England are heading to the World Cup in Russia this summer expected to play a pragmatic and generally unadventurous brand of mid-tempo football, and most still won’t pick them to make it far past the group stages. Which makes it a little hard to get all that excited.
Still, in the buildup there’s at least one reason for Liverpool fans to work up a bit of energy about the national team thanks to today’s news that 19-year-old Trent Alexander-Arnold has made the cut and will be joining the team alongside captain Jordan Henderson.
As recently as a month ago, Alexander-Arnold seemed a long-shot, but a series of strong performances in the Champions League have earned him a place, and it will likely be a choice between him and Tottenham’s Kieran Trippier at right wingback in Russia.
That one of those two will be in line to start at the World Cup is down to Manchester City’s Kyle Walker—England’s best right back at the club level—being widely expected to play as a centre half in manager Gareth Southgate’s three-man back line.
Right now, though, Trippier does seem at least the narrow favourite to start at right wingback—though a strong showing against Real Madrid in the Champions League final could just give Alexander-Arnold an outside chance at starting at the World Cup.
Henderson, meanwhile, is a lock to start in midfield, and England fans will hope that his strong play late in the season for Liverpool will carry over to the national team.
England’s World Cup squad in full:
GK: Butland (Stoke), Pickford (Everton), Pope (Burnley)
Defenders: Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Cahill (Chelsea), Jones (Manchester United), Maguire (Leicester), Rose (Tottenham), Stones (Manchester City), Trippier (Tottenham), Walker (Manchester City)
Midfielders: Alli (Tottenham), Delph (Manchester City), Dier (Tottenham), Henderson (Liverpool), Lingard (Manchester United), Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea), Young (Manchester United)
Forwards: Kane (Tottenham), Rashford (Manchester United), Sterling (Manchester City), Vardy (Leicester), Welbeck (Arsenal)