England World Cup Starting XI: Can Jarrod Bowen Claim Attacking Role In Qatar?
The latest 27-man England squad has just been announced by Gareth Southgate ahead of the upcoming Nations League clashes against Germany, Hungary and Italy.
As betting sites predicted, there weren’t too many surprises, with Jarrod Bowen and James Justin being the two uncapped players on the list.
To say that Bowen has enjoyed a breakthrough season for West Ham is an understatement. It’s questionable as to whether he was in David Moyes’ starting XI at the beginning of the 2021-22 campaign, although the 25-year-old has shone brightly on both the domestic and European front which means he deservedly gets a Three Lions call-up.
A brace against champions Manchester City in a May clash at the London Stadium served to reinforce the danger he poses to opposition defences, with Bowen now odds-on to be part of the 23-man England World Cup squad and the big question is whether he can force his way into the first team.
Should Southgate persist with a 4-2-3-1 formation in Qatar, it would mean that Bowen could potentially occupy one of the wider attacking roles, with Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling, Jack Grealish and Bukayo Saka all hoping to do the same. However, there’s a fighting chance that Bowen can get the nod if he continues his upward trajectory.
According to the latest odds on football betting sites, Bowen is something of an outsider to be selected for the opening World Cup clash against Iran, but he has plenty of time to convince Southgate that he can make a difference.
Will Harry Maguire Start England’s First 2022 World Cup Match?
Barring injury, Harry Maguire is certain to be on the plane to Qatar at the end of November to represent England. Not only has he represented his country over 40 times, he has also been a constant menace from set pieces and has seven goals to his name.
Paddy Power go 4/9 that the Manchester United player lines up for the Three Lions for their group opener in the World Cup.
While Maguire’s form for the Red Devils last season was been decidedly patchy, it’s partly down to the instability within the dressing room at Old Trafford.
There is a lack of defined playing style and it has often left the back four exposed. But, John Stones is the only defender who is trading at a shorter price to be on the pitch in England’s opener.
Stones hasn’t always been in favour at Manchester City, but the 27-year-old has always been a consistent performer for England and now has over 50 caps to his name.
In previous international tournaments, he’s developed a strong partnership with Maguire and it appears that Gareth Southgate is likely to put his trust in this duo again.
Will Aaron Ramsdale Replace Jordan Pickford In Goal?
Jordan Pickford has been England’s number one for several years and the Everton goalkeeper continues to hold down this berth, although perhaps the 2022 World Cup is where we see a changing of the guard.
Pickford has never been completely convincing between the sticks and many supporters are now eager to see Aaron Ramsdale given a chance for his country.
Ramsdale has enjoyed a meteoric rise considering that he has ousted Bernd Leno as first-choice goalkeeper at Arsenal, with his performances being largely outstanding during the 2021/22 season.
The 23-year-old has helped the Gunners get within touching distance of a top four spot in the Premier League this season, but they ultimately slumped to fifth, and injury denied him the opportunity to play in the recent friendlies against Switzerland and Ivory Coast.
There is even talk of Ramsdale becoming the next captain of Arsenal and UK bookmakers certainly believe he has a chance of snatching the gloves off Pickford when it comes to this winter’s extravaganza, placing him at odds of 15/8 to begin the tournament in goals.
However, the Toffees stopper is currently trading at odds-on (4/7) and it could be a close tussle between the pair as the World Cup gets closer.
Mount, Bellingham And Phillips Could Be Battling For One Spot
It was Kalvin Phillips who managed to lock down a starting berth for England at Euro 2020 and the Leeds midfielder has recently returned from a long-term injury to help his club to Premier League safety, giving him plenty of time to stake a claim for the England line-up that starts the first match of the 2022 World Cup in late November.
Phillips’ performances in the European Championship were outstanding, although Mason Mount is currently trading at a shorter price (4/7 on Betfair) and the Chelsea midfielder will want to pair up with good friend Declan Rice in front of the back four.
Working on the basis that England will operate with a 4-2-3-1 formation, it only means that two midfield spots are really available.
Mount is operating in the Premier League and Champions League for Chelsea (and will be again next season), so that could give him an advantage when it comes to selection. However, Jude Bellingham (11/10) is another serious contender for a starting role.
The Borussia Dortmund youngster won’t be at Qatar to make up the numbers and he’s regarded as marginally more likely than Phillips to line up alongside the undroppable Rice right now.
Raheem Sterling Looks Value To Start With Kane
There aren’t many players who are nailed to start for England at the 2022 World Cup, but Harry Kane is one of them.
Barring injury, the Three Lions skipper will lead out his team in Qatar, with the Tottenham Hotspur forward currently on a mission to become the all-time leading scorer for his country and it’s likely that he’ll achieve this.
However, the best bookmakers believe it certainly gets interesting after that. Raheem Sterling is currently trading at odds-on (4/5) and the Manchester City forward often seems to reserve his best performances for England.
The friendly against Ivory Coast recently was a classic example of this, with the former Liverpool man tormenting the opposition throughout the encounter.
Sterling shone very brightly at Euro 2020, while club team-mates Phil Foden and Jack Grealish will hope to make it a Manchester City title-winning triumvirate behind Kane, but Southgate has a lot of options when it comes to attacking midfield.
Bukayo Saka, who can be found at odds of 9/4 to start, will be on the plane and his excellent season for Arsenal can’t be ignored, while Jadon Sancho has time to stake his claim.
A Harry Kane Injury Could See Rashford, Watkins Or Abraham Start
Injuries are part and parcel of football. While the England World Cup hopefuls might be shirking the odd challenge in the lead up to the big tournament, the fact that it takes place midway through the 2022/23 season means that some of Southgate’s squad could miss out if they unfortunately get a knock at the wrong time.
This includes the somewhat injury-prone Kane, and his absence could present an opportunity to 12/1 shot Ollie Watkins - who was able to score his second England goal against Ivory Coast and might just be next in line to the attacking throne.
The Aston Villa forward now has seven caps and is benefitting greatly from working with Steven Gerrard.
Meanwhile, Marcus Rashford (9/1) will be determined not to become the forgotten man at international level and the Manchester United forward has currently scored 12 goals in 46 appearances for England.
Tammy Abraham at 20/1 is another name to throw into the mix, with the Roma forward having a brilliant time in Serie A and he’s got ten caps to his name already.
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Will Southgate Finally Trust Trent Alexander-Arnold in Right-Back Position?
It’s hard to ignore arguably the best right-back in world football, especially from an attacking point-of-view and perhaps the 2022 World Cup is where Trent Alexander-Arnold produces the sort of excellence that Liverpool supporters have grown accustomed to seeing on a regular basis.
Alexander-Arnold has only earned 16 England caps and had to withdraw from the squad ahead of Euro 2020 due to a thigh injury, although the 23-year-old wasn’t guaranteed to be included last summer and it seems as though Southgate has doubts over the player’s ability to fit into his tactical system.
On the flip side, TAA being in the team offers a huge amount of attacking thrust from the right-back position and we believe that Evens about the Liverpool man lining up against Iran on 21 November 2022 looks a decent shout considering that he has more in his locker than the likes of Reece James and Kieran Trippier.
The World Cup 2022 betting makes Trent marginally more likely to get the nod over the impressive Reece James (5/4).
The Chelsea full-back had been overlooked at Euro 2020 when Southgate preferred to operate with either Kyle Walker or Kieran Trippier in the wing-back position - although the latter pair look unlikely to feature this time around.
Alexander-Arnold is a phenomenon from an attacking point-of-view, with the Liverpool defender having amazing prowess from free-kicks.
It could just be that he gets his moment to shine in Qatar - especially if England have two holding midfielders who are able to cover when he romps forward.
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