Paul Merson picks his 23-man England squad for 2018 World Cup

08 October, 2017, 00:39 | Author: Regina Lloyd
  • Joe Hart believes England are beginning to exorcise the demons of their Euro 2016 exit

Joachim Low's side, who continued their staggering record of having never lost an away game in World Cup qualifying, assured themselves of top spot in Group C with a 3-1 win over Northern Ireland, while Harry Kane bagged a dramatic injury-time victor for the Three Lions against Slovenia at Wembley in Group F.

They now turn their attention to an away trip to Lithuania tomorrow, however the pressure is now off having wrapped up qualification.

But which players does Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson believe should be on the plane to Russian Federation?

And Thursday demonstrated that for all the creative potential of certain players, they lack a plan when it comes to possession play. "The most important thing for me is that we have a base which is exclusively ours", he said. Harry Kane netted in the fourth minute of stoppage time to earn England their victory over Slovenia after an uninspiring performance.

England's next fixtures are in November when they play friendlies against Germany and Brazil at Wembley.

The Arsenal midfielder has not played for the national side since November a year ago, but with Gareth Southgate seeking more creativity in midfield, he was considered. Since then they've only reached the semi-finals only once (1990), while they've failed to even progress through to the quarter-finals since 2006, with their last showing a humiliating group stage exit in 2014.




Manager Southgate insisted afterward the only thing that mattered was England had qualified.

However, Kevin Keegan goes against that theory, believing that Southgate's men can follow in the footsteps of the England side of 1966 providing Harry Kane and Dele Alli stay fit. People would say Dier could drop back into that position but, for this formation to work, you need three out-and-out centre-halves. If Dele can recreate his club form on the worldwide stage, he can be the one to lead England out of their creative slump.

Along with Harry Kane and Dele Alli, Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling have the potential to be great on the worldwide stage.

Scoring against Lithuania would provide him with some solace.

Christopher Davies was a longtime Premier League correspondent for the London Daily Telegraph. It should be a frustrating game but England have enough quality to punctuate proceedings with some decent passages of play and a goal or two. Not even one, it's like 'how many am I going to get today?' He must have that kind of mentality.

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