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World Cup: James Maddison and Kyle Walker named in England squad

Gareth Southgate has named Leicester City midfielder James Maddison in his 26-man World Cup squad following a sparkling run of form.

The Leicester man has been one of the most consistent performers in the Premier League this season and he will have the chance to earn his second cap when the tournament gets underway in a couple of weeks.

Manchester City pair Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips have overcome injury issues and are included while there are recalls for forward pair Marcus Rashford and Callum Wilson.

Harry Kane will skipper the side with Wilson serving as backup - there are no places for Tammy Abraham, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Jarrod Bowen, or Ivan Toney.

England are priced at 8/1 to win the World Cup, ending 56-year hoodoo and they kick their campaign off on Monday 21st November against Iran.

Maddison finally gets Three Lions reward

There is always one player who grabs the attention prior to a tournament squad selection and this time around it has been Leicester playmaker Maddison.

He has been in superb form this season for a struggling Foxes side, scoring six times and assisting four in the Premier League.

The 25-year-old has been consistently overlooked by Southgate after earning his one and only England cap in 2019, much to the bemusement of some England fans due to his ability to create chances from nothing.

However, he now has the opportunity to make a name for himself at international level, with Southgate deciding he needs more creativity in the ranks.

As it stands, he appears unlikely to be in the starting XI but as a wildcard option off the bench, he could be a big figure.

Injured City pair make timely comeback

Another player who has been a key cog for England in recent years is Kyle Walker, with the Manchester City right-back's versatility and pace proving important.

He is as comfortable playing in a back four as he is a back three and his recovery pace offers something different in defence to England's other options.

He hasn't played for City since being withdrawn from the Manchester derby in early October but has been striving to make a comeback ever since in time for Qatar.

He looks set to be a big player for Qatar while City team mate Kalvin Phillips also returns after an injury-ravaged debut campaign at Eastlands.

The former Leeds man, who was named England's Player of the Year for 2021, has only made four substitute appearances since his summer move but returned to action in City's Carabao Cup win over Chelsea on Wednesday and will plug a gap where England are light.

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Southgate keeps faith in Maguire

Harry Maguire's lack of form and game time for Manchester United has been a huge concern, as the 29-year-old has been a reliable presence in the England defence since the last World Cup in Russia.

However, his early season form was littered with mistakes and he has barely figured under Erik ten Hag, with Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez being the favoured duo in defence.

In the Nations League last month, two of Germany's goals at Wembley were down to Maguire's errors and Southgate has a decision to make on whether he starts.

Beyond that though, he has very rarely let England down and Southgate's implicit trust in him will be undoubtedly a confidence boost.

No room for Serie A duo

In terms of those missing from the squad, perhaps the most surprising news is that both Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomorri have not done enough to warrant a call from Southgate.

Tomori has won three caps for England since making his debut in 2019 and became the latest young English player to try his luck abroad when AC Milan came calling in January 2021 and just over a year later, he was celebrating a Serie A title win as well as a place in the Serie A team of the year.

However, he has not been utilised often by Southgate and his struggles against old club Chelsea in the Champions League - where he was sent off for a pull on Mason Mount in the group stage - may have contributed to Southgate's decision.

Roma forward Abraham will have to watch on the sidelines too after being snubbed by Southgate in favour of other options.

The 25-year-old scored 17 Serie A goals for Jose Mourinho's men last season, but this year has been less fruitful with just three in 14 games.

Others not included are Manchester United's Jadon Sancho, West Ham's Jarrod Bowen, Brentford's Ivan Toney, and Southampton's James Ward-Prowse, all of whom have been on the fringes of the squad in recent times.

England Squad

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Newcastle), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)

Defenders: Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Eric Dier (Tottenham), John Stones (Manchester City), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), Conor Coady (Everton), Ben White (Arsenal), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Declan Rice (West Ham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City)

Forwards: James Maddison (Leicester), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Chelsea), Callum Wilson (Newcastle), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)

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