defence has been seamless.
3 DANNY ROSE AGE: 27 CAPS: 18 GOALS: 0
The one natural left back in the squad, he’d probably have been a certainty to start England’s opening game against Tunisia were it not for injuries. We go back a long