The Unlikely Lads: Five Prem talents who could still make England WC squad
With just over three months to go until the start of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the shape of Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad remains far from certain.
Players such as Harry Kane (1/20), John Stones (1/12) and Jack Butland (1/8) are almost guaranteed to be picked for the Three Lions.
But there’s a whole host of names on the radar who could yet land a surprise seat on the plane to the tournament this summer.
Here we pick out five players who could make a late surge for the squad…
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 5/2
Liverpool are no strangers to producing young English talent. Steven Gerrard made his England debut as a 20-year-old. Michael Owen was only 18 when he made his Three Lions bow.
Trent Alexander-Arnold could be the latest name to add to the Anfield roll of honour.
The 19-year-old has been a regular starter for the Reds this season at full-back and offers an impressive balance between defence and attack.
He also has impeccable delivery, bundles of pace and an impressive control of the football.
Southgate already has plenty of options in the full-back areas. But the Three Lions boss could have little choice but to include the youngster if he continues to impress for Liverpool at home and in Europe this season.
Nick Pope – 5/1
With Tom Heaton unavailable through injury, Nick Pope has excelled for Burnley.
The ex-Charlton Athletic stopper has earned plaudits for his impressive shot-stopping and has kept nine Premier League clean sheets so far this season.
He’s yet to be capped by England at senior-level. But with Heaton not yet back fit and Joe Hart struggling for game time at West Ham United, Pope could sneak in as Southgate’s third-choice goalkeeper.
Scott McTominay – 8/1
England have lacked options in the holding midfield area for a while. Eric Dier will likely be Southgate’s first-choice in that department come 18th June.
But could Scott McTominay offer something different?
The 21-year-old has been thrust into the Manchester United first-team recently ahead of £89m-rated superstar Paul Pogba. He’s impressed too – particularly in United’s victory over Chelsea last weekend.
Questions remain over whether the youngster will pledge allegiance to England or Scotland. If the Red Devils ace opts for the Three Lions, Southgate could be tempted to include the 6ft 4in man as a backup option in his squad.
Jamaal Lascelles – 10/1
Jamaal Lascelles has gone somewhat under the radar at Newcastle United this season.
The 24-year-old has shown tremendous leadership for Rafael Benitez’s side and was the subject of rumours regarding a possible move to Chelsea last month.
England have a significant dearth of talent at centre-half and have long been criticised for a lack of figureheads within the squad.
If the Magpies stay up, expect Lascelles to be firmly amongst the Three Lions conversation.
Glenn Murray – 16/1
Past England managers have often opted to go a little left-field in their striking options.
Southampton’s Rickie Lambert was a surprise pick for the 2014 World Cup. A 32-year-old Emile Heskey made the plane to South Africa in 2010. Even Darius Vassell got the call in 2002.
Could this tournament’s shock selection be Glenn Murray?
The Brighton & Hove Albion striker is the joint-fourth highest English scorer in the Premier League so far this season with 10 goals. That puts him above Alexandre Lacazette and Alexis Sanchez in the overall standings.
Murray would offer Southgate something entirely different in Russia.
His experience, stature and status as an unknown quantity on the international stage could make him a worthwhile wildcard in the summer. Not to mention, he’s bang in form for the Seagulls.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing