Troy Deeney: England have World Cup 2022 squad capable of going all the way… but Southgate’s lack of Plan B a concern

    GARETH SOUTHGATE has picked a squad capable of going all the way at the World Cup this winter.

    But my main concern is what to do if Plan A isn’t working?

    Southgate's squad is capable of winning the tournament

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    Southgate’s squad is capable of winning the tournamentCredit: EPA
    All but James (standing far left) will be going to Qatar to play for England

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    All but James (standing far left) will be going to Qatar to play for EnglandCredit: Reuters
    SunSport's Deeney has picked the team he thinks Southgate will select to face Iran
    SunSport’s Deeney has picked the team he thinks Southgate will select to face Iran

    Southgate’s system has taken England to a level we’ve not seen for a long time at the last two tournaments.

    But what if that comes unstuck late on in a game?

    In England squads of old there would always be a Peter Crouch figure — or even Rickie Lambert —  who could come on and be the focal point for a late bombardment.

    We’ve got some incredible crossers of the ball in Kieran Trippier and Trent Alexander-Arnold, but there isn’t really anyone for them to hit when England need to mix things up.

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    I for one certainly don’t want to see Harry Kane battling for headers, he needs to be the one having the ball knocked down to him so he can finish.

    I fear they’ll just keep playing passes slowly forward and get the midfielders and wing-backs into attacking positions, even if it’s not quite working.

    James Maddison

    There was always going to be a lot of noise around James, whether he was in Southgate’s squad or not.

    It might have been three years since his one and only cap for England, but he HAD to be part of this group.

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    England's 26-man squad for the World Cup
    England’s 26-man squad for the World Cup

    I can’t see him starting many games, if any, but he could be the maverick that England need when things get tough.

    He’s got bags of self-belief — and he and Jack Grealish are two players who you just need to give the ball to and let them do what they do.

    Some teams will back off and ask England to try and break them down.

    That is where he will make a difference and get into those little pockets of space as he does for Leicester.

    He is the sort to try a difficult pass or a 30-yard shot, he might even bend a crucial free-kick into a top corner.

    He’s a wonderful option to have off the bench, a great asset if we’re chasing the game or struggling to break through.

    Maddison has been drafted in for the World Cup after his unstoppable form

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    Maddison has been drafted in for the World Cup after his unstoppable formCredit: PA

    Ivan Toney

    I thought Southgate would only take two out-and-out strikers.

    If things go to plan then only one of them, Kane, is really going to be playing, but I would still have liked to see Toney get in there.

    He offers some thing different, he could have been that physical presence needed for a different approach.

    Ivan isn’t a physical presence in the old sense — he’s not a big lump like me — he can still run, still play and do all required from a modern-day No 9.

    But he’s also got the know-how from playing in the lower leagues and could rough people up a bit.

    He’s also arguably the best penalty taker in the Prem. I thought we may have learned our lesson a bit from the Euros last year.

    If we’re going to end up with penalties, instead of throwing Marcus Rashford on at right-back late on, why not Ivan?

    He is used to taking high-pressure penalties. I wanted him there for a shootout.

    Toney has missed out with Kane being the only out-and-out striker in the squad

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    Toney has missed out with Kane being the only out-and-out striker in the squadCredit: Getty

    Conor Coady

    One person I am pleased to see going to Qatar is Coady.

    Just like at the last Euros, he might not even get on the pitch at all in the Middle East, but he is such a good character to have around the squad.

    Similar to Jordan Henderson, he is a fantastic leader.

    I dealt with both of them a lot during the captains’ meetings during the pandemic. Whenever you’re around Conor he is a calming influence.

    Everton loan defender Conor and Jordan know what is required of the fringe players.

    There’s the first 11 and ultimately you need 10 or 11 cheerleaders, to push them daily and make sure they’re at the peak of their powers.

    On-loan Everton ace Coady is on the plane, being picked over Fikayo Tomori and Marc Guehi

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    On-loan Everton ace Coady is on the plane, being picked over Fikayo Tomori and Marc GuehiCredit: Getty

    Midfield is key

    Most of the starting XI is decided. I would say eight or nine starters, barring injury, are nailed on.

    I’d build my team around Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham. Those two could be the midfield pairing for ten years.

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    The back five is straightforward, Trippier and Luke Shaw are my wing-backs  with Kyle Walker (who was England’s best player at Euro 2020 last summer), John Stones and Harry Maguire making the three.

    Either side of Kane is where you can move things around, with great options in Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling or Mason Mount.

    Rice and Bellingham could be England's midfield for the next decade

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    Rice and Bellingham could be England’s midfield for the next decadeCredit: Kevin Quigley-The Daily Mail

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