2018 FIFA World Cup: England squad to be named early by Gareth Southgate

By @saihoops on
Gareth Southgate
Soccer Football - International Friendly - England vs Italy - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - March 27, 2018 England manager Gareth Southgate and Lewis Cook after the match REUTERS/Darren Staples

England's squad for the forthcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia will be named earlier than expected, according to reports. Gareth Southgate, the manager of The Three Lions, intends to name his squad before their final warm-up game to help build better camaraderie ahead of soccer's showpiece event.

On Tuesday (Wednesday AEDT), England impressed via their 1-1 draw against Italy at Wembley Stadium. Southgate will now have to submit a provisional squad of up to 35 players before the June 4 deadline for the final 23-man England World Cup squad.

"I'd like to (name the squad before the next friendly against Nigeria on June 2) because you end up being able to run a performance camp rather than a selection camp. I think there's a difference in the feel for everybody. If you name 28 and they aren't sure, but if you name 23 and five on standby -- which Sven (Goran Eriksson) did well -- then everyone knows where they sit. Those on standby have a chance but they come into the camp knowing that's their role," Southgate told the media after the game against Italy.

England will play two more warm-up friendlies, against Nigeria and Costa Rica, on June 2 and 6, respectively. Southgate will make his decision on the final squad ahead of the game against Nigeria.

"If you have got 28 or 30 who think they might have a chance, then there's a lot of uncertainty and anxiety within the games. For me, it's much better to get the 23 secured and work from there. It's very important. But I think already across this week, guys would have a pretty good idea of where they sit. It's about managing expectations, I suppose."

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be staged in Russia between June 14 and July 15, 2018. Germany, the defending champions, are the odds-on favourites to repeat as World Cup winners. England will be in Group G with Belgium, Panama and Tunisia.