England 30-6 Australia: Jones’ England have Australia at Cheik-mate


England ensured their 100% record in the Autumn Internationals continued through a flattering 30-6 defeat of Australia, denting hopes Down Under of usurping the English to 2nd in the World Rankings.

The victory for Eddie Jones’ men is their biggest winning margin against the Wallabies, but Michael Cheika’s team will feel aggrieved by the Television Match Official (TMO) decisions.

Tries for Jonny May, Jonathon Joseph, Danny Care and Elliot Daly secured the win, but the scoreline did not reflect the ferocity of the contest. Three quarters into the match, despite a couple of sin bins to captain Michael Hooper and Kurtley Beale, the Aussies were firm on England’s heels. Eddie Jones said after the match, naively, that it wasn’t as close a contest, but had TMO decisions gone in Australia’s favour, we could be looking at a very different story.

The first try to be rescinded occurred late into the first half. Excellent intricacy by the Australians led to a grubber kick by Tevita Kuridrani, intended for Marika Koroibete, but finished by Hooper. Unfortunately for the away side, Hooper was offside when the grubber was kicked, an outcome correctly ruled, but gaining sarcastic applause from the Australian coaching staff.

Another try was chalked off in far more contentious circumstances in the second half. With England leading 13-6, an excellent break from Koroibete, with a swift interchange from Bernard Foley before Koroibete grounded the ball looked to have levelled the affair. However, Stephen Moore was judged to have obstructed Chris Robshaw in his efforts to make a last ditch tackle. The TMO in ruling out the points irked Cheika profoundly, even leading to a confrontation with a support.

Before that, two penalties from Owen Farrell and one by Reece Hodge had left the contest finely balanced. In drizzly conditions, the kicking contest was going to be essential. In the scrum Australia countered English size with tenacity, making duels between the forwards enthralling. Both sides showcased excellent try saving defences, but mid-way into the second half the tide significantly turned.

A majestic break between the lines by Samu Kerevi almost led to Australia being a shoe-in for 5 points, but his pass could not find a supporting Kuridrani. As England swept up, a hopeful punt to touch by George Ford trickled agonisingly close to touch. Inept covering by Beale, who starred for Wasps last season, let the pace of Daly steal a march, prodding it towards the tryline to score. TMO again judged in England’s favour. Farrell converted.

At 13-6, even after the disallowed try, the Wallabies had a chance to resurrecting their cause through a penalty. But inexplicably they chose to go for touch, losing ball in the resulting phase. With 15 men on the field, those in green and gold were playing some fantastic phases of ball-in-hand rugby. But strength-in-depth in replacements handed England an unmountable lead.

Two excellent kicks behind the Australian wave by replacement scrum-half Danny Care provided opportunities for Joseph and May to score respectively. May, fresh from already scoring 10 tries for his new side Leicester, then picked up a loose pass before galloping downfield. Stopped just short, he returned the favour to Care to make the final score 30-6. The English were tested, but excellent game management and resources from the bench provided Jones’ 5th straight win over Cheika’s side. A sweet start to potential English dominance over the Aussies in sport this winter.

England and Australia both finish their Autumn campaigns next weekend, at home to Samoa and away to Scotland respectively.

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Are English players still proud of playing for their country?


Question marks over England’s manager, Gareth Southgate, have been present ever since he took charge of the side. The majority of them were fair – his lack of experience and his reserved and cautious personality are usually enough to discard candidates CV’s. While he has not answered any of the questions that were asked when he took over he deserves some credit. He took over in the strangest of circumstances and lead England to a World Cup. It could have been a disaster and while it was not pretty at least it was successful. The issues with the English national team runs deeper than the manager.

The biggest factor Southgate had in his favour during the search for a new manager was his experience with the younger players. He had coached the under 21 side for 3 years before being promoted to the senior role. As the squad was put together this time there was joy as some players who have never been involved in the senior squad were included. Success at youth level on the national circuit meant that this was somewhat exciting.


Unfortunately it has not been of Southgate’s choosing to throw in the younger and less experienced players. From his original squad choice for these games 7 players have returned to their clubs due to injuries. This begs the question, do the English players still take pride in wearing the famous three lions?

The major loss to the England squad is Tottenham’s Harry Kane. The man who captained England in their last fixtures picked up a knock against Crystal Palace. Kane is England’s main man and genuinely world class. While these games are only friendlies the standard of opponent means they are good preparation for the World Cup in Russia.

England will be without Kane’s Tottenham team mates Dele Alli and Harry Winks which will hurt England but nowhere near as much as missing their star striker. Oddly enough Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has declared Kane fit for their next fixture. Tottenham take on Arsenal in the North London derby next and it seems funny timing for the Spurs manager to make such a statement.

While Southgate remains adamant that there is not club vs country debate it seems there is. Kane’s absence from England duty is more than likely precautionary a decision has more than likely been made that his club duties are more important than his national ones.

“I am hearing this talk of club v country but it is a nonsense, the players are injured and cannot play.  I knew Harry Kane was in trouble because he stayed down. Harry Kane doesn’t stay down. I knew already we had a potential problem. Both him and Harry Winks were scanned. Both scans our medical department have viewed and no way they are available for our two games.” (Gareth Southgate)

While what Southgate is saying makes sense, it is difficult to believe. If Kane had this injury in the run into a World Cup or competitive game would he be out? Certainly not. What if a player like Tammy Abraham or Jamie Vardy put in 2 world class performances against 2 of the biggest national football powers? Do they go ahead of him in the queue? No they would not. So why would Kane play in this game and risk further injuries? It does not make sense for him. Southgate needs to be strong and make some big decision in the run in to this World Cup and side with players who are willing to give their all.

Other players missing include Raheem Sterling who has had an indifferent time for England. He performed out of his skin against Italy at the 2014 World Cup but has been inconsistent since. Manchester City team mate Fabian Delph also drops out for the second consecutive time. While injuries are part and parcel of football it seems to happen to regularly and conveniently for the City pair.

Jack Butland has suffered an injury that will see him sidelined for some time and Jordan Henderson of Liverpool will also miss out.

The issue here is complex. Genuine injuries happen, it cannot be stopped. But should players be allowed to withdraw due to knocks and save themselves for club duties? Of course they should. But they should face consequences. Players who answer the call and perform to the best of their ability should not lose their places because of somebodies reputation. Southgate needs to be strong and hold pride in representing the country and eagerness to play in high regard.

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Did Southgate make the right ‘brave choices’


England manager Gareth Southgate faces his toughest test in the job ahead of the 2018 World Cup. His side will take on Germany and Brazil at Wembley in their next stretch of fixtures. The manager said that he had made ‘brave choices’ when selecting this squad and to some extent he has. There are uncapped players being brought in to try and ignite something in the England camp. The last few qualifiers for the World Cup were drab affairs that failed to spark the nations interest. Is Southgate looking in the right areas for inspiration?

“If I am asking club managers to be brave and pick young players, then I think I have got to do the same.” (Gareth Southgate, England Manager)

Tammy Abraham, on loan at Swansea from Chelsea, is one of the players called up to the senior squad. The striker is 20 and played 10 times for the Welsh club so far this season – netting 4 goals. He got himself onto the radar last season when he excelled in the championship for Bristol City scoring 23 times on his year loan. Then he went on to play in the under 21 European Championships. He performed well there and clearly caught the eye of the senior manager.

Is there much risk here? The majority of England fans will not be surprised Abraham has been given a shot. With attackers such as – Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford in the squad it is very unlikely he will get a start in these two fixtures. Abraham’s selection is a natural progression. He has been in the England set up since under 18 level.

Joe Gomez is another player who has been heavily influence at youth level for England. He was recently named the captain of the under 21 side. He was also a major factor in England’s success at the under 17 European Championships in 2014 as he played every single minute in the tournament. He was even named in the team of the tournament.

So far this season Gomez has notched up 11 appearances for his club Liverpool and has drew praise from many pundits. His ability to play central and on the right side of the defence is another major plus in selecting the 20 years old. Again not necessarily a ‘brave’ decision to include the defender.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek is the third potential debutant at senior international level that Southgate has opted for. Like Abraham Loftus-Cheek is a Chelsea player out on loan from Chelsea. Playing at Crystal Palace has been tough but he has stood out for the struggling Premier League side. His speed and power when driving forward has been a positive influence in difficult surroundings at Selhurst Park. Playing 7 times for Crystal Palace has meant that he has seen regular first team football this season.

He has been a strong member of the under 21 set up playing 17 times and scoring 7 times for ‘the Young Lions’. His goalscoring efforts see him sitting joint twelfth in the all times goalscorers in under 21 history. Possibly the most left field selection in the squad.

While the description that Southgate offered may not have been accurate the fact he has put these players into the squad is good news. It should not be considered ‘brave’ calling up the best of the countries younger players, it should be common practice. England have struggled in recent outings and a fresh crop of quality young players can change that.

Now Southgate has to live up to his claims and be ‘brave. Play these players against the two international elite teams England are facing. If they are going to be part of the squad in the future the players need the experience in these big games.

A real risk for Southgate would have been recalling injury prone Jack Wilshere. The Arsenal midfielder has returned recently for ‘the Gunners’ and if fully fit in the 2018 summer he will be on the list to travel to Russia. Wilshere is a player who brings real quality to the middle of the park and if he can put a run together for Arsenal and keep fit he would be one of the first names on the team sheet. When it comes round to World Cup selection if Southgate includes Wilshere leaving him out of this squad will be a missed chance to help squad chemistry.

Southgate did make one selection which is difficult to understand. With his experience managing the younger players the decisions he made to bring in 3 players from the youth ranks at least makes sense. But in selecting Manchester United’s Ashely Young is a curve ball. He has played well for Jose Mourinho’s team but long term he has no future in the national squad. Playing on either side of the defence players such as – Ben Chilwell and Mason Holgate miss out.

Another issue that could be resolved in this duo of friendlies is the number 1 spot. Will Joe Hart keep the goalkeepers position? Or will Jack Butland or Jordan Pickford be able to force him out? Looking to the World Cup it would seem that one of the two younger keepers would force themselves ahead of the long term England shot stopper. Who Southgate gives the chance to on this occassion could be the man in between the sticks for ‘the Three Lions’ in Russia.

Looking ahead to the World Cup the signs are positive. First of all Southgate looks adamant on selecting players that are playing consistently for their club sides. Such a pragmatic approach has been lacking in recent years when it comes to England managers. Southgate is at least trying something different and not settling for the normal names. In bringing through younger players he is making the most of his own knowledge from previous work in the England set up and he is also making the most of improvements in English youth development. Recent success at youth level has caught the nations interest. If Southgate can bring some of the successful mentality into the strong base he currently has he could create something extremely special.

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Is it time for hope to turn into glory?

Rugby Lge

On Friday, Rugby League’s signature international tournament reignites, the World Cup. The showpiece event will consist of 28 matches, with 14 sides battling to hoist aloft the Paul Barriere Trophy. Barriere was the President of the French Federation of Rugby League and the driving force of the maiden League World Cup, the first of either code, in 1954. With a trio of host nations – Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea – entwined with the sport, it promises to be a scintillating spectacle. But has the time arrived where England are expected to deliver?

Rugby World Cup 2017


As mentioned the World Cup will consist of 28 matches split between the three hosts. Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium, with a capacity of 52,000 will host the opening fixture of Australia and England as well as the final. Groups A and B possess 4 teams in which 3 can progress; whilst Groups C and D obtain 3 sides, where only the winners qualify for the quarter-finals. The final on December 2nd is followed by the Women’s World Cup final, an admirable motive to promote the women’s game. You’ll have to be an early-bird to catch the action, kick off times range from 4-10am GMT. The 2017 showpiece has a hard act to follow; the 2013 World Cup which took place in England, Wales, Ireland and France attracted the largest audience in the history of the event – 458.483 – compared with the 293,442 which attended the 2008 tournament Down Under. In England and Australia’s Group A, it is advisable that you finish first, as both the semi-final and final take place in Brisbane. The runner up has the possibility of having to battle New Zealand, in their own backyard in the semi’s.

Is this England’s time?

Luke Gale
Super League’s Man of Steel Luke Gale is expected to partner Gareth Widdop for England

England’s captain Sam Burgess seems hysterical about the tournament. “How can you not be excited by this opportunity”, he told The Guardian. Surprising rhetoric, considering Australia have won 10 out of 14 editions of the tournament. However, England’s strength in-depth has provoked coach Wayne Bennett to omit Sam Tomkins from selection. Burgess heads a contingent of English players in Australia’s National Rugby League – where Gareth Widdop was this season’s second highest points scorer. Castleford’s Luke Gale was the top points scorer in Super League and assisted 20 tries, culminating in being named Super League’s Man of Steel for 2017. Considering Wigan and Warrington also triumphed in the 2017 World Club Series, now more than ever it seems possible that England can topple Australian dominance.

England have never been victorious as a sole nation in a World Cup. In fact the last time a side from these Isles won was Great Britain, 45 years ago. England have not beaten Australia since 2006. If England are to become Rugby League’s international pinnacle, they will need to build lessons on the heartbreaking 2013 semi-final last gasp defeat to New Zealand, as well as the embarrassment of not making the final of last year’s Four Nations on home soil.

The Kangaroo King

Australia celebrate a colossal victory in the 2013 World Cup

If you bet with your head over your heart, Australia are the overwhelming favourites for the tournament. Reigning World Champions after annihilating New Zealand 34-2, as well as victory in the 2016 Four Nations against the same opponent puts the Aussies on a gold and green pedestal above all contestants. Swansongs of legends like Billy Slater (winner of the Clive Churchill medal in Melbourne’s 2017 NRL Grand Final victory), coupled with the vigorous Australian talent such as top NRL point scorer Nathan Cleary, promises to omit emotionally-charged performances by the hosts, which could project the Kangaroos to another gear. Frightening.

Australia haven’t always had the World Cup their own way. In 2008, Australia were again the host, but New Zealand turned up, put the Foster’s on hold on took home the trophy. The Kiwis, like England are a dark horse trying to shorten the lengths between themselves and the Australian steed. Half-back Shaun Johnson will be ladened with the dreams of a nation, though being 2014 World Player of the Year, he has the pedigree. Tonga have propelled in an upward trajectory on the international stage due to a change in eligibility rules allowing them to gain another nation’s talent, such as Kiwi Jason Taumalolo. Home Nations Wales and Scotland have also been tipped for improved performances.

After their abhorrent display at last year’s Four Nations, England coach Wayne Bennett laid into his side, stating that there is a lot more to come of his squad. However Bennett, an Australian himself will see difficulty in usurping his homeland to the title. The world is expecting Mal Meninga’s Kangaroos to deliver an early Christmas present. England will do all they can to become this year’s Scrooge.

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Central midfield selection holds key to England success


In years gone by England have been blessed with top quality options in centre midfield. It seems like yesterday when the biggest complaint was that Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard could not play together. Since then England fans have a far greater amount of complaints. Not to mention that they are significantly more justified too. England’s last two qualifiers for the World Cup in Russia next year have highlighted major flaws. The most obvious are the problems in the centre of the park. If Gareth Southgate wants to achieve something in Russia he needs to take some risks and make some big calls in the midfield area.

England started the 1-0 win against Slovenia with Eric Dier and Jordan Henderson at the heart of the team. While both players are decent and represent their clubs consistently there is a lack of creative spark in there. Dier is a utility player. He can play at full back and in central defence as well as in midfield. So as you would expect you get a defensively minded player when you select him in this role. Henderson on the other hand offers great energy. He has a high work rate going both forward and backwards. However, creativity is an area he does not excel in.

The second game against Lithuania saw Henderson keep his place and alongside him was Harry Winks. It was a solid debut in a game that meant little and offered even less in the way of entertainment. Winks completed the most passes (98) of any player on the pitch and it was a good experience for him. Long term he is a good option for both Tottenham and England but his lack of experience could show at a international tournament.

If Southgate wants to get England through the group stages and beyond he will need to seriously consider other options in this area. The pool of players may not be great, when compared to what England once had, but even more worryingly it is rather shallow. Beyond Henderson, Dier and Jake Livermore very few players involved in the England set up get regular game time for their club.

The England manager needs to seriously consider Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse. He has represented England at u21 level even captaining the side. Experience in the Premier League also helps the young ‘Saints’ star who in past season has been vital to their success. His eye for a pass and ability to hold the midfield could prove important to England in Russia. He also has great ability from dead ball situation, so if Southgate is planning on avoiding the embarrassment Roy Hodgson faced when he put Harry Kane on corner duty Ward-Prowse could spare his blushes.

Perhaps the withdrawal of Fabian Delph due to injury hurt Southgate’s plans. Delph had played well for Manchester City when they beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge recently. Although he had operated at left back in that game. He could come in useful for his country at the upcoming World Cup. If he can regain the form he showed at Aston Villa he could be a real asset.

Jack Wilshere seems to have gone off the international scene due to injuries and lack of football. A return to Arsenal first team and fulfilling his potential could see him back in contention for Russia, but it is a long shot.


Danny Drinkwater’s move to Chelsea will stagnate him. Game time will be limited and therefore he cannot be a serious contender for the squad. Jonjo Shelvey has had issues at Newcastle as the season commenced but if he settles down and plays well he has a chance to be in the squad. Another potential candidate is Nathaniel Chalobah who has come on leaps and bounds since his move to Watford.

Southgate has to be brave with his selection. The squad is strong in the majority of areas but the engine room is something that needs work. He has to be ambitious and trust his instinct instead of selecting players who do a job at big clubs. He also needs to focus on selecting out and out central midfield players.

To bring some much needed excitement to the style of football that England are offering he needs to breathe new life into midfield and get the team creating chance from deeper as well as moving the ball quicker. If he can do this the team will be able to unlock the unlimited potential in stars like Marucs Rashford, Kane and Raheem Sterling further up the pitch. Getting this decision right will directly influence the success England have at the World Cup.

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Ben Stokes – The Root problem


Joe Root is assembling his troops for the Ashes series in Australia, due to begin on November 13th.

He now has to formulate a plan should he board the plane without Ben Stokes.

The 26-year-old, lauded for his brilliance with both bat and ball, has seen the ramifications of his fiery temper begin to emerge from his latest outburst. After an altercation outside a nightclub in Bristol, he and Alex Hales have been dropped from the international squad without further selection consideration.

Root might not have cause to panic, certainly not if Stokes is reprieved without police charges.

What did Stokes and Hales do?

The CCTV indicates both Stokes and Hales in confrontation with another man outside the nightclub in. The footage suggests that Stokes lands several blows to this man before being restrained by his team-mate.

What if Stokes is charged?

If Stokes is charged by police, the England selection committee is unlikely to allow him onto the plane to Australia.

Replacing him with a like minded player will prove enormously difficult, such is Stokes potence at both ends of the crease. It may even increase England’s reliance on Moeen Ali, given his performances this summer.

Bearing in mind Stokes’ versatility, a like minded replacement would be appropriate. Mark Wood and Toby Roland-Jones would be popular candidates, having made excellent contributions of late, but look set ruled out through injury.

Dawid Malan has drawn some applause as a batsman at number 5, though his bowling remains raw – he has bowled just one over in the entirety of his Test cricket career.

Haseeb Hameed is another who could be considered – but his stats again do not live up to Stokes. He faced intense scrutiny when stepping in as an opening batsman earlier this year. The scrutiny led to his dropping, and injuries have curtailed any form of comeback.

The dominant issue is that there are a distinct lack of all rounders at the disposal of Root, which is where Moeen Ali’s talents may be relied upon further for England to offset the loss of Stokes.

Can England Still Win The Ashes?

Of course. The loss of Stokes is a hit, but they are still armed with talent in the batting order and the bowling order.

James Anderson and Stuart Broad are both raring to go, while Alistair Cook is in solid form, alongside Root and even Jonny Bairstow at the batting end.

England will need a sharper edge to their batting and bowling without Stokes, but as much as Australia pose a threat, England are not written off yet.

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Why England should look forward to the 2018 Russia World Cup


(Image credit – Instagram: @em_o4)

There is still a long way to go and a lot can change in a season but in terms of potential  this could be a good World Cup for England. They are in poll position to qualify for the World Cup in Russia next summer. With upcoming qualifiers against Malta and Slovakia a further chance to move toward securing their place the squad Gareth Southgate has selected should fill English fans with hope. Obviously long term superstar Wayne Rooney retiring from international duty is a blow but the positives certainly seem to outweigh the negatives.

We take a look at the squad selection and discuss why Southgate has done a great job with this one!


  • Joe Hart (West Ham – on loan from Manchester City)
  • Jack Butland (Stoke City)
  • Tom Heaton (Burnley)
  • Jordan Pickford (Everton) – pulled out due to injury

England have a wealth of top quality keepers at their disposal. Each of these four Premier League goalkeepers would fill a fan with confidence being named on the team sheet.

Joe Hart has been struggling since Pep Guardiola shipped him out on loan. His commanding aura that was present at his peek has diminished and now he seems to be full of mistakes and his recent performances at West Ham have not changed this view. When England faced Scotland at Hampden Park he was at fault for the two goals England conceded.

Jack Butland was on the cusp of claiming the England number one shirt before he was unfortunately injured against Germany. A long road to recovery has only delayed his move for the position but it seems inevitable he will claim it soon enough. Tom Heaton had a great season last year with Burnley. He may not have the most clean sheets but in terms of saves he is amongst the front runnersJordan Pickford has withdrawn from the squad due to a muscle injury. He has recently moved to Everton and in the future him and Butland will battle for the spot in between the sticks.


  • Ryan Bertrand (Southampton)
  • Aaron Cresswell (West Ham)
  • Gary Cahill (Chelsea)
  • Phil Jones (Manchester United)
  • Harry Maguire (Leicester City)
  • John Stones (Manchester City)
  • Michael Keane (Everton)
  • Chris Smalling Manchester United)
  • Kyle Walker (Manchester City)
  • Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur)

The defensive selection sees fresh players mixed with senior members of the England set up. Gary Cahill, Chirs Smalling and Phil Jones have good experience at this level. Jones has recently seen an upturn in form since being played consistently for Manchester United at the start of the season.

At left back Ryan Bertrand has a real claim to the position. He has played well for long periods at Southampton and deserves a sustained run in the national team. Aaron Cresswell will deputise for Bertrand and it is good to see him get experience around the England set up. On the opposite side of defence new Manchester City signing Kyle Walker will keep his place and ex Tottenham team mate Kieran Trippier will be second choice.

New Everton defender Michael Keane earns his place in the squad. It is well deserved as his performances for Burnley last season secured his move to Everton and interest from Liverpool and Chelsea. Harry Maguire has forced his way into this squad due to brilliant performances for Leicester after his summer move.


  • Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur)
  • Nathaniel Chalobah (Watford)
  • Jake Livermore (West Brom)
  • Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)

Unfortunately this area is one in which England are struggling at the moment. Since the days of Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes and Steven Gerrard they have struggled to develop a real talent.

Eric Dier is a steady performer. He does his job and when he is in form he can break up play and distribute the ball adequately. It is a great move to bring in Nathaniel Chalobah after impressing on his return to Watford. He has been shipped around to different clubs on loan. He will give the middle of the park a fresh feel and inject some energy into the position. After the draw in Scotland we were critical of Jake Livermore. While he is a good player at a mid table team he is not good enough to play at international level. Jordan Henderson is a leader. He performs well for Liverpool but for his club and country he has big shoes to fill.

It would have been good to see James Ward-Prowse or Lewis Baker in the squad to get some experience. These two played in thhe U21 European Championships and are the future of England’s midfield. With the squad being well balanced it would have been exciting to see these two given a chance.


  • Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
  • Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool)
  • Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)
  • Jesse Lingard (Manchester United)
  • Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur)

England more often than not play with one striker, two wingers and one midfielder behind the striker. However, it is likely Southgate will go with the in fashion formation of three at the back given the amount of defenders in the squad.

Raheem Sterling  has been tipped to be an England star for some time. His performances since moving to Manchester City have been inconsistent. He is an exciting player and given more work on his final product he could be key to any success the national side have. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, now of Liverpool, is another player that has the potential to really nail down a place in the England team before the World Cup in Russia. If he can shine in these games he will give Southgate a headache in the wide positions.

If England are to be successful in Russia they will need Marcus Rashford to be in form. His form with Manchester United at the start of the season has been impressive. His direct running from wide areas and eagerness to get involved have been refreshing to see from a player so young. Contrasting fortunes for Jesse Lingard at Manchester United have seen him used as a squad rotation player. He gives his all every game but lacks the natural talent of many in the squad. It is obvious that Dele Ali will have to be selected in the team. He brings something to the squad that nobody else can. If they play somebody behind the striker he will have little competition. Alli is one of the only true footballing stars in the current England squad.


  • Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
  • Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)
  • Jermain Defoe (Bournemouth)
  • Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool)
  • Danny Welbeck (Arsenal)

Competition for places up front are sparse. If England select to play one striker, quality goalscorers are going to have to settle for a place on the bench. Harry Kane will be the front runner for a place in the starting line up. After struggling at Euro 2016 he will be looking to prove a point in Russia. Jamie Vardy will push Kane close for the starting position. He has started the season in better form and looks to have rediscovered the form that made him front page news. Jermain Defoe scores goals, that is a fact. While he is advancing in age he still provides a service to the squad.

It has been a tough couple of years for Daniel Sturridge. Injuries as well as falling out of favour under Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp means he has not experienced masses of first team football. His goal against Wales at Euro 2016 was a great moment for him and he does have a knack for scoring goals which helps the team in moments of need. Danny Welbeck is another player who has struggled with injuries. Given the problems his club Arsenal have suffered and tension over his managers future means he has been unsettled. His ability to play through the middle and on the wings is a plus. Welbeck also seems to step up and perform well when he represents England.

Final Word

England have suffered a lot of heartbreak in recent international tournaments. With new faces around the squad and experienced players to help them settle this squad could do better. Winning in Russia may be a step too far, but progress can be made and England could find themselves in the later stages. Midfield is a area for concern and bringing through players from the under 21 set up and giving them experience before the World Cup in Russia could improve their chances. However, the future looks bright for England under Southgate.

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