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Picking England's 2018 World Cup squad: How our journalists voted

Picking England's World Cup squad: How our journalists voted

15/05/2018 at 16:57Updated 15/05/2018 at 18:43

On Monday, we published our 23-man England squad we would take to the World Cup.

A poll of our 13 journalists also saw Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold tipped for a call-up, meaning two uncapped teenagers would potentially make Gareth Southgate’s squad for Russia.

Meanwhile, big names like Gary Cahill and Danny Welbeck were left out.

But who did our individual journalists vote for? Which of the 23 players were a unanimous pick? And who only just failed to make it on the plane? Today, we reveal our votes in detail, including the workings out.

On Wednesday, we will publish the result of the public vote - so use our squad selector tool now, and share with your friends!

[PICK YOUR 23-MAN WORLD CUP SQUAD FOR ENGLAND!]

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Alex Chick: Foden wouldn’t be a massive gamble

Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City and Phil Foden of Manchester City

Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City and Phil Foden of Manchester CityGetty Images

England don’t have enough talented players to make for any genuinely significant omissions – but I suppose Nick Pope, Danny Rose, Fabian Delph, Kieran Tripper, Chris Smalling and Danny Welbeck might feel marginally hard-done-by. Joe Hart gets the nod as the third keeper; not because he’ll play (he won’t), but because he offers some experience and leadership in a pretty green group.

Ashley Young also provides experience and some versatility. Trent Alexander-Arnold is more dynamic and in better form than Trippier. Phil Foden is a wildcard, but when you’re umming and aahing about the likes of Jake Livermore, the Manchester City youngster hardly represents a massive gamble. Up front Andy Carroll is in as a ‘break in case of emergency’ striker with a rather different skill set to his fellow strikers.

  • GK: Pickford, Butland, Hart
  • DF: Alexander-Arnold, Walker, Stones, Cahill, Jones, Maguire, Bertrand, Young
  • MD: Dier, Henderson, Wilshere, Lallana, Lingard, Foden
  • FW: Alli, Kane, Vardy, Rashford, Sterling, Carroll

Desmond Kane: Tarkowski merits a place

James Tarkowski

James TarkowskiGetty Images

Gareth Southgate’s decision to name his squad early suggests there is not going to be any huge surprises in the 23-man squad boarding the plane to Russia. Certainly not in the manner of Sven clamping Theo Walcott to his golden generation in 2006. Or Glenn Hoddle bizarrely discarding Gazza at the last minute two decades ago.

There is not going to be huge wailing and gnashing of teeth if Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope boards the plane ahead of Joe Hart. And nor should there. Hart’s form for West Ham has not been convincing enough to make him an assured third pick behind Jack Butland and Jordan Pickford. Likewise, the core of the defence is loaded with experience from Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham at the elite end of the Premier League and Champions League. Burnley’s fine season in finishing seventh in the standings has been helped by an outstanding contribution from James Tarkowski, who has done more than enough to earn a spot in Southgate’s squad ahead of Gary Cahill and John Stones.

Arsenal’s late run to the Europa League last four where they suffered an unfortunate loss to Diego Simeone’s excellent Atletico Madrid team was helped by a rejuvenated Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshere, both of whom have the experience, form and class to be granted admissions to the squad. Adam Lallana brings plenty of menace and freshness. He should make the final cut providing he convinces Southgate he is over his fitness problems. England’s attacking force picks itself, but there should also be room for the supporting threat of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who showed against Germany last November at that he has the vision to trouble the very best.

  • GK: Butland, Pickford, Pope
  • DF: Walker, Alexander-Arnold, Trippier, Maguire, Jones, Bertrand, Smalling, Tarkowski
  • MD: Dier, Henderson, Lingard, Loftus-Cheek, Wilshere, Lallana
  • FW: Kane, Alli, Vardy, Sterling, Rashford, Welbeck

Ben Snowball: Take Hart, as long as he doesn’t play

Joe Hart of England warms up prior to the international friendly match between Netherlands and England

Joe Hart of England warms up prior to the international friendly match between Netherlands and EnglandGetty Images

England 0-1 Panama… it’s inevitable, regardless of which 23 poor souls make the plane. Goalkeepers? Average. Defence? Average. Midfield? Abysmal. Attack? Actually, that’s pretty sensational.

Joe Hart gets in on the stipulation he doesn’t play, but brings ‘experience to the camp’ – whatever that cliché actually means. Fabian Delph and Chris Smalling are the surprise inclusions in defence, the former because he plays for Manchester City, the latter despite playing for Manchester United. The midfield options make dismal reading, so Jack Wilshere, Adam Lallana and Ruben Loftus-Cheek earn reluctant picks. At least the attack is exciting, with the BIG five (Sterling, Alli, Kane, Vardy and Rashford) joined by Jadon Sancho. If you’re good enough for Borussia Dortmund, you’re good enough for England.

  • GK: Pickford, Butland, Hart
  • DF: Walker, Delph, Bertrand, Trippier, Jones, Stones, Maguire, Smalling
  • MD: Dier, Lingard, Henderson, Wilshere, Lallana, Loftus-Cheek
  • FW: Sterling, Alli, Kane, Vardy, Rashford, Sancho

Tom Adams: Sancho can't be ignored

Jadon Sancho of Dortmund runs with the ball during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and 1. FSV Mainz 05

Jadon Sancho of Dortmund runs with the ball during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and 1. FSV Mainz 05Getty Images

It is clear from the players available to Southgate that this will not be a vintage England squad. Neither is there any realistic prospect of challenging for the World Cup. With that in mind, England should consider the future as well as the present and that means selecting 18-year-old Jadon Sancho: both in recognition of his performances for Borussia Dortmund and his stellar displays for the England youth teams which were so successful over the past 12 months. It would show that Southgate has created a path from the youth to senior level. Plus he is a genuinely electric talent with the ability to transform a game.

Sancho's inclusion means Danny Welbeck misses out in attack. It's a shame for the Arsenal striker, who never lets England down, but he has faded at the end of the season and has relinquished his hold on a place. If only England had such selection dilemmas in midfield, where a lack of convincing options mean the squad almost picks itself. My big decision was having to let down Adam Lallana. He was England's Player of the Year in 2016 and on his day brings something unique to the team, but one Premier League start all season is no preparation for a World Cup. His fitness problems, and the absence of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, mean Ruben Loftus-Cheek and a resurgent Jonjo Shelvey join Jack Wilshere in a slightly dodgy-looking midfield.

The defence is similarly unconvincing and for a team that plays three at the back, England are lacking in centre-back options. For that reason I'm following Gareth Southgate's lead and using Kyle Walker in the back three, allowing the inclusion of Trent Alexander-Arnold, whose range of passing has really impressed me in the latter stages of the season. James Tarkowski gets in on merit after his excellent campaign with Burnley and there's no place for Gary Cahill or Phil Jones. In goal, Hart doesn't deserve a call-up but he should make the travelling party for his experience.

  • GK: Pickford, Butland, Hart
  • DF: Alexander-Arnold, Trippier, Bertrand, Delph, Walker, Stones, Maguire, Tarkowski
  • MD: Dier, Henderson, Wilshere, Lingard, Loftus-Cheek, Shelvey
  • FW: Sterling, Alli, Kane, Vardy, Rashford, Sancho

Tom Bennett: No room for ‘toxic’ Hart, but Wilshere makes cut

Jack Wilshere

Jack WilshereGetty Images

In years gone by the struggle with picking an England World Cup squad was narrowing it down to 23. Now it’s a challenge to even muster up 23 tournament-ready players. Such a paucity of talent, particularly in central midfield, means that Gareth Southgate is going to have to get creative with how he assembles his team. And the best option for England in Russia is likely to be the Liverpool model (as best illustrated in the Roma semi-final first leg) of attempting to bypass midfield completely.

As such, the squad that I would pick, and the squad that I think Southgate would pick, includes centre-backs who are comfortable on the ball and central midfielders who are adept at sitting deep and used to playing long balls for their clubs. The attacking strength England possess is the squad’s best attribute, and with the six players selected there are a range of options for all opponents.

I would not pick Hart, primarily because he’s not among the three best goalkeepers available, but also because the value of his experience is more than offset by the intense negativity of that experience and the toxic mentality that his presence (albeit completely unintentionally) will bring. I have also named Kyle Walker as a right-sided centre-back. Not because I think that’s his best position, but because right-back is an area of relative strength for England and Southgate showed in the March friendlies that he wants Walker’s pace and reading of the game in defensive areas. Alfie Mawson would have made my squad but his injury opens the door for Phil Jones.

Jack Wilshere and Jonjo Shelvey are both extremely fortunate to make the cut, but if both are instructed to sit deep and pass long then they offer quality in that area that England don’t otherwise have. Good luck to England and Southgate, they’re going to need it.

  • GK: Butland, Pickford, Pope
  • DF: Trippier, Walker, Alexander-Arnold, Young, Bertrand, Stones, Maguire, Jones
  • MD: Dier, Henderson, Cook, Lingard, Shelvey, Wilshere
  • FW: Sterling, Alli, Kane, Vardy, Rashford, Welbeck

Dan Quarrell: Southgate is wrong about Smalling

Kane and Smalling have played together several times for the Three Lions

Kane and Smalling have played together several times for the Three LionsPA Sport

This is a young, vibrant and enthusiastic squad who will go to Russia and get something… probably just a bit of experience, but hey, it’s going to be fun. So absolutely no Joe Hart – and no Ashley Young. But absolutely yes, Jadon Sancho and Trent Alexander-Arnold. And no, don’t even dare compare either of these picks to a shoot-from-the-hip Sven taking a wild punt on Theo Walcott, because both players have excelled for their clubs and deserve to be there. Oh, and Gareth Southgate is wrong about Chris Smalling… he’s coming.

  • GK: Butland, Pickford, Hart
  • DF: Stones, Alexander-Arnold, Walker, Rose, Cahill, Jones, Smalling, Delph
  • MD: Dier, Henderson, Lingard, Wilshere, Lallana, Loftus-Cheek
  • FW: Sterling, Alli, Kane, Sancho, Rashford, Vardy

Demitri D’Cunha: Lallana can’t be overlooked

Adam Lallana of England is challenged by Lorenzo Pellegrini of Italy during the International friendly between England and Italy at Wembley Stadium on March 27, 2018 in London, England.

Adam Lallana of England is challenged by Lorenzo Pellegrini of Italy during the International friendly between England and Italy at Wembley Stadium on March 27, 2018 in London, England.Getty Images

It’s not the greatest squad we’ve taken to a tournament… but it’s a balanced mix of youth and experience. Obviously Joe Hart and Gary Cahill won’t be the most popular choices, but they’re both players who have won titles in the past and played at multiple international tournaments. I wouldn’t pick either in my starting XI, but their experience off the field will be vital for the younger members of the squad.

I’ve gone for Fabian Delph over Danny Rose simply because of his versatility and the fact that Rose hasn’t played enough this season. Adam Lallana is the exception to that rule because he is one of our most technically gifted players and he possesses unique qualities compared to the rest of the midfield options. Jonjo Shelvey is in great form and has an incredible passing range which would be vital when we look to break forward with pace on the counter. The forwards pretty much pick themselves - bar Danny Welbeck – who always seems to perform in an England shirt, which is why he makes my squad.

  • GK: Pickford, Butland, Hart
  • DF: Trippier, Walker, Bertrand, Delph, Stones, Maguire, Jones, Cahill
  • MD: Dier, Henderson, Wilshere, Lallana, Lingard, Shelvey
  • FW: Sterling, Alli, Kane, Vardy, Rashford, Welbeck

Gary Taylor: Shelvey is a no-brainer

Ayoze Perez of Newcastle United celebrates with teammates

Ayoze Perez of Newcastle United celebrates with teammatesGetty Images

The two ‘controversial’ choices here are Jonjo Shelvey and Jadon Sancho but if you are picking players based purely on current form, they are no-brainers. Shelvey has thrived under Rafa Benitez at Newcastle and lead by example during the second half of the season, while Sancho has been creating Bundesliga history with Dortmund and his confidence will be sky high.

This squad has a nice blend of experience with youthful exuberance. We won’t win the World Cup so why not go out to Russia and have a go?

  • GK: Pickford, Butland, Hart
  • DF: Walker, Smalling, Bertrand, Stones, Jones, Gomez, Alexander-Arnold, Cresswell
  • MD: Dier, Lallana, Lingard, Henderson, Shelvey, Loftus-Cheek
  • FW: Sterling, Alli, Kane, Vardy, Rashford, Sancho

Marcus Foley: We may as well have some fun

John Stones, left, and Kyle Walker

John Stones, left, and Kyle WalkerPA Sport

England are not going to win the World Cup. In fact, England might not get out of their group. With expectations lowered, Gareth Southgate should - even if he won't - take the opportunity to take some risks. With that in mind, Jordan Pickford goes as number one. He is a very decent shot-stopper while his ability to change defence into attack with his rapier kicking would be an internal weapon in a top-heavy squad.

Kyle Walker doubles up as a centre-half due to England's paucity in that area. Walker brings nous, incision and pace, while Stones sets the tempo from deep. England's focus should be on getting the ball forward as quick as possible. Ryan Bertrand and that creative-midfielder-operating-at-full back Trent Alexander-Arnold operate as wing backs. The rest of the defenders are a mix of brawn (Maguire, Jones) and depth (Delph, Smalling).

In midfield, Ruben Loftus-Cheek starts alongside Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling. All three wonderful technical midfielders capable of causing all manner of problems. Loftus-Cheek can dominate from the base while Sterling and Lallana dovetail with the front two. Eric Dier would represent a less expansive option than Loftus-Cheek. Jack Wilshire is only in for the injured Ox; while less dynamic than his former Arsenal colleague, his close control and eye for a pass are a premium commodity. Jordan Henderson and Jesse Lingard offer differing but fine options from the bench to close games out.

Up front, it is Harry Kane and Dele Alli - they play together on a weekly basis and actually have a partnership. Jamie Vardy has hit a pretty impressive 20 league goals this season so offers a fine option from the bench. Andy Carroll represents the direct option when England are invariably down three nil against a side they shouldn't be. Marcus Rashford is in despite his criminal lack of starts for Manchester United. This is all a fantasy, but this is a poor England side, so they may as well be fun.

  • GK: Pickford, Pope, Hart
  • DF: Alexander-Arnold, Walker, Bertrand, Delph, Stones, Jones, Maguire, Smalling
  • MD: Dier, Henderson, Loftus-Cheek, Lallana, Wilshere, Lingard
  • FW: Sterling, Alli, Kane, Vardy, Rashford, Carroll

Kevin Coulson: We need Carroll as a Plan B

Andy Carroll's stoppage-time winner in January dealt West Brom a hammer blow

Andy Carroll's stoppage-time winner in January dealt West Brom a hammer blowPA Sport

In a young squad, the experience of Joe Hart – who is highly unlikely to start a match given he will be third choice – could be useful in aiding Butland and Pickford in what will be a huge test of the keepers’ confidence. In defence, England are likely to play three centre-backs, so will need four of them (with Walker able to deputise if needed), plus four wing-backs for balance. Delph gets the nod ahead of Young, as he can also slot into central midfield.

Shelvey misses out in the centre of the park to Loftus-Cheek due to concerns over the Newcastle man’s temperament. Envisioning England conceding a sloppy goal and then being unable to break teams down in the knock-out stages, Carroll gets my pick as the final striker – only ever to be used as a Plan B alongside Kane with 10 minutes to go.

  • GK: Pickford, Butland, Hart
  • DF: Trippier, Walker, Bertrand, Delph, Stones, Maguire, Jones, Cahill
  • MD: Dier, Henderson, Wilshere, Loftus-Cheek, Lallana, Lingard
  • FW: Sterling, Alli, Kane, Vardy, Rashford, Carroll

Mike Hincks: Take Alexander-Arnold

Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool celebrates after the full time whistle as Liverpool qualify for the Champions League Final

Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool celebrates after the full time whistle as Liverpool qualify for the Champions League FinalGetty Images

Being a realist, Joe Hart gets the nod ahead of Nick Pope, because that's just what Gareth Southgate is going to do. Defensively we look weak but I fancy Trent Alexander-Arnold to feature, particularly with Kyle Walker potentially starting as a centre-back in Russia.

Elsewhere, I've plumped for Jonjo Shelvey and Jack Wilshere with Jake Livermore missing out. A travesty, I know, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's injury opens up the door for two of the three to go. Being a pessimist, it's difficult to see Southgate taking Jadon Sancho or any other promising youngster - hence the pick of Danny Welbeck as the sixth forward. He'll barely feature, but is a classic squad pick.

  • GK: Pickford, Butland, Hart
  • DF: Walker, Alexander-Arnold, Rose, Stones, Jones, Maguire, Bertrand, Trippier
  • MD: Dier, Henderson, Shelvey, Lingard, Lallana, Wilshere
  • FW: Sterling, Alli, Kane, Vardy, Rashford, Welbeck

Johnny Booth: Take a punt on Foden

Manchester City's Phil Foden has suffered ankle ligament damage

Manchester City's Phil Foden has suffered ankle ligament damagePA Sport

I've gone for a realistic squad that's largely comfortable on the ball (for Englishmen) and has an eye on the future. In the interests of forward thinking; Joe Hart is replaced by Nick Pope - statistically the Premier League's best goalkeeper this term. The fit again Phil Jones needs to be on the plane, but without Jose Mourinho's defensive discipline I dread to think what calamities await Chris Smalling - so he's out in favour of Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Short of options at left-back and defensive midfield, Fabian Delph is there in the hope he can show the spoils of Pep Guardiola's tutelage. Being a 'progressive' squad, there's no place for Gary Cahill - and while there's a lack of centre-back numbers at least Alexander-Arnold can offer that in midfield.

With that in mind, Ruben Loftus-Cheek is in alongside Phil Foden. The midfield is so bad, our star of the future may as well take up one spot in order to gain big-tournament experience. One wild card pick who I'd like to play a genuine part however is the in-form Jordan Sancho. He'll supplement a quicksilver forward line inspired by the City and Liverpool attacks who've captured the imagination this season...

  • GK: Pickford, Butland, Pope
  • DF: Trippier, Walker, Alexander-Arnold, Stones, Delph, Bertrand, Maguire, Jones
  • MD: Dier, Henderson, Wilshere, Loftus-Cheek, Lingard, Foden
  • FD: Sterling, Alli, Kane, Vardy, Rashford, Sancho

Pete Sharland: Sancho gives you something different

ortmund's English midfielder Jadon Sancho celebrates after scoring during the German first division Bundesliga football match Borussia Dortmund vs Bayer Leverkusen

ortmund's English midfielder Jadon Sancho celebrates after scoring during the German first division Bundesliga football match Borussia Dortmund vs Bayer LeverkusenGetty Images

Sancho is the wildcard but he can offer England something different and some unpredictability. The defence gives you two wing-backs who can also play at centre-back if injuries or suspension strike and a defender who can slot into midfield in Delph.

The midfield is a balance of three deeper players, including Dier who could fill in if needed in a back three, and three more advanced players who all offer something a little different. Shelvey actually has some form, which is a whole lot more than pretty much every other English midfielder, giving him the nod.

  • GK: Butland, Pickford, Hart
  • DF: Alexander-Arnold, Walker, Delph, Young, Maguire, Stones, Jones, Bertrand
  • MD: Dier, Henderson, Loftus-Cheek, Lallana, Lingard, Shelvey
  • FW: Alli, Vardy, Sterling, Kane, Rashford, Sancho

TOTAL VOTES (OUT OF 13)

  • GK: Pickford 13, Butland, 12, Hart 9, Pope 5
  • DF: Walker 13, Bertrand 12, Maguire 12, Stones 12, Jones 12, Alexander-Arnold 10. Tripper 8, Delph 8, Smalling 5, Cahill 4, Young 3, Tarkowski 2, Cresswell 1, Rose 2
  • MD: Dier 13, Henderson 13, Lingard 13, Wilshere 11, Lallana 10, Loftus-Cheek 9, Shelvey 6, Foden 2, Cook 1
  • FD: Sterling 13, Alli 13, Kane 13, Rashford 13, Vardy 13, Sancho 6, Welbeck 4, Carroll 3
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