Predicting England's World Cup Squad

Who will make the cut?

Mike Egerton/PA Wire

English football fans have very few happy memories when it comes to major tournaments. Other than the 1996 World Cup and Euro 96, the Three Lions have failed to live up to any kind of expectations. From being dumped out of the Euros by Iceland, to failing to even qualify for Euro 2008, every other summer is marred by the eventual disappointment of another tournament exit.

Yet, no matter how many times the England team falters, there is no avoiding the inevitable excitement surrounding the tournament build up, starting with the squad selection. Gareth Southgate's job is to select the 23 players that will give England the best chance of progressing through the tournament.

This will require perfectly balancing attackers and defenders, and experience and youth, and with a few exciting new prospects to choose from, and some players no longer available for selection, this year's squad announcement should be one of the most interesting yet.

23. Jack Butland

Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Over the last two years, alongside the almost constant criticism of Joe Hart (who now looks set to miss out on the tournament in Russia), came the overwhelming popularity of Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland, who has been considered the natural successor to Hart for several years now. The youngster was a hot favourite to make Roy Hodgson's final 23 man squad for Euro 2016, but an unfortunate ankle injury during England's famous 3-2 win over Germany stopped him from making the final cut.

This injury limited the Stoke goalkeeper to just five appearances in the 2016/17 season, but Butland came back strong for the 17/18 season, shining as a rare highlight in an otherwise awful season for The Potters that saw them relegated to the Championship for the first time in 10 years.

There is no denying Butland's talent, and a solid performance in Russia, potentially as England's No. 1, is sure to solidify a big money move from Stoke to a team like Liverpool or Arsenal, which is an incentive unlike any other.

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Scott Banner has contributed 58 posts since joining in September 2017.

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