Can England make changes to their World Cup squad if players get injured before first game?


    England manager Gareth Southgate on the touchline at Wembley
    Gareth Southgate has named his final squad for Qatar (Picture: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

    Gareth Southgate has named his final England squad which will take part in the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

    The Three Lions manager has made a number of surprise inclusions including Leicester midfielder James Maddison, Newcastle forward Callum Wilson and Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher.

    Southgate has also opted to include Manchester City duo Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips, who have spent much of this season injured.

    Walker underwent groin surgery after the Manchester derby in October and Phillips has only played 40 minutes of football all season after dislocating his shoulder.

    Given the inclusion of Walker and Phillips represents somewhat of a risk for Southgate, will England be able to change their squad before their first World Cup game? Here are all the details.

    Can England make changes to the squad before the first game?

    England and Southgate will be able to make changes to the World Cup squad up until 24 hours before the team’s first game if a player is injured and cannot play in Qatar.

    Players who test positive for Covid-19 will also be able to be replaced up until a day before the opening match.

    Kyle Walker receives treatment in the match against Manchester United
    Walker went down injured in the Manchester derby (Picture: Michael Regan/Getty Images)

    With England first playing against Iran on Monday, November 21, this means that the Three Lions effectively have a hard deadline of Sunday, November 20 to finalise the final squad.

    It will be up to the FIFA General Medical Officer to determine if the injury or illness is serious enough to prevent the player from taking part in the World Cup.

    Southgate will be able to draft any player named on the 55-man provisional into the final group if any member of the 26-man squad is ruled out ahead of the tournament.

    What happens if a player gets injured after the first match?

    If an outfield player gets injured after their team’s first World Cup game, then managers will not be able to replace them in the squad with a new player.

    However, if a goalkeeper is injured during the tournament, then they will be able to replaced as FIFA rules state that three keepers must be named in every matchday squad.

    Kalvin Phillips in training for Manchester City
    Phillips is back in training ahead of the squad announcement (Picture: Matt McNulty – Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

    In Euro 2020, Aaron Ramsdale replaced Dean Henderson in the squad two days after England’s first game with Croatia after the Manchester United player picked up a hip problem.

    World Cup squads have been increased from the traditional 23-man cap to 26 for the first time in the history of the tournament to cope with the physical demands placed on players.

    What are England’s group stage fixtures?

    England have been drawn in Group B alongside Iran, USA and Wales.

    After their opening match against Iran, England will face the USA on Friday, November 25.

    The Three Lions will conclude their group stage schedule with a match against Wales on Tuesday, November 29.

    England World Cup group stage fixtures

    • England vs Iran: Monday, November 21 at 1pm
    • England vs USA: Friday, November 25 at 7pm
    • Wales vs England: Tuesday, November 29 at 7pm

    MORE : England 1966 World Cup team: Who are they and where are they now?

    MORE : Every World Cup 2022 home and away kit released so far

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