2018 FIFA World Cup: 5 England players who should not be selected
With friendly matches against Holland and Italy coming up, England manager Gareth Southgate yesterday unveiled his latest Three Lions squad. There were a handful of new faces – Burnley duo James Tarkowski and Nick Pope, Bournemouth’s Lewis Cook and Swansea’s Alfie Mawson – but one big name was finally left out.
After losing form for Chelsea and no longer finding himself one of the first names on Antonio Conte’s teamsheet, former England captain Gary Cahill has been dropped from the squad. The England fanbase seems split on this – one half feeling his experience is needed, with the other half seeing him as a liability that’s finally been cut loose.
But Cahill isn’t the only experienced England player who, on recent form at least, probably shouldn’t be heading to Russia come the summer. Here are 5 other players that Gareth Southgate should probably consider leaving at home if he wants the Three Lions to succeed at this year's FIFA World Cup:
#5 Joe Hart
One of the oddest things about the current England squad is that Southgate has selected four goalkeepers – Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland, Nick Pope and Joe Hart. Perhaps the most curious thing about it is that Hart has been selected at all.
Hart has been England’s #1 since Euro 2012, but after a disastrous campaign at Euro 2016, it seemed like his time was finally up.
Forced out of Manchester City by Pep Guardiola, Hart spent last season on loan at Torino before moving to West Ham in another loan this season. And it’s not gone well for him. He’s made just 15 Premier League appearances all season and made numerous errors before being dropped in favour of Adrian in late November.
Hart made a return to league action last weekend, but subsequently had a stinker – conceding 3 goals against Burnley including one that was clearly his fault as he spilt a shot into the path of Chris Wood. So why is he in the England squad?
The argument would be for his experience, but Southgate simply can’t justify taking him to the tournament – not when he’s been in such poor form.
Nick Pope, in comparison, blows him away when it comes to stats – he’s kept 9 clean sheets in 26 Premier League appearances and has conceded more than one goal in a single match against only the league’s top four sides.
Butland and Pickford’s stats might not be quite as impressive but they’ve shown plenty of reasons why they belong between England’s sticks during the season. The World Cup squad is likely to include just three goalkeepers, and based on what we’ve seen this season, Hart shouldn’t be one of them.