February 5, 2023

GARETH SOUTHGATE is set to name a whole host of World Cup debutants when he confirms his squad for Qatar tomorrow.

The Three Lions side that reached the semi-finals in Russia four years ago featured the likes of Dele Alli, Jamie Vardy and Ashley Young – none of whom are in contention this time around.

In their place will be plenty of young, fresh talent – with expectations high on England despite their awful Nations League campaign.

Jordan Pickford starred between the sticks in 2018, but Arsenal No1 Aaron Ramsdale will get his first taste of World Cup football this time around.

His Gunners team-mate Ben White is likely to be there too, as well as star man Bukayo Saka.

Conor Coady’s excellent Everton form should clinch him a place in his first World Cup squad, while Fikayo Tomori’s AC Milan exploits may be enough to secure a place on the plane.

Neither Declan Rice nor Jude Bellingham were in Russia, with the latter only 14-years-old when the 2018 squad was announced.

James Maddison has only earned one cap for the Three Lions, a substitute appearance against Montenegro three years ago.

But his sensational form for Leicester this season, during which he has scored six goals and assisted a further four in 12 Prem outings, has put him right in the mix.

It’s difficult to remember a Southgate England side without Mason Mount or Phil Foden – such is the senior status that they both appear to hold now

But neither were named in 2018 – the former having just enjoyed a loan spell at Vitesse and the latter still a young fringe player at Manchester City at the time.

Both will get their first tastes of World Cup action in Qatar.

Harry Kane won the Golden Boot in Russia and will look to repeat the feat this time around – but his cast of back-ups is likely to change somewhat.

Vardy and Danny Welbeck deputised for him on that occasion – but now Tammy Abraham is in pole position to be first back-up.

During the last World Cup, Abraham was back at Chelsea after a mixed loan spell at Swansea.

Callum Wilson, Ollie Watkins and Ivan Toney will also be hoping to make the plane for their first World Cup experience.

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