Gareth Southgate is reportedly ready to axe five experienced England stars from his squad for next year’s World Cup.
Following back-to-back goalless draws with Germany and Brazil, during which a number of England’s younger stars impressed, The Sun claims that Chris Smalling, Jack Wilshere, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott can all expect to be on a beach rather than in Russia in 2018.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Harry Winks, Jordan Pickford, Harry Maguire and Joe Gomez have all forced their way into Southgate’s plans, which inevitably leads to some casualties amongst England’s regulars.
Smalling is said to have been left out for the last two friendlies as Southgate opted for central defenders who were more comfortable in possession, while Wilshere, Walcott and Sturridge are all struggling for game time at Arsenal and Liverpool respectively.
Welbeck’s potential omission is the biggest surprise, however, given his fine goalscoring record for the Three Lions.
The former Manchester United star has notched 15 goals in 36 caps for his country, not far off one in every two games, which is a far better ratio than his club career.
Southgate looks likely to take only three out and out frontmen to Russia, with Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford all nailed-on for places on the plane.