With the season coming into its final stretch, attention turns to this summers World Cup where England will be hoping they can perform better than their last major tournament appearance two years ago. Gareth Southgate will be scouting up and down the country for players who will make up his final 23 man squad, but which wildcard choices deserve to be considered?
Jonjo Shelvey- The central midfielder has undoubted ability on the ball, and a great passing range, but his temperament has often been questioned. Two red cards this season highlight his readiness to get involved in silly challenges and situations, and can he be relied upon when the pressure is on in huge national team clashes? However, England lack quality in the centre of the park, and few English players can play the types of passes Shelvey can, as a back up option he should surely be in consideration.
Nick Pope- The Burnley keeper has had an astonishing rise to the top, and has well and truly took his chance since Tom Heaton’s injury. Pope was brought in as backup to Heaton and has kept his place in the first team since making his Premier League debut in September. An assured and confident goalkeeper, there is no surprise Pope is part of one of the best defences in the League, and has conceded less goals than all of his rivals for the England number one jersey. The question should not be whether he’s on the plane, but whether he’s first choice.
Ryan Sessegnon- A controversial debate has been raging recently whether a player outside the top flight should be taken to the World Cup. Sessegnon is one of the best teenagers on the planet, and despite not playing in the Premier League and facing top quality defenders week in week out, Sessegnon is in the form of his life and offers an unknown quality that opponents may not be expecting. It is unlikely he’ll make the final squad, but the fact there is even a debate about a 17 year old Championship player going to a World Cup shows just how talented he is.