England announce 23-man squad for World Cup 2018

England announce 23-man squad for World Cup 2018

England manager Gareth Southgate has announced his 23-man team for the June 2018 World Cup.

Describing the team that he will be taking to Russia as "a squad with lots of energy", he said: “I believe this is a squad which we can be excited about".

He added: “It is a young group, but with some really important senior players so I feel the balance of the squad is good, both in terms of its experience, its character and also the positional balance."

The team members are as follows:

Goalkeepers: Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope.

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Cahill, Fabian Delph, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young.

Midfielders: Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Forwards: Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Jamie Vardy, Danny Welbeck.

Stand-by: Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski, Lewis Cook, Jake Livermore and Adam Lallana.

After the announcement, Southgate said that the selection process had taken place over a matter of months, rather than weeks, and praised the strength of the players selected to play at international level, saying: "We have a lot of energy and athleticism in the team, but players that are equally comfortable in possession of the ball and I think people can see the style of play we’ve been looking to develop."

Notable absentees from the side include England's go-to goalkeeper, Joe Hart - who has previously played in Euro 2012, the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 - and midfielder Jack Wilshere, whose career has been plagued by injury despite him being just 26-years-old.

However, it will be an exciting time for Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, who at 19-years-0ld is yet to earn his first cap on the England senior team. Manchester United player Ashley Young described the call-up as a "dream come true".

Fans reacted to the announcement on social media with mixed opinions, some choosing to remain optimistic and others slating Southgate's decisions.

Former England international player Gary Lineker also weighed in on the debate, reminding fans that if anyone knows best, it's the manager.

England will play their first match of the World Cup against Tunisia on June 18th. This is to be followed by matches against Panama and Belgium on June 24th and 28th respectively. After the much-anticipated announcement of the team, fans are striking a cautiously cheerful tone for England's chances of progressing to the knockout stages.