With the 2018 World Cup happening in the summer, people are starting to guess at who is going to be on the plane, making the trip with the England squad. The bookmakers have made one Premier League player odds-on to be part of the squad and it’s raising a lot of eyebrows.
There are some absolute certainties when it comes to the best English players to make the 2018 World Cup squad, with the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Raheem Sterling guaranteed a place if they don’t get injured before the tournament.
A lot of players are trying to make a case for themselves to be part of the 23-man squad and a lot of them are stepping up at the right time, trying to book their place in Gareth Southgate’s team.
England are no strangers to international tournaments, but in recent events, we haven’t performed anywhere near our best and failed to progress against teams that we should definitely be beating. The main one coming to mind is Iceland in the 2016 Euros.
It happens at every major tournament, the English media builds our chances up until it becomes a disappointment if we don’t go on to win the thing. It’s a recurring curse that the media put on the team as they pile on the pressure on our star players.
This time around we have a lot of good talent expected to be in Russia, but I don’t think we should get our hopes up like we always do. For this tournament, you could argue England have the deadliest striker on the planet – Harry Kane. Kane has proved any doubters wrong season after season, outscoring his competition in the Premier League for the last 3 seasons and only being beaten four years ago by a lethal Sergio Agüero.
This season he has broken records, not only has he got the most hat-tricks in the last calendar year in the Premier League with six, but he has also beaten Alan Shearer’s record for goals in the Premier League for a calendar year, surpassing the record of 36 Alan set, ending on 39.
Harry is expected to be England’s top scorer at the tournament and if he finds some form then you have to fancy England’s chances. Though no doubt he’ll be a no-show like in France. For England, with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Rashford and Vardy backing up Kane you would expect our attack to be one of the most dangerous in the tournament.
In terms of the odds, England are expected to be taking 4 out and out forwards in the squad. Harry Kane (1/33) is expected to be part of the squad and looking at the odds he is the first name on Gareth’s list. The other attackers are Raheem Sterling (1/20), Marcus Rashford (1/10) and Jamie Vardy (1/6).
Sterling and Rashford are having very good seasons at their Manchester based clubs and Vardy is still considered England’s best back-up to Kane. With Vardy obviously a decent striker, he doesn’t offer the overall game that Kane does and it looks like we will all be pinning our hopes on the Tottenham striker.
Outsiders in the betting for a place as one of England’s forwards in the squad are Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge and my tip for the article Jay Rodriguez. Welbeck (11/10) is having a torrid time at Arsenal since his move from Arsenal and looks only to be used in cup competitions, however, according to the betting he has about a 50/50 chance to be on the plane.
Daniel Sturridge has moved to West Brom on loan in a bid to revive his career and book himself a spot on the plane. Sturridge (5/1) is a big outsider to make the plane, but if he can put in some performances like those in the Liverpool Suarez and Sturridge days, then he could find himself in Russia in the summer.
My tip for making the plane has some serious value. Jay Rodriguez was set to make the last world cup in 2014 after some impressive performances for Southampton. A horrific injury ruined his chances and put his career on hold. Rodriguez (12/1) is now finding a bit of form at West Brom and if he can replicate his Southampton days and find some goals he could be a great option for England in Russia.
At the back.
At the back, the defence is difficult to call and the goalkeeper even harder. You could argue that after a serious dip in form Joe Hart is out of contention and Jack Butland and Jordan Pickford have equal chances of starting for England in the Summer, and no one can call it at the minute.
In defence, aside from the Manchester City influence, you could argue England look average. Stones (1/16) and Walker (1/16) are both certainties for being in the World Cup Squad. Looking at the other half of the defence there is a lot of room for change leading up to the tournament.
Most of the betting companies believe Eric Dier (1/25) is a certainty because of his ability to play in midfield or defence, while others think Gary Cahill (1/5) will make up the other half of the centre-back pairing. Phil Jones (2/5), Ryan Bertrand (1/5) and Phil Jones (2/5) are all expected to be on the plane too.
Danny Rose, once deemed to be the best left-back in the Premier League, is actually not a certainty to be in the squad. This is probably due to his injury issues, but Rose (4/9) could represent some value if his performances in the second half of this season are anything like his form the bast few years.
Moving into the engine room is where we see a surprise inclusion for the England Squad. With only 23 players allowed in the squad, the midfield is expected to make up the bulk of the squad with some wide midfielders being used more forward too and the likes of Dier being able to play in defence too.
The betting suggests that Dele Alli (1/20), Eric Dier (1/25) Adam Lallana (1/3) and Jesse Lingard (1/3) are all going to be on the plane, but after that, it looks like a lot of the places are up for grabs. There are some players who are likely to go but haven’t guaranteed themselves a place yet.
Jack Wilshere (4/9) is having a mini-revival of his career and is cementing himself as one of the first names on Wenger’s teamsheet. Jordan Henderson (1/2), once tipped for being a future captain of the squad has fallen out of favour with Southgate.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (8/11) looks like he’ll be on the plane and is looking like a good player at Liverpool, blossoming under Klopp’s management. After a tough time at Arsenal with Wenger not knowing where to put him on the pitch, he is looking like a first choice for Klopp’s midfield and is odds on to be in Russia in the summer.
The biggest surprise in the betting is Harry Winks. The young Tottenham midfielder is set to be part of the 23 man squad that Southgate takes to Russia and it’s raising a lot of eyebrows. Winks (5/6) is odds-on to be part of the England squad and after a pretty quick rise in the Tottenham squad, the betting companies expect him to be on the plane.
According to the betting, the squad is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford (1/10), Jack Butland (1/10) and Joe Hart (4/7)
Defence: Kyle Walker (1/16), John Stones (1/16), Gary Cahill (1/5) Ryan Bertrand (1/5), Harry Maguire (2/5), Phil Jones (2/5), Kieran Trippier (2/5) and Danny Rose (4/9)
Midfield: Eric Dier (1/25), Dele Alli (1/20), Adam Lallana (1/3), Jesse Lingard (1/3), Jack Wilshere (4/9), Jordan Henderson (1/2), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (8/11) and Harry Winks (5/6)
Forwards: Harry Kane (1/33), Raheem Sterling (1/20), Marcus Rashford (1/10) and Jamie Vardy (5/6)
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