England

England's World Cup 2022 squad: Who's on the plane?

Sean Walsh
The World Cup is on the horizon
The World Cup is on the horizon / Clive Rose/GettyImages
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The 2022 World Cup is now only months away, and England are among the favourites to go all the way in Qatar.

After getting so close at Euro 2020, Gareth Southgate's men have to be considered one of the best teams at FIFA's showpiece event next winter.

But who should be in the 26-man squad to go to Qatar? It's time for the return of 90min's 'Who's on the Plane' power rankings series...

*Last Update: 24 June 2022


26. James Ward-Prowse (Re-entry)

James Ward-Prowse
Ward-Prowse's set pieces are incredible / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Southgate's England love a good set piece goal. It's why onlookers were shocked when James Ward-Prowse was overlooked for the Euros squad.

But with another season as pretty much Southampton's sole star under his belt and his free-kicks as glorious as ever, he has a good shot of heading to the World Cup.


25. Marc Guehi (New entry)

Marc Guehi
Guehi's come on leaps and bounds / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

Crystal Palace's surprisingly good debut season under Patrick Vieira was known for the Eagles' attacking flair, but their defensive resilience was highlighted by the arrival of Marc Guehi.

Southgate took note of his impact and has been a regular in his England lineups in 2022.


24. Kieran Trippier (Re-entry)

Kieran Trippier
Trippier's back in the fold / James Baylis - AMA/GettyImages

It's a shame that a large part of Kieran Trippier's 2021/22 season with Newcastle was disrupted with an injury, but even in his brief glimpses he looked like the player Southgate knows and trusts.

His versatility and big game experience will come in handy with an extended squad permitted.


23. Luke Shaw (Down 1)

Luke Shaw, Dominik Szoboszlai
Shaw's form has nosedived this season / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Luke Shaw's stock at the time of his goal in the Euro 2020 final had soared to Jupiter - there was a genuine case that he was the best left-back in the world.

But he was brought crashing back to earth last season with poor form and injuries opening the door for James Justin and Kieran Trippier to challenge him for a spot in the squad. Provided he starts the 2022/23 campaign okay though, the place is his.


22. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Down 7)

Trent Alexander-Arnold
Alexander-Arnold is back to his best / Jonathan Moscrop/GettyImages

Incredibly, there is still a debate over whether Trent Alexander-Arnold should even be in the England squad.

The right-back was back to his best last season, scaring defenders more than ever before. Southgate does not play to his strengths, sure, but he'd be mad not to take him to the World Cup surely?


21. Fikayo Tomori (New Entry)

Fikayo Tomori
Tomori started against Italy in the summer friendlies / Visionhaus/GettyImages

After being overlooked for a criminal amount of time, Fikayo Tomori is finally in the England squad.

Tomori's displays were a big reason for AC Milan winning the Scudetto and if he keeps this up the former Chelsea man will be going to Qatar.


20. Conor Coady (-)

Conor Coady
Conor Coady has skippered England under Southgate / Nicolò Campo/GettyImages

England love playing three at the back, even in games you'd expect them to dominate, and that system could open the door for Wolves skipper Conor Coady.

The Liverpudlian has been playing with a three-man defence for Wanderers for what feels like decades, and he's widely regarded as one of the Premier League's best leaders. Authority is what Southgate likes and the fact Coady has skippered his country could be a key factor.


19. Kalvin Phillips (-)

Kalvin Phillips
Phillips was excellent during Euro 2020 / Robin Jones/GettyImages

A real favourite of Southgate, the Leeds man looked to be in a bit of trouble thanks to an injury-hit 2021/22 club season.

However, as he often does, the England manager showed his loyal streak, putting Phillips straight back into the side. The midfielder suits his country's system extremely well.


18. Nick Pope (-)

Nick Pope
Pope missed Euro 2020 with injury / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/GettyImages

It's hard to have any strong feelings over the selection of the third-choice goalkeeper, but Nick Pope just about gets the nod over Sam Johnstone and Dean Henderson for now - essentially because he is likely to remain a Premier League regular despite Burnley's relegation.


17. Tammy Abraham (-)

Tammy Abraham
Tammy Abraham has thrived at Roma / Ciancaphoto Studio/GettyImages

Marcus Rashford is struggling and Dominic Calvert-Lewin always seems to be injured, opening the door for the rejuvenated Tammy Abraham to claim a spot in England's World Cup squad.

Scoring goals for fun in Serie A, Abraham looks a cut above currently and it's hard to argue against him being Kane's understudy if he keeps it up.


16. Aaron Ramsdale (-)

Aaron Ramsdale
Ramsdale has quickly become a fan favourite at Arsenal / Jonathan Moscrop/GettyImages

If you saw Aaron Ramsdale's Arsenal renaissance coming, you're a liar. Bloke's been playing out of his skin after conceding about 200 goals in the last two seasons.

Still, at least Jordan Pickford has some competition (both for his spot and for the vibes he brings to the squad).


15. Jack Grealish (Down 3)

Jack Grealish
Grealish left boyhood club Aston Villa after Euro 2020 / Michael Regan/GettyImages

Sure, Jack Grealish probably isn't worth £100m and isn't standing out as much at Man City, but he's still top class and brings an X-factor that few other Englishmen can.


14. Ben Chilwell (-)

Ben Chilwell
Chilwell shone for Chelsea this season prior to injury / Nicolò Campo/GettyImages

Luke Shaw may have wrestled the England left-back spot from Ben Chilwell last year, but the Chelsea man took it back after a superb start to the 2021/22 campaign.

Not even a serious knee injury, which ended his campaign prematurely., is likely to take away his World Cup dream.


13. John Stones (-)

John Stones
Stones has scarcely featured for Man City this season / Nicolò Campo/GettyImages

After working his way back into Manchester City's starting XI last season, it seems that Pep Guardiola would now prefer Aymeric Laporte to partner Ruben Dias instead of John Stones.

Nevertheless, he remains one of Southgate's best options at centre-back.


12. Bukayo Saka (Up 1)

Bukayo Saka
Saka has stepped up for Arsenal / Jonathan Moscrop/GettyImages

Bukayo Saka is an international manager's dream, being able to play in various positions across the pitch to a high standard.

Memories of that penalty miss are strong, but wrongfully gloss over how useful he was at the Euros as a whole.


11. Jude Bellingham (Up 1)

Jude Bellingham
Bellingham is already one of Borussia Dortmund's key players / Nicolò Campo/GettyImages

Away from the harsh Premier League spotlight, Jude Bellingham has established himself as one of the very best players in the Bundesliga.

Who knows just how good the teenager will be by the time the World Cup rolls around...


10. Harry Maguire (Down 1)

Harry Maguire
Maguire was immense at the Euros....but has struggled since / Nicolò Campo/GettyImages

Even though he enjoyed a horrific 2021/22 season, Southgate loves Harry Maguire.

His place is safer than safe.


9. Kyle Walker (Up 1)

Kyle Walker
Kyle Walker's versatility is a huge asset / Robin Jones/GettyImages

Kyle Walker's experience, recovery pace and versatility in a back three mean that he has to be on the plane - even if Gareth Southgate did omit him from the squad for England's March international friendlies.


8. Jordan Henderson (-)

Jordan Henderson
Henderson is one of the most senior players in the England setup / Michael Regan/GettyImages

Father Time and injuries may be catching up with Jordan Henderson - the latter restricted his involvement at the Euros - but Southgate still depends on him as one of his most senior options in a young England team.


7. Jordan Pickford (-)

Jordan Pickford
Pickford was sensational at Euro 2020 / Danilo Di Giovanni/GettyImages

A stunning Euro 2020 - which may have seen him win the Player of the Tournament award rather than Gianluigi Donnarumma if the penalty shootout went the other way - elevated Jordan Pickford in the eyes of England fans.

He's number one unless his form falls off a cliff - which it did not last season despite Everton's struggles.


6. Reece James (Down 1)

Reece James
James has been one of Chelsea's standout players / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

Reece James' all-action 2021/22 campaign has seen him draw comparisons to Steven Gerrard.

He's a right-back. Unbelievable.

Ahead of Alexander-Arnold at present due to the way England like to set up.


5. Mason Mount (Down 1)

Mason Mount
Mount is a favourite for club and country / Robin Jones/GettyImages

It doesn't usually matter what role Mason Mount is playing - he'll find a way to make teams better and make the players around him fit together.


4. Phil Foden (-)

Phil Foden
Foden's versatility is a huge plus / Danilo Di Giovanni/GettyImages

In terms of talent, Phil Foden should be mentioned in the same breath as Wayne Rooney and Paul Gascoigne.

Hell, he's even building a CV to compare with them, too. One of the Premier League's best players that can play anywhere in a forward line and in midfield.


3. Declan Rice (Up 2)

Declan Rice
Rice has been outstanding for West Ham and England / Matthew Ashton - AMA/GettyImages

While he didn't set the world alight at the Euros, Declan Rice has quietly been one of the best players in the Premier League since the summer.

Whether he's at West Ham or a club competing for the top honours, he needs to be on the plane.


2. Raheem Sterling (-)

Raheem Sterling
Sterling is a key figure under Gareth Southgate / Michael Regan/GettyImages

Here's a thought - if Man City had won the Champions League and England had won Euro 2020, would Raheem Sterling have been on the Ballon d'Or podium?

It's hard to argue against it. He's easily one of the players Southgate relies on most, regardless of whether he's a regular in Pep Guardiola's side or not.


1. Harry Kane (-)

Harry Kane
Kane is close to becoming England's record goalscorer / Nicolò Campo/GettyImages

England captain - whether you like it or not - and the first name on Gareth Southgate's teamsheet.

Hard to argue with that, in all honestly.


Potential England 2022 World Cup squad

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Newcastle), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Man Utd), John Stones (Man City), Fikayo Tomori (AC Milan), Conor Coady (Wolves), Kyle Walker (Man City), Luke Shaw (Man Utd), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace)

Midfielders: Declan Rice (West Ham), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)

Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Raheem Sterling (Man City), Phil Foden (Man City), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Jack Grealish (Man City), Tammy Abraham (Roma)

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