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Predicting England's World Cup squad 100 days from their Tunisia opener

England's first game at the 2018 World Cup, against Tunisia, is 100 days away. So if Gareth Southgate were picking the squad today, what might it look like?


Jordan Pickford (Everton) -- Everton's season might not be going according to plan, but one of their few consistent performers has been Pickford. Has done more than enough to usurp Joe Hart in the No.1 shirt.

Jack Butland (Stoke City) -- And at the moment it's impossible to justify picking Hart anyway. He hasn't played a Premier League game since November, making Butland, despite the odd error, the clear second choice.

Nick Pope (Burnley) -- So who to take as the third keeper? Oddly, it should probably be whoever is playing for Burnley. Tom Heaton remains out injured, but his deputy Pope has done a fine job in his absence.


Kyle Walker (Manchester City) -- Sure, he can't really cross and he will be in a much lower quality side than Manchester City, but Walker remains the best right-back available to Southgate. His comfort at wing-back might be especially important.

Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur) -- And right behind Walker, as they were at Tottenham, is Trippier. That crossing ability from the right could be vital in a squad without many natural wide men.

Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur) -- Probably lucky to get in, considering he's behind Ben Davies in the Tottenham pecking order, but there are few alternatives: Ryan Bertrand's season hasn't been great, but neither has Luke Shaw's, and probably the most consistent English left-back is technically a midfielder.

Gary Cahill (Chelsea) -- Another who isn't a club regular these days, but he has 58 caps and this is a squad that lacks some experience. If nothing else, Cahill has plenty of that.

John Stones (Manchester City) -- Chris Smalling missed the last squad after Southgate noted he wasn't much good on the ball, so for all his other weaknesses, Stones is the best England have in that department.

Harry Maguire (Leicester City) -- The alternatives at centre-back aren't especially appealing. It's hard to see Smalling getting in, and Phil Jones is unreliable. Maguire is nobody's idea of a world-beater, but he's had a good season for Leicester and deserves a spot.

James Tarkowski (Burnley) -- Probably the breakout defensive star of the season, and it will give Michael Keane pause for thought that the man who stepped in for him at Burnley could gazump him for England. Ben Mee could be considered too, but Tarkowski could just edge his colleague out.

Harry Kane is one of the few no-brainer picks for Gareth Southgate's England squad.


Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool) -- Left out of the last squad, Oxlade-Chamberlain has been terrific ever since, proving a few people wrong. Has excelled in central midfield for Liverpool, and his versatility will be a key factor for Southgate.

Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur) -- Another whose ability to play in a couple of positions will benefit him. Southgate wants some tactical fluidity to his side, and Dier can provide that. He'll just have to be a bit more consistent than he has been at points this term.

Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur) -- Hasn't hit the heights, or the same number of goals as seasons past, but he's still one of England's best talents. Southgate will hope his form returns in the closing weeks of the season.

Adam Lallana (Liverpool) -- In some games England will need a player to pick through a defence, and Lallana is the best England have in that department. Helps that he can play wide and in a forward line, too.

Fabian Delph (Manchester City) -- Who would've thought that he could make this squad? Who would've predicted his emergence as a passable David Alaba impersonator? He's excelled at left-back this season, but as he's theoretically still a midfielder he gets the nod here.

Jesse Lingard (Manchester United) -- You suspect that there will always be people who aren't convinced by Lingard, but they should be. He has a knack of finding a goal from somewhere, and nobody should turn their nose up at that skill.

Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) -- Much maligned, occasionally fairly so, Henderson still brings some nous and experience to a relatively callow midfield. He isn't the most spectacular player, but he is at least dependable.

Jack Wilshere (Arsenal) -- The English have a continuing love affair with Wilshere, like they somehow need him to succeed. If Harry Winks was playing more regularly, then he might get this spot, but Wilshere has at least been a fixture in the Arsenal team and had some good showings of late.


Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) -- Not picking the best centre-forward in the world would be ... a statement.

Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) -- His early-season form has dropped off a little, but Sterling's excellence for most of the campaign means he will not only make the squad but should be one of the first names on Southgate's team sheet.

Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) -- He has nearly eclipsed last season's goals total, and there's still a quarter of the campaign to go. The first option off the bench.

Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) -- It's frustrating that Jose Mourinho doesn't seem quite as convinced by Rashford as are many Manchester United fans. But he's playing enough to justify his place, and his talent more than does.

Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham) -- The wild card. Of course, it would be a remarkable gamble to select a player who won't have played in the Premier League, but anyone who has watched Sessegnon will tell you what a talent he is. A full-back turned winger with a striker's instincts, he'll be in the team sooner or later. Let's make it sooner.

Nick Miller is a writer for ESPN FC, covering Premier League and European football. Follow him on Twitter @NickMiller79.


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