talkSPORT predicted England XI for 2022 World Cup five years ago – here’s what we got right… and horribly wrong

    The World Cup is just days away and has been a long-time coming.

    Qatar were awarded the tournament back in 2010 and it is the first to be held in the Middle East, and during the winter rather than summer.


    Southgate will lead his country to Qatar, his third major tournament

    Gareth Southgate has picked his 26-man England squad and will hope to build on the 2018 semi-final run, which was followed by a final defeat in Euro 2020.

    Fans will be poring over the list trying to work out just how Southgate will line-up. Will he play five at the back? Who will be alongside Harry Kane up front? Will James Maddison start?

    Nobody will know until shortly before kick-off against Iran on Monday, November 21 – with commentary of the match live on talkSPORT.

    Well here at talkSPORT Towers we thought this was as good a time as any to look back on our predicted England team from FIVE years ago.

    We put our necks on the line and risked ridicule by picking our XI for the Qatar World Cup by in 2017, shortly after the Under-20 squad won the World Cup.

    We got a few things absolutely spot on. But we’ll hold our hands up and admit we got some picks horribly wrong.


    Kane is England captain and has 51 goals

    Five of our picks were named in the squad and another, Ben Chilwell, would likely have made it if it were not for a hamstring injury just days before the squad was announced.

    Kane was already a regular England starter in 2017, reaching 12 goals for his country by the end of the year, and it was a no brainer to put him in. He could, and should, break Wayne Rooney’s all-time record in Qatar.

    Alongside him is Marcus Rashford who has only recently played his way back into Southgate’s squad after a dip in form. A timely return for Rashford, Manchester United, England and talkSPORT’s own credibility.


    Rashford has been a different player this season and earned his recall to the national side

    Eric Dier is another who has returned from the wilderness to book his place in the Three Lions squad, although we had him playing in midfield. A position he often played earlier in his career before being moved to centre-back more regularly.

    John Stones had moved to Man City in 2016 for £47.5million and has gone on to be a four-time Premier League winner. He has been in and out of Pep Guardiola’s side, due to both form and injury, but has underlined his importance in recent seasons.

    Kyle Walker would have been a shoe-in starter at Qatar before his injury and heads into the tournament lacking fitness and game time. We had him starting at right-back, while Southgate has often deployed him on the right side of a back three.

    Now for those not in the England squad…


    Alli has played 37 times for England, but the last of those appearances came in 2019

    The first is Dele Alli. Back in 2017 he had the world at his feet and was genuinely one of the best players in Europe, in the 2016/17 Premier League season he hit 18 top flight goals.

    No one quite foresaw his dramatic decline in the way it has, and he now finds himself on loan at Besiktas and very far down the pecking order.

    Next are two midfielders, Lewis Cook and Nathaniel Chalobah, who have not quite kicked on in the way most of us thought.

    Lewis Cook captained England to the Under-20 World Cup

    Both played in England age group sides and even made a single cap for the senior team but have also suffered with injury issues.

    Chalobah began his career at Chelsea and had an extensive loan history at six different clubs before joining Watford and is now at Fulham.

    Cook has been a solid Premier League player with Bournemouth, but has never really been in consideration for recent England squads.

    We thought that Michael Keane would be in the heart of England’s defence alongside Stones, but has been out of the squad for the last two years.


    Butland has played nine times for England, with the last of those coming in 2018

    Back in 2017, he was starring at Burnley and had shortlisted for PFA Young Player of the Year before joining Everton for £25m.

    Lastly, we had Jack Butland in the England goal but currently he is nowhere near the squad. Jordan Pickford holds the No.1 jersey with Aaron Ramsdale and Nick Pope his deputies, plus you have Dean Henderson also in contention for future squads.

    Back in 2017, Butland was a Premier League regular with Stoke and it was predicted he would have a bright future.

    However, his career has stagnated and he is currently at Crystal Palace, but is yet to feature this season.

    How talkSPORT predicted England would line-up in Qatar back in 2017


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