James Maddison and Callum Wilson Named in England World Cup Squad

by Dom Smith

James Maddison and Callum Wilson have been included in England’s 26-man World Cup squad.

Gareth Southgate has named his final squad for this month’s tournament in Qatar, where England face Iran, the United States and Wales in Group B.

Leicester City midfielder Maddison has only played once for England — making a 34-minute cameo as a substitute in a 7–0 qualifying win over Montenegro in 2019. Since then, his performances for the Foxes have improved steadily, yet Southgate has not used him since, suggesting he does not trust the 25-year-old as being defensively disciplined.

Newcastle striker Callum Wilson has been selected following strong form for the Magpies in recent weeks.

Centre-backs Fikayo Tomori, Tyrone Mings and Marc Guéhi have missed out, while a drop-off in form compared to previous seasons has cost James Ward-Prowse dearly, who narrowly misses the cut just as he did at Euro 2020.

Manchester City pair Kalvin Phillips and Kyle Walker have been named in the squad despite both racing to be fit in time. Phillips came off the bench in City’s 2–0 EFL Cup win over Chelsea on Wednesday — his first appearance for club or country since 14 September.

This weekend sees the final round of Premier League fixtures before domestic football pauses for the first-ever winter World Cup. Those named in the squad will arrive at St George’s Park throughout the day on Monday, before flying out to Qatar first thing Tuesday morning.

They will be based at the Souq Al Wakra Hotel, and their training base is the Al-Wakrah SC Stadium — a small 12,000-seater arena with training pitches and gyms in the surrounding area. It is a six-minute drive from one to the other, and both are situated roughly ten miles south of Doha city centre.


As was the case for the European Championships last summer, Southgate has named a squad largely filled with players who have been England staples in recent years. The likes of Raheem Sterling, John Stones, Declan Rice, Jordan Pickford and captain Harry Kane will continue to form the spine of the side.

Nearly every player included in England’s Euro 2020 campaign last summer headed into the tournament on the back of good domestic form on a personal level. However, the same cannot be said as England head for Qatar.

The form of players like Harry Maguire, Raheem Sterling, Mason Mount and Luke Shaw has come into question over the last few months, but the strength in depth of England’s player pool is not the boundless conveyer belt of talent that some say it is.

Leicester City midfielder Maddison has been the most productive England player in 2022 other than Kane. This tournament squad is a landmark moment for the attacking midfielder, who has become known as a player Southgate admires but does not trust in his pragmatic 3-4-3 system, in which there is seen as being no place for a creative No 10 in Maddison’s mould. Southgate is believed to feel Maddison is less tactically adaptable than similar players like Mount and Jack Grealish.

There is no space for Jadon Sancho or Jarrod Bowen, while Ivan Toney’s gambling investigation seems to have been enough to end his World Cup dream.

Marcus Rashford’s last kick for England was his limp spot-kick which struck the post in the Euros final and helped Italy on their way to shootout victory. But he has scored seven goals and registered three assists in 17 games for Manchester United this season and has been the club’s talisman at times — making the sort of impact he struggled to make in the past two seasons.

England’s centre-back options have been limited for a number of years, but Ben White of Arsenal has been included due to his excellent form for the Gunners, who lead the Premier League. White would likely be deployed on the right of a back three if Southgate uses him this winter, while he plays as a right-back in a four-man defence for his club side.

Callum Wilson has been superb for Newcastle as they have climb ever-higher in the Premier League week by week, and his regular flurry of goals since returning from injury has helped move him above Roma’s Tammy Abraham in the pecking order. Abraham was exceptional for José Mourinho’s side last term, but he has struggled for consistency this season and has paid a high price. He is yet to be in an England tournament squad, despite making his senior debut in 2017.

The injuries to Chelsea wingbacks Reece James and Ben Chilwell have severed Southgate’s wide options on the eve of the World Cup. Kieran Trippier and Luke Shaw will therefore almost certainly take up the two starting berths in a side that will likely line up with the manager’s favoured 3-4-3 system.

But just as some key players have sustained injuries at the worst possible time, so have others returned in timely fashion. Manchester City’s Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips have been named — Phillips having made a cameo for the club last night, and Walker having told England’s support staff that he is fit enough to be named in the squad.

Squad in full

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

Defenders: Kieran Trippier (Newcastle United), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Conor Coady (Everton), Ben White (Arsenal), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Luke Shaw (Manchester United)

Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Declan Rice (West Ham United), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), James Maddison (Leicester City)

Forwards: Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Raheem Sterling (Chelsea), Callum Wilson (Newcastle United), Jack Grealish (Manchester City)

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