Two months out from the World Cup, national team coaches announced their final pre-tournament squads this week. The players they choose for the upcoming match will also include a ticket to Qatar.
There is no doubt that injuries will be a factor, but there is also the issue of form, and any errors or subpar performances during the upcoming international window are sure to stick in managers’ minds.
The England team appears to be set up for a back five
Along with Conor Coady, Eric Dier, Marc Guehi, John Stones, and Fikayo Tomori, Harry Maguire is still in the lineup. Although Kyle Walker is technically a fullback, he frequently plays right center back in a back five.
Gareth Southgate, the manager of England, frequently switches to a back five in crucial games like the European Championship final from last summer. This appears unlikely to alter.
Maguire has performed at his best while playing for England in important competitions as a member of a back five, despite his current lack of confidence. Stones’ tale is comparable to this one.
At the club level, this is how Dier, Coady, and Tomori generally play, and Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira has experimented with playing Guehi in a back five on many occasions this season.
It is noteworthy that Wolves’ Maximilian Kilman and Arsenal’s Ben White, who were not chosen, have frequently played in a back four this season. Draw a rough outline of England’s back five formation for the November 25 match against the United States.
Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson (Nottingham Forest), Nick Pope (Newcastle), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Everton), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Fikayo Tomori (Milan), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), Kyle Walker (Manchester City)
Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City), Declan Rice (West Ham), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)
Forwards: Tammy Abraham (Roma), Jarrod Bowen (West Ham), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Chelsea), Ivan Toney (Brentford)
Notable omissions: Jordan Pickford (injury), Marcus Rashford (injury), Jadon Sancho, Conor Gallagher
The midfield revolution in France is almost complete
Only Nigeria had a younger average age when they won the previous World Cup, but France did it with the second-youngest squad, along with England. The Didier Deschamps team appeared to be ready for 2022, and other teams were left with the terrifying thought that the winners had not reached their prime.
Paul Pogba, Corentin Tolisso, N’Golo Kante, Blaise Matuidi, and Steven Nzonzi are all absent for one reason or another, along with the other midfielders who were a part of France’s previous World Cup team. Just the heavily criticized Adrien Rabiot was selected this time out of the team for Euro 2020, which was only 14 months ago, but he had to withdraw due to injury.
While there are valid reasons for some absences—injury in Pogba and Kante cases—an exceptional young cohort has replaced them and can be trusted on talent alone.
The average age of France’s midfield is now 21.8 thanks to the inclusion of Eduardo Camavinga (19), Youssouf Fofana (23), Matteo Guendouzi (23), and Aurelien Tchouameni (22). Boubacar Kamara, 22, was also called up to replace Adrien Rabiot, though the Aston Villa midfielder may need to be replaced himself after an injury on Friday night left manager Steven Gerrard “worried.”
Deschamps did not rage against the waning of the light.
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Mike Maignan (Milan), Alphonse Areola (West Ham)
Defenders: Benoit Badiashile (Monaco), Jonathan Clauss (Marseille), Theo Hernandez (Milan), Jules Kounde (Barcelona), Ferland Mendy (Real Madrid), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich), William Saliba (Arsenal), Dayot Upamecano (Bayern Munich), Raphael Varane (Manchester United)
Midfielders: Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid), Youssouf Fofana (Monaco), Matteo Guendouzi (Marseille), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus)*, Aurelien Tchouameni (Real Madrid)
Attackers: Olivier Giroud (Milan), Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona), Kylian Mbappe (PSG), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Randal Kolo Muani (Eintracht Frankfurt), Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig)
Notable omissions: Paul Pogba (injury), N’Golo Kante (injury), Karim Benzema (injury), Kingsley Coman, Moussa Diaby, Lucas Digne