Six surprise packages who could make late bid for England’s World Cup squad

Some players might have already booked their flights to Qatar this winter when the World Cup gets underway – the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Declan Rice can feel assured of a spot in the England team.

However, not everyone is so lucky and there might be a few that are either playing themselves out of a spot or simply not getting enough game-time to warrant Gareth Southgate's attention. The England boss is under pressure to deliver this winter with some dissenting voices growing across the fanbase.

It means that he cannot afford passengers while he might just think about taking a gamble and trying some surprise package players who could bring about some new blood to blow away the cobwebs. But who could be receiving a shock phone call ahead of the World Cup?

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Marcus Edwards

Anyone watching Tottenham's match against Sporting on Tuesday night will understand that the Portuguese side did not land their 2-0 victory by luck. They were superb.

And in the midst of it all was a brilliant young English talent by the name of Edwards, who was actually on Tottenham's books before they let him leave for Portugal in 2019. He moved to Sporting from Vitoria in January and has looked an absolute talent.

His mesmeric dribble went viral on social media, which would have made Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona scratching their heads, leaving Eric Dier on the floor twice before nearly scoring – it would have been a goal for the ages and one that Southgate could not ignore.

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Eberechi Eze

Another player with bundles of dribbling talent, Eze has taken to the Premier League with ease after moving to Crystal Palace in 2020 from QPR. A long-term injury hampered his progress but the 24-year-old is back looking fighting fit just in time for the World Cup.

Eze has yet to receive an international call-up and it would be a shock for sure but there is no doubting that the winger could be a huge player for a big team – if he stays fit.

However, Patrick Vieira is building a young and fresh attacking team at Selhurst Park and there are not many teams in the Premier League that can offer prodigal talents the right blend of first-team football and development right now.

Harvey Elliott

Liverpool's midfield problems might have caused Jurgen Klopp some headaches but it has given Elliott the chance to step up – and he has done with ease.

Perhaps the best compliment to be paid to the 19-year-old is the fact that the Reds have actually looked more dynamic in the middle of the pitch than usual. It might be a worry for Jordan Henderson – both at club and international level.

If there is something that is missing from the current England squad, it is creativity from midfield. Whether Southgate would take such a gamble and put Elliott in his midfield is slim, yet the option is there and every game he plays with Liverpool prepares him more and more for that inevitable England call-up.

Marc Guehi

Speaking about Crystal Palace, Guehi is another that Vieira has moulded from a raw talent into a top Premier League defender and it was no surprise to see the 22-year-old in the England squad earlier this year.

Due to the woes of other English defenders, it might not be a surprise at all to see Guehi in the squad when the Three Lions kick off their World Cup campaign against Iran in November.

Chelsea might be rueing letting the centre-back after spending over £100million on defenders this summer whereas Guehi could have slotted straight in. But their loss has been Palace's gain and maybe even Southgate's.

Ryan Sessegnon

It was not so long ago when Sessegnon was completely forgotten about, criticised by Jose Mourinho and ready to join the heap of top talents who never quite made it. But that has all changed since Antonio Conte arrived at Tottenham.

Despite the signing of Ivan Perisic in the summer, Sessegnon has largely kept his spot in the squad and has warranted it as well with his performances at wing-back. Such a position is pivotal in Conte's system and just shows the level of trust he has in a player that could have been leaving if not for his coaching.

And if he is good enough for such a prestigious coach, then he is more than able to warrant a spot in this England team – that is crying out for a left wing-back. It was not so long ago when Sessegnon was talked up as a new Gareth Bale at Fulham, where he scored 15 league goals at the age of 17.

Chris Smalling

While the rest of these players can be described as young talents ready to take the step up, there is always room for experience and Smalling deserves to be spoken of after his impact in Serie A.

There is a reason why AS Roma fans call the former Manchester United star 'Smaldini' and while he had his woes at Old Trafford, the 32-year-old has banished those times with some real consistency in Italy.

It would be some shock to see Smalling back in the England camp – potentially adding to his 31 caps – but the Three Lions have a lack of top centre-back options currently and he could be an ideal choice for Southgate looking to plug gaps at the back.


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