The World Cup is just over four months away now, and the talk is on about who will take their place in the England squad. There are plenty of England players who have all but secured their first team slot, but a hand full of positions are up for debate, and nothing is set in stone. At least two Newcastle players still have a chance of proving themselves on the international stage.
The 2018 World Cup kicks off on June 14th and ends July 15th. There will be 35 teams participating in the world’s most prestigious football tournament. England has drawn a winnable group stage, with Tunisia and Panama both opponents that they could feasibly beat, and Belgium providing the biggest challenge.
FIFA recently released an official statement saying that teams will be required to submit a provisional squad list of 35 players, up from last year’s 30 players, by May 14th. The teams will submit a final 23-man squad list by June 4th at the latest, after which, we will know who has made it.
Before the actual World Cup tournament, England has friendly matches against Holland, Italy, Nigeria and Costa Rica. This will be a good chance for Gareth Southgate to experiment with the squad, and any outside bets who are going to make the final squad would be expected to make an appearance. For now, all we can do is speculate.
Jamaal Lascelles is the most likely player from Newcastle F.C. right now to make the England team for the World Cup. His class and form recently have made all the difference to Newcastle during their domestic games, especially the recent clash with Manchester United.
Though football is always a team game, the captain has played a key role in keeping Newcastle out of the relegation zone. Newcastle conceded only 19 goals in 21 games when Lascelles started compared to 17 goals in 6 games when he didn’t. In 18 out of the 21 games that he has started, Newcastle has conceded only one or zero goals per match. He does stand out as our best player right now, and a massive motivational force on the pitch.
Lascelles’ competition for a spot in the England squad is tough, but the center back positions are less definitive than the left and right back. Keane, Stones, Cahill, Gomez and Phil Jones are all possibilities, but Lascelles easily stands on par with most of them given his current performance. His odds of making the team have increased significantly since the Man United game, but bookmakers still see him as an outsider.
Jonjo Shelvey was looking like an outside option once upon a time but has little chance any more after struggling to make the Newcastle team as of late. He faces too stiff a competition from the likes of Dier, Sterling, Alli, Lingard, and a handful of other capable midfielders.
The other Newcastle player who still has a small chance of making the England squad for the 2018 World Cup is Dwight Gayle, with around 33/1 odds. He would have to score a lot more goals to have the opportunity and is an outsider to obvious picks like Harry Kane and young guns like Rashford, but he still could make it. Whoever they choose, it should be a good one.