Maddison, Rashford and Wilson are in the England squad

Maddison, Rashford and Wilson are in the England squad

England squad announced

Leicester midfielder James Maddison has been included in England’s 26-man squad for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Manager Gareth Southgate has also picked Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford and Newcastle striker Callum Wilson, Manchester City full-back Kyle Walker and Arsenal defender Ben White.

But AC Milan centre-back Fikayo Tomori, Brentford striker Ivan Toney and West Ham striker Jarrod Bowen are absent.

England will face Iran in their World Cup opener on November 21 (13:00 GMT).

They are joined in Group B by Wales and the United States.

Manchester City midfielder Kalvin Phillips, despite only recently returning after two months with a shoulder problem, is featured, as is centre-back Harry Maguire, who has struggled to get a game for Manchester United this season.

However, Maguire’s club mate Jadon Sancho did not make the squad.

England team

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

Defenders: Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Eric Dier (Tottenham), John Stones (Manchester City), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), Conor Coady (Everton), Ben White (Arsenal) ), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

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

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

Award-winning Maddison form

James Madison
Maddison helped Leicester climb from the bottom of the table and out of the relegation zone

Maddison’s inclusion is a reward for his superb form for Leicester this season.

He was instrumental in the Foxes resurgence after their poor start to the season and had six goals and four assists in 12 Premier League games.

His only cap for England came almost three years ago to the day – in a Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro when he played 35 minutes.

“He’s playing really well,” Southgate said.

“He’s a good player. We’ve always said he’s a good player. He’s earned the right. We think he can give something slightly different to the other attacking players we have.

“He plays as well as any of the attacking players in this country and he’s a bit different from the others.”

We think we’ve got it all covered – Southgate

Walker proved his suitability at Southgate after undergoing groin surgery and not playing for over a month.

The England boss has also trusted Phillips, although the midfielder has struggled with injuries this season. Phillips, who had surgery on his shoulder, returned to action as a second-half substitute in Manchester City’s 2-0 Carabao Cup win over Chelsea on Wednesday.

Rashford hasn’t featured for England since the Euro 2020 final loss to Italy, but the Manchester United striker has scored seven goals in all competitions this season.

Newcastle striker Wilson, who has scored six goals in 10 games this season, joins Tottenham England captain Harry Kane as the Three Lions’ main striker for the World Cup.

But, like Brentford’s Toney and West Ham’s Bowen, Roma striker Tammy Abraham has been overlooked.

“We wanted to make sure we had the right balance in the squad,” Southgate said.

“Nowadays the squad is bigger than ever with five substitutes. You also want different options for different times of matches and different stages of the tournament.

“We also had to cover a few players who are not fully fit, so having 26 players means you can take some risks.

“We think the balance is there. We think we’ve got it all covered.”

“A beautiful day but a certain disappointment”

Southgate says he has spoken to all of the players who missed out on the squad to explain the reasons for his decision.

The 52-year-old hasn’t yet managed to chat with everyone who has been included, but he has informed Maddison of his return to the England XI.

“I spoke to James this morning,” he said. “There has been a lot of speculation and we decided a few weeks ago that he would be in the team.

“I haven’t had a chance to speak to Callum. My priority these days is the difficult and sad news.

“The nature of these conversations reminds you how much it means for a player to go to a World Cup. It’s a great day but we had some disappointments.”

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