In Focus: Five England hopefuls fighting for World Cup call-up

Mitchell Fretton
LiveScore
Jadon Sancho will be hoping to shine for Manchester United this season and impress Gareth Southgate
Jadon Sancho will be hoping to shine for Manchester United this season and impress Gareth Southgate

The World Cup is just around the corner and players from across Europe will be hoping to use the start of the 2022-23 season to claim a spot in their nation's squad come November.

Gareth Southgate has an ocean of talent to choose from to represent England in Qatar with stars from the Premier League and beyond keen to make their mark in the coming months.

We take a look at five hopefuls who will be attempting to force their way into the Three Lions chief's plans. 

Jadon Sancho 

Since returning to Manchester last summer, Jadon Sancho has found life in the Premier League a tough test.

Both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick tried to utilise the dynamic England international but his return of three goals and three assists in 29 league appearances left much to be desired.

However, under the tutelage of Erik ten Hag, Sancho could fire himself back into contention for a spot on the plane to Qatar.

The former Borussia Dortmund man has impressed during pre-season, scoring three times under the new Dutch regime.

His early upturn in form will have caught the eye of Three Lions boss Southgate but Sancho will have to carry this momentum into the first three months of the Premier League campaign. 

He stands in good stead having made 23 senior caps for his county at just 22 years of age, and if he can dazzle in the opening weeks, Sancho may earn himself selection.

Jadon Sancho had a mediocre start to life in the red half of Manchester
Jadon Sancho had a mediocre start to life in the red half of Manchester

James Maddison

James Maddison has been an integral part of the Leicester set-up under Brendan Rodgers, taking on the role as set-piece specialist and progressive passer during his time in the Midlands. 

However, the 25-year-old has fallen out of favour with Southgate due to the manager's reluctance to line up with an out-and-out attacking midfielder. 

During the last campaign, Maddison scored 12 league goals, something only Kevin De Bruyne could better from midfield. 

Combine this with his eight assists and there lies a convincing argument that suggests he deserves to be at the World Cup.

Nonetheless, it is essential for Maddison to carry over his superb form into the 2022-23 campaign if he is going to force his way into the England squad.

His value as a creative outlet puts him high on the list of potential players to make the cut but he will have to compete with the likes of Mason Mount and Emile Smith Rowe for his place on the plane.

Fikayo Tomori

Fikayo Tomori was a colossus for AC Milan as they won the Scudetto last season
Fikayo Tomori was a colossus for AC Milan as they won the Scudetto last season

Incredibly, Fikayo Tomori has only entered Southgate's plans recently and has never played a full 90 minutes for the Three Lions.

Since making his debut against Kosovo in 2019, Tomori has left boyhood club Chelsea and developed into a top talent in Serie A.

The centre-back has thrived in a new environment since joining AC Milan in June 2021, helping them to their first Scudetto in a decade and catching the eye of Southgate in the process.

Many fans were left furious after Tomori was snubbed during the March internationals but his form in the latter stages of the season left the Three Lions boss with no choice but to eventually hand the defender an opportunity.

The Cobham graduate has an excellent chance of becoming a regular starter for his country but he will have to replicate his form from last season which saw Milan concede only 31 goals in Serie A.

If he can do that, then there is no reason why Tomori should not find himself among the England elite come winter. 

Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford has proven that he has the ability to be one of England's top talents
Marcus Rashford has proven that he has the ability to be one of England's top talents

Marcus Rashford once appeared ready to conquer the world of football but his downward spiral over the last 12 months has been marked.

His missed penalty in the Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy seems to have knocked the 24-year-old's confidence, resulting in a measly five-goal return for Manchester United last season.

However, Rashford has been another player who looks rejuvenated under a new manager, scoring twice during pre-season.

Often operating on the left of a front three, Rashford has to compete with the likes of Jack Grealish, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling for a place in the England XI.

Fortunately, Southgate is a clear fan of the speedster and actually handed Rashford his Under-21s debut back in 2016.

Since then, he has made 46 senior appearances for his country, but Rashford has a lot to prove over the next few months if he is to trump his international team-mates.

Tammy Abraham

Tammy Abraham has performed well for Roma over the last year
Tammy Abraham has performed well for Roma over the last year

It is always difficult to make an impression when you are competing against one of the best strikers in the world in Harry Kane.

Tammy Abraham finds himself in a position where he is performing well for his club but it is still not enough to dethrone England's star striker.

The Roma No9 moved away from Chelsea last summer in search of more regular playing time and won the Europa Conference League under Jose Mourinho in his first season in the Italian capital.

With increased minutes, Abraham found his groove, netting 27 times in all competitions.

His form was rewarded with an England call-up for June's Nations League fixtures but he failed to make an impact. 

Abraham faces competition from Ollie Watkins, Danny Ings and Ivan Toney to fill the role of back-up striker at the World Cup. If he can get off to a flyer, he will fancy himself as Southgate's secret weapon should Kane fail to fire.

Tags

World CupEnglandJadon SanchoJames MaddisonMarcus RashfordFikayo TomoriTammy AbrahamManchester UnitedLeicester CityAC MilanPremier LeagueSerie ARoma
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