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

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

James Maddison has earned a dramatic last-minute call-up to England’s 26-man World Cup squad with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Callum Wilson, Ben White and Marcus Rashford also included.

Southgate also sprung a surprise by calling up 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 had not been selected since despite a fine run of form at Leicester City.

– 2022 World Cup: All squad lists for Qatar

However, after a calendar year in which Maddison has amassed 22 Premier League goal involvements — 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 traveling party to Qatar.

There had been a widespread clamour for Maddison’s inclusion with former England striker Gary Lineker claiming it would be an « absolute travesty » had he missed out, especially in light of a string of disappointing England displays in which they have failed to win any of their last six games.

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

White, who has excelled at right-back for Arsenal but can also play as a centre-back, was an unused squad member at last year’s delayed Euro 2020 finals.

Alexander-Arnold missed that tournament through injury and was a doubt for Qatar after a slump in form with Liverpool but Southgate has kept faith.

Elsewhere, Newcastle striker Wilson and Manchester United forward Rashford were given the nod as back-up strikers to Kane at the expense of Roma’s Tammy Abraham and Brentford’s Ivan Toney.

Kyle Walker (groin) and Kalvin Phillips (shoulder) were included as expected despite battling with injuries problems but there was no place for Fikayo Tomori despite playing a key role in AC Milan’s first Serie A title in 11 years and being part of England’s last two squads.

England travel to Qatar on Tuesday and face Iran in the opening Group B match on Nov. 21.

England squad in full:

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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