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England announce 23-man World Cup squad

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The English national team have announced their squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Unlike plenty of teams who have released preliminary rosters for the tournament, Gareth Southgate has gone straight for his final 23-man squad.

There is a place for Liverpool youngster Trent Alexander-Arnold, while the likes of Adam Lallana, Joe Hart, Jack Wilshere and Ryan Bertrand have been out.

With Joe Gomez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain out through injury, Southgate has had to get a little creative with his selections but, for the most part, he’s chosen to go with youth as he’d previously discussed.

“I believe this is a squad which we can be excited about. It is a young group, but with some really important senior players so I feel the balance of the squad is good, both in terms of its experience, its character and also the positional balance,” Southgate said. “We have a lot of energy and athleticism in the team, but players that are equally comfortable in possession of the ball and I think people can see the style of play we’ve been looking to develop. The selection process has been over months really, it’s not just been the last few weeks. We feel the team are improving and we want to continue that momentum.”

Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Raheem Sterling will likely be the stars for the Three Lions this summer, while the likes of Loftus-Cheek and TAA being included show a clear pathway to the senior team for youngsters.

Below is a look at the squad in full, plus a pretty cool video to announce the squad from England’s media team as they traveled around the country.


England’s 23-man World Cup squad

Goalkeepers: Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope
Defenders: Kyle Walker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kieran Trippier, Gary Cahill, Harry Maguire, Phil Jones, John Stones, Danny Rose, Ashley Young, Fabian Delph
Midfielders: Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Raheem Sterling
Strikers: Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Jamie Vardy, Danny Welbeck

Reserves: Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski, Lewis Cook, Jake Livermore, Adam Lallana


Bruce after Villa qualifies for promotion playoff final: “We just shaded it”

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Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce is your guy if you want to get out of the Championship, and is one win away from bringing a fifth side into the Premier League.

[ RECAP: Villa 0-0 (1-0 agg.) Boro ]

Villa advanced to the playoff final with a 1-0 aggregate win over Middlesbrough, the second leg a 0-0 at Villa Park on Tuesday.

And if Villa knocks off Fulham on May 26, Bruce will have led two Hull City, Birmingham City, and Aston Villa into the top flight via the playoff, once more each with Hull and Birmingham via the league route.

“We just shaded it over the two games, with a goal from a set-piece,” Bruce said. “But in the second half tonight there was only one team that was going to win it.

“It was agony towards the end, if I’m being honest. It means so much. Thankfully it looks as if we’ve got the club turned around a little bit. We’ve given ourselves a good chance. We’re up against an outstanding team in Fulham.”

Bruce has endured a harrowing few months off the pitch, losing his father and mother in an 88-day span. With respect to Fulham (and Birmingham) fans, it’s easy to make Villa the emotional favorite of the playoff final.

Aston Villa holds off Boro, moves onto playoff final

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Playoff finals are old hat for Steve Bruce, but a new event for Aston Villa.

The Birmingham club beat Middlesbrough 1-0 over two legs, the second a 0-0 draw at Villa Park on Tuesday, to advance to meet Fulham in the Championship Playoff final at Wembley Stadium on May 26.

Stewart Downing‘s 89th minute free kick off the cross bar was Boro’s only sniff of the goal.

[ MORE: The season of Salah ]

Villa is in just its third season outside of the English top flight since 1975, though Bruce managed Hull City and Birmingham City to the Premier League through the playoffs.

Boro scored plenty under Tony Pulis in the season, but it was a case of traditional Pulis stats in the playoffs. The notoriously stingy manager saw his side manage just two shots on target over two legs, with both coming in the home leg.

Lewis Grabban of Villa had the two best scoring chances of the match, but Darren Randolph made a pair of saves.

Villa won the first leg on a Jack Grealish to Mile Jedinak goal.

On Monday, Fulham flipped a first leg deficit to Derby County on its ear to clinch its space at Wembley.

Joe Hart left out of England squad

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Numerous reports in the UK claim that Joe Hart has been left out of England’s 23-man squad for the 2018 World Cup this summer.

With Gareth Southgate expected to name his squad on Wednesday, news has arrived that Hart, 31, will not be going to his third-straight World Cup with the Three Lions.

Hart, who has 75 caps for England, has been their first-choice goalkeeper at each of the last three major tournaments but reports claim he has been told he won’t be going to Russia this summer.

The Manchester City goalkeeper has struggled out on loan at Torino and West Ham over the past two seasons after being ousted as soon as Pep Guardiola arrived to take charge of City.

Hart still has another 12 months to run on his current deal at the Etihad Stadium but he is not expected to return to City given the sensational form of Ederson in goal (who just signed a new seven-year contract), plus Claudio Bravo happy to be Ederson’s back-up.

Who will start in goal for England in Hart’s place?

Jack Butland and Jordan Pickford are the frontrunners, with perhaps Pickford edging ahead of Butland in recent months with his strong displays for Everton in the Premier League and his ability on the ball to start attacks in England’s fairly new 3-4-3 formation.

Butland has endured a season of struggle as he was relegated with Stoke but that’s not to say it will impact him if he starts for England this summer. Burnley’s Nick Pope is expected to be the third and final goalkeeper named in Southgate’s squad, with Southampton’s Alex McCarthy just missing out after a fine end to the season with Saints.

Back to Hart, this is another crushing blow for a goalkeeper who seemed assured of his England spot just 12 months ago. Yet the way in which his form has dipped since being told he was surplus to requirements at City is astonishing.

Several errors during his loan spell at West Ham this season saw him dropped for Adrian and it appears that unless Southgate leaves after this summer or there’s a dramatic upturn in Hart’s displays, his international career could well be over.

For a player who has won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, two League Cups and four Golden Gloves for the most clean sheets in the PL, as well as having vast international experience, Hart is struggling to keep his career intact.

Sterling to sign new contract, but not until after World Cup

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For all the money that Manchester City have spent to assemble this season’s Premier League champions — the records for points won and goals scored — Pep Guardiola and Co. are prepared to spend tens of millions more to keep the current squad together.

[ MORE: Neymar told PSG teammates he won’t be back next season ]

Given the relative youthfulness of the current Man City squad (average age of players who made more than 15 PL appearances this season: 26.6 years old), many of the club’s standout stars will sign two or three — maybe even four, in a few special cases — new contracts should they spend the rest of their respective careers at the Etihad Stadium.

Kevin De Bruyne was first to sign a six-year deal back in January, leaving the likes of Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane the most likely to be similarly handsomely rewarded between now and the start of the 2018-19 season in August. Ilkay Gundogan, Ederson and Bernardo Silva are pretty safe bets to sign improved contracts next summer.

[ MORE: Conte says Chelsea better off now than when he arrived ]

According to Guardiola, while Sterling, who has amassed 18 goals and 11 assists in 32 PL appearances this season, is next on the list to be rewarded for his spectacular contributions, negotiations are likely to be put on hold until after next month’s World Cup — quotes from the Guardian:

“The club, the chairman [Khaldoon al-Mubarak] and myself want him to stay a long time, renew his contract but we are going on holiday in a few days.”

Sterling’s current contract, which has just two years remaining after this season, is believed to pay the 23-year-old somewhere in the neighborhood of $230,000 per week. Don’t be surprised when his next deal crosses the $300,000 threshold.