5 lesser-known England players who deserve a World Cup opportunity

  • Places in England's World Cup squad could be up for grabs.
Scott Newman
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 21 Mar 2018, 00:24 IST

France v England - International Friendly
Is it time for Gareth Southgate to consider some lesser-known players for England?

The international break is once again upon us, with friendly games between various countries taking place later this week and early next week. With the focus on the England national team rather than the Premier League for once, attentions have been turning to the possible squad that manager Gareth Southgate could take to the World Cup.

Southgate has been surprisingly adventurous when it’s come to his squad selection since taking over in October 2016 – he’s given caps and call-ups to both young talent (Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Tammy Abraham, etc) and more experienced players who have been performing in the Premier League (Jake Livermore, Ashley Young, etc) while also leaving out veterans like Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge.

While his starting eleven for the upcoming World Cup might be set in his mind, Southgate’s more adventurous side means that squad places could be up for grabs for anyone who continues to perform for their club – including some lesser-known players.

Here are 5 of those players who deserve a shot on the world’s biggest stage.

#1 Ryan Sessegnon

Fulham v Sheffield United - Sky Bet Championship
Could Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon be an outside bet for Gareth Southgate's World Cup squad?

It’s almost hard to imagine a scenario where the England manager would select a player from the Championship for his World Cup squad, but in the case of Fulham wonderkid Ryan Sessegnon, it might be time to buck that trend. Simply put, Sessegnon is one of the fastest rising stars in English football and one of the most talented youngsters to emerge in years.

A European Championship winner with England’s Under-19’s last summer, Sessegnon performed brilliantly, scoring 3 goals to finish as the joint-top scorer and also being named in the team of the tournament. And despite being just 17 years old, Sessegnon hasn’t faded from view like some of his U-19 teammates – instead, he’s broken into Fulham’s first team and been their best player this season.

Sessegnon tends to play from the left-back position, and yet he’s the Cottagers’ top scorer with 14 goals thus far – an incredible haul considering he isn’t a striker. His finishing instincts are magnificent, though, and he even hit a hat-trick earlier in the season. He’s also managed 5 assists and has shown he’s got the stamina for the long haul – he’s started in all of Fulham’s 38 league games thus far.

A highly skilled dribbler who seems fearless against the far more experienced opposition, Sessegnon has been compared to a young Gareth Bale for his daring raids down the left side. With the likes of Danny Rose and Ryan Bertrand not on the best form this season, surely it makes sense for Southgate to pull a wild card and take Sessegnon to the World Cup. Such gambles have paid off before, after all – remember Michael Owen in 1998? 

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Published 21 Mar 2018, 00:24 IST
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