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England’s World Cup opener against Iran is fast approaching, but manager Gareth Southgate must first name his squad for the tournament in Qatar.
The Three Lions qualified comfortably but have since endured a poor run of form and suffered the embarrassment of relegation from their Nations League group.
Southgate will be hoping England pull themselves out of their slump as he finalises his squad for the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
When will Southgate announce his World Cup squad?
Southgate is expected to name a provisional 26-man squad at 2pm on Thursday 10 November, but he will still be able to make changes up until the deadline on Sunday 13 November.
He has already sent a longlist of 55 players to FIFA, but this may not be made public.
Teams can pick 26 players, up from 23, after Fifa increased the maximum limit due to the unique timing of the tournament and the impact of Covid-19 on squads.
Who will be in the squad?
Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope and Aaron Ramsdale are widely expected to be picked barring any late injuries or mishaps, with the Everton keeper likely to start against Iran.
England’s defence has been blighted by injuries and loss of form at the most inopportune moment.
Gareth Southgate has reportedly told Chelsea’s Reece James that he will not be named despite the right-back stepping up his recovery from a knee ligament injury. He also has a difficult decision to make on Kyle Walker.
Ben Chilwell added to England’s woes after he was ruled out with a “significant” hamstring injury sustained playing for Chelsea in the Champions League.
Harry Maguire has suffered a high-profile loss of form but is expected to make the plane with Marc Guehi, Ben White and Eric Dier also pushing for a call-up. Conor Coady and Tyrone Mings have also featured regularly under Southgate.
Kieron Trippier has been exceptional for Newcastle and has a good chance of starting. Full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Luke Shaw are looking more likely to make the cut.
The midfield selection looks more straightforward. Declan Rice, Jordan Henderson, Jude Bellingham, Mason Mount and Jack Grealish are set to make the plane.
Kalvin Phillips was an important player for Southgate in England’s run to the Euro 2020 final last summer and is also likely to get the nod if fit.
James-Ward Prowse, Conor Gallagher, Ruben Loftus-Cheek are potential inclusions, as is James Maddison who has been in superb form of late.
Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden are certainties, but Southgate has a whole host of options to choose from to complete his line-up including Tammy Abraham, Ivan Toney, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Callum Wilson.
Who was in England’s last World Cup squad?
Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland, Nick Pope
Defenders: Kyle Walker, Trent-Alexander Arnold, Kieran Trippier, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Danny Rose, Ashley Young
Midfielders: Jordan Henderson, Eric Dier, Fabian Delph, Dele Alli, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Attackers: Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck, Marcus Rashford
England’s group stage fixtures
England vs Iran: 1pm, Monday 21 November (Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan)
England vs United States: 7pm, Friday 25 November (Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor)
Wales vs England: 7pm, Tuesday 29 November (Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan)