James Maddison, Conor Gallagher in dramatic England World Cup squad calls

James Maddison has been called up to England’s 26-man World Cup squad at the last minute with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Callum Wilson, Ben White and Marcus Rashford also included.

Southgate also created a surprise by calling Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher ahead of Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse.

Maddison’s only previous England appearance came as a substitute against Montenegro in November 2019 and he hasn’t been capped since despite enjoying fine form at Leicester City.

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However, after a calendar year in which Maddison has amassed 22 Premier League goals – only Harry Kane, Kevin De Bruyne and Son Heung-Min have more – England boss Gareth Southgate has opted to include the attacking midfielder in his tour group for Qatar.

There had been widespread clamor for Maddison’s inclusion, with former England striker Gary Lineker saying it would be an ‘absolute travesty’ if he missed out, particularly in light of a string of disappointing displays in England in which they have not won any of their last six matches.

“He’s playing really well,” Southgate told a press conference when the team was announced. “Listen, he’s a good player, we’ve always said he’s a good player. He’s earned the right. We think he can give us something a little bit different from the other attacking players we have. I think at different stages there were there were conversations, debates about James there were times when before the Euros I don’t think he was in contention he had a little problem with his hip. September was probably a fair debate but I think he’s playing like any of the attacking players in this country. He’s a little different from the rest. We have different types of threats and we could need.

“I spoke to James because I think this morning there was a lot of speculation that James wouldn’t be with us. We had decided a few weeks ago that we would, but we weren’t going to obviously not tell him He was thrilled I’ve had some really tough calls that were emotionally on the other end of the spectrum so it was nice to give me a kinda nice ending to that I’m excited to go to a World Cup, it’s my fourth and it’s a privilege and an honour. All these calls, the most difficult and the most pleasant, reminded us of what it means for the players.”

After Chelsea defender Reece James missed the game due to concerns over his recovery from a knee injury, both Alexander-Arnold and White were chosen, with the latter’s last selection coming in March .

White, who excelled as a right-back for Arsenal but can also play as a centre-back, was an unused member of the squad in the delayed Euro 2020 final last year.

Alexander-Arnold missed this tournament through injury and was doubtful for Qatar after a dip in form with Liverpool, but Southgate kept faith.

Elsewhere, Newcastle United striker Wilson and Manchester United striker Rashford have been named as Kane’s replacement strikers at the expense of Roma’s Tammy Abraham and Brentford’s Ivan Toney.

“We wanted to make sure we had the right balance in the squad,” Southgate added. “Nowadays the squad is more important than ever. With five substitutes you can change almost half of the squad during the game. You want different options for different times of matches and for different stages of the tournament as well .

“We’ve had to cover a few players who aren’t fully fit yet, so having 26 available means we’ve probably been able to take a few risks that we couldn’t have taken with 23. But we think the balance is there. We’re lighter in depth at some positions than others in our country, but we think we’ve got it all covered.

Kyle Walker (groin) and Kalvin Phillips (shoulder) were included as planned despite injury concerns, but there was no room for Fikayo Tomori despite playing a key role in the title debut of Serie A of AC Milan in 11 years and that he is part of the bottom two for England. Teams.

Southgate have also confirmed that there is an informal list of pending players ahead of this weekend’s final round of domestic matches before the start of the World Cup.

“We had to name every available England player on a long list,” Southgate said. “There are conversations I’ve had with players over the past few days where it’s clear they’ll be next in line. But we just don’t know what might happen in the next few days. I think that there are two left-backs who were injured last night.

“We have to be fluid, adaptable and ready for anything. There’s nothing I can do about that. Watching the games unfold, you’re always intrigued to see how the tactical plays are going, the results, the form of the players of course, “but we can’t do anything about the injuries. It’s not up to us. We’ve been hit before and it could happen again, but we have to adapt and we have good players to come if we have lost people.”

England travel to Qatar on Tuesday and face Iran in the Group B opener on November 21.

The full England squad:

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

Defenders: Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Kyle Walker (Man City), Benjamin White (Arsenal), Harry Maguire (Man Utd), John Stones (Man City), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Conor Coady (Everton, on loan from Wolves), Luke Shaw (Man Utd).

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

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

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