England manager Gareth Southgate will submit a 55-man provisional World Cup squad to FIFA this week, with Liverpool’s Joe Gomez one of many hoping to be included.
There are many fringe and uncapped players vying for a place in Southgate’s squad ahead of this winter’s tournament in Qatar.
Southgate has plenty of headaches to resolve, especially in defence, due to an increasing amount of injuries to key players.
Manchester City and Chelsea right-backs Kyle Walker and Reece James are currently out injured, with the latter expected to miss the tournament, while the former should be included, but may not feature in the group stages.
Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has been heavily relied on by the Three Lions boss, but the former Leicester City centre-half is currently injured and horrifically out of form.
Maguire’s form and lack of playing time did not stop Southgate from calling him up and playing him during last month’s international break.
For the matches against Italy and Germany, the United man was partnered in defence with Tottenham’s Eric Dier, who made his first appearance for his country since 2020.
Fikayo Tomori was included in the squad but did not play, while Gomez is staking a claim after a solid performance and clean sheet against Manchester City on Sunday.
With Walker and James struggling, Southgate could opt for Trent Alexander-Arnold in right-wing-back, with the 24-year-old’s potential key role doing Gomez no harm as Southgate could look to utilise their chemistry at club level.
Crystal Palace defenders Tyrick Mitchell and Marc Guehi are also in with a shout of making it to Qatar, as is Arsenal’s Benjamin White, who has impressed as a right-back this season, despite his natural position being centre-half.
The big story, however, is the potential inclusion of Guehi and Mitchell’s club teammate, Ebere Eze.
According to the Daily Mail, the 24-year-old winger will be named in Southgate’s 55-man provisional squad. I think we’re going to need a bigger ladder.
It is said that Southgate is a ‘big fan’ of Eze and picked him in last year’s 33-man provisional squad ahead of Euro 2020.
The player suffered a serious injury which ruled him out for several months, robbing him of the chance to make his England debut.
He is back in the fray now, though, and has a decision to make on which country he would like to represent.
Eze has represented England at under-20 and under-21 level, but has Nigerian parents so could play for the Super Eagles’ senior team.
Southgate has plenty of options in Eze’s position, so whether or not he can perform well enough to merit a place on the plane to Qatar remains to be seen.
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