It is May 29th 2018. I’ve had a cracking Bank Holiday weekend. We had a BBQ on Saturday whilst watching the Champions League final (City were unlucky). On Monday, The Northumberland County show was packed, We queued for ages to get in to see sheep being sheared, horses being driven by madmen, enormous tractors and to be fleeced due to the cost of pizza and ice cream. (A ’99 should be 99p in my book not £2.99! but that’s another topic!).
Back to football (manager) the domestic season has drawn a close. Manchester United won the domestic double of winning the Premiership and FA Cup (beating Chelsea on penalties in a tight final) , Watford won the Carabao Cup (beating Newcastle United), And Bayern won the Champions League by beating Man City 1-0 in Kiev.
Myself, Steve Holland and Lee Carsley have had to make a big decision by cutting a squad of 30 down to 23.
Who is In?
We have selected three Goalkeepers. Jordan Pickford, who has held the number one jersey pretty much since we took over from Southgate. Tom Heaton of Burnley has been selected after a great season helping Burnley to a 6th finish to the EPL standings. Surprise call up Angus Gunn has been drafted up as the 3rd choice keeper, his season on loan at Norwich was one that allowed the boy to grow and mature, he has also been the main guy between the sticks for the Under 21’s. He “tipped” Jack Butland who had a disappointing season with relegated Stoke City. Jack only had 4 clean sheets all season. I’m sure he couldn’t be blamed for conceding them all but with such an awful record I thought it would be wise for Jack to find a new club this summer.
The Defenders, comprise of Harry Maguire, Gary Cahill, Eric Dier, Jamaal Lascelles, and John Stones. These guys have been in and around the main squad throughout the qualifying campaign. The like of Chris Smalling, Phil Jones etc were overlooked due to their lack of game time for their respective clubs.
The Wingbacks are Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Lee Shaw and Terrance Trent Darby (I mean Trent Alexander Arnold). The guys with right feet have been awesome at club level, especially Terrance who played 31 games for Liverpool scoring one in the Champions League. The guys with left feet have battled with injuries from the end of last season. Both have fought hard to get into their club sides. Luke Shaw has somehow managed to play 23 games all season without breaking into pieces. My fingers are crossed he can last another month before he passes his best before date.
The Midfielders, comprise of Dele Alli, Jordan Henderson, Jack Wilshire, Harry Winks, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Raheem Sterling, Jesse Lingard, Leon Bailey. The assist king of the season Jesse Lingard with 14 assists in the Premier League has seen this lad’s stock rise. I am keen to use the boy’s pace and providing prowess for the good of the team. We are also hopeful that Dele Alli is fully fit as soon as possible the lad took a knock two games before the end of the season, he has assured all of us that he will make it to Russia.
The Forwards, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and Jamie “Reg” Vardy curtail the list. Harry has scored 25 goals in all comps this season, Reg has bagged 17 in the Premier League and Rash has also found the back of the net on 17 occasions in all comps.
On reflection I am very happy with the squad we have picked. Ross Barkley and Callum Wilson can both count themselves unlucky as both had ended the season in fine form for Watford and Bournemouth respectively.
Let see how we get on with the boys in the upcoming friendlies before we jet off to Russia.
On to a Press conference with Henry Winter – This is England – Pre World Cup Press Conference