How strong is the England World Cup squad and how far can they go?
Written by Matthew McKenry on 8th December 2022
North East journalist Craig Hope says he believes England’s World Cup squad is ‘fair’ – but doesn’t believe the side will progress past the last eight.
With England securing a place in the round of 16 topping group B, followed by a 3-0 victory against Senegal securing them a place in the quarter finals, many are looking to the squad as they face the knockout rounds to see how far they can go.
There have been many talking points for England in this World Cup with a devastating opening statement winning 6-2 against Iran. On the other hand, Southgate’s men looked lacklustre as the USA controlled the second game in which they salvaged a draw as the second best team.
With Southgate’s selection choices being controversial, England face their first opponent of the knockouts, well renowned North East sports journalist Craig Hope said: “I’m surprised Conor Gallagher made the squad. I like him as a player but I feel he hasn’t had a great season at Chelsea. But if not him, then who?”
These comments reflect the general mood in the choice to bring Gallagher to the World Cup as his underwhelming club performances have posed the question as to whether he has earned his place at the World Cup ahead of other midfielders such as James Ward-Prowse, Joe Willock and Harvey Elliott, who have had big impacts at club level.
Luke Shaw has shown a string of solid performances at left back so far in this tournament, however the inclusion of only one natural left back in the squad has posed questions as to not choosing another could impact his fitness. Hope added: “Maybe a case could be made for another left back, such as Newcastle’s Dan Burn, but that was always an outside chance.”
The chance for Burn to be considered for the World Cup was always going to be slim, however his form at Club level has been very impressive, with Newcastle sat in third in the Premier League with the Magpies having the best defensive record this season.
Despite the controversial calls, Hope believes that “the squad feels fair, but I don’t believe it will be good enough to go any further than the quarter finals.”