The Three Lions boast a world-class pool of talent, and there should be no excuses if they do not secure victory at the England FIFA World Cup 2026. But who will cut? England has often entered tournaments with high expectations and confidence, but this time the hype is justified. The Three Lions should head to the USA, Mexico, and Canada with one goal: to bring the trophy home.

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FIFA World Cup Final Tickets | England FIFA World Cup Tickets
FIFA World Cup Final Tickets | England FIFA World Cup Tickets

Gareth Southgate’s team was just a few penalties away from ending 55 years of heartache in the last European Championship. Since that painful defeat to Italy at Wembley, the squad has only grown stronger. They excelled at the England Fifa World Cup, narrowly losing to France, and have become accustomed to deep tournament runs, something once unimaginable.

Harry Kane is even more prolific, breaking all sorts of scoring records in Germany with Bayern Munich. Meanwhile, Jude Bellingham has won over the demanding fans at Real Madrid, becoming the club’s most crucial player.

England’s Manchester City contingent has grown accustomed to winning trophies regularly. Bukayo Saka has become Arsenal’s standout star, and fringe players like Ollie Watkins are enjoying sensational seasons. With such a wealth of talent at his disposal, Southgate has no excuses for his side not going all the way in the England Fifa World Cup. But who has made England’s squad for the tournament? GOAL has all the details following Southgate’s announcement of his final 26-man roster on June 6.

Football World Cup Tickets: Goalkeepers and Defenders Southgate’s Selections for

Southgate has maintained a consistent approach with his goalkeeper choices, sticking with the trio of Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale, and Sam Johnstone since June 2023. However, Johnstone’s unfortunate elbow injury in March has ruled him out of the tournament, leading to his club-mate Dean Henderson stepping in to fill the void.

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FIFA World Cup Final Tickets | England FIFA World Cup Tickets
FIFA World Cup Final Tickets | England FIFA World Cup Tickets

Pickford has solidified his position as the undisputed No.1 since Southgate’s inception in 2016, a status unlikely to waver now. Despite Everton’s struggles, he has consistently performed admirably, boasting the second-highest number of clean sheets in the Premier League.

England’s defensive line has also seen stability under Southgate’s tenure, yet injury woes have complicated matters ahead of the tournament. Harry Maguire’s confirmation of a lingering calf injury, which plagued his season with Manchester United, means he won’t be fit in time for the tournament. Additionally, Luke Shaw, sidelined since February, is still battling to prove his fitness.

Maguire’s absence paves the way for Crystal Palace’s Marc Guehi to potentially partner with John Stones in Germany. Meanwhile, if Shaw fails to regain full fitness, Kieran Trippier might be tasked with left-back duties for England’s tournament opener against Serbia on June 16.

The absence of these players undoubtedly leaves a void in the England squad, with each individual contributing unique skills and experiences. However, Southgate’s decision-making underscores the depth and competitiveness within the national team setup. It also highlights the challenges of balancing form, fitness, and tactical considerations when assembling a squad for such a prestigious tournament.

Midfielders and Forwards: England’s Squad Analysis for the FIFA World Cup 2026

The midfield presents an intriguing puzzle for England, boasting two of the globe’s finest operators in Declan Rice and Bellingham, alongside uncertainties regarding their partners. Conor Gallagher has emerged as the most dynamic midfielder besides Rice and Bellingham, while Trent Alexander-Arnold offers an alternative after Southgate experimented with him in midfield towards the end of 2023.

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FIFA World Cup Final Tickets | England FIFA World Cup Tickets
FIFA World Cup Final Tickets | England FIFA World Cup Tickets

Manchester United’s young talent, Kobbie Mainoo, left a mark against Brazil and Belgium in March, positioning him as a potential starter. Adding to the mix, Southgate has opted for Adam Wharton, who has experienced a rapid ascent since his move from Blackburn Rovers to Crystal Palace in January. When it comes to forwards, Southgate finds himself blessed with a plethora of options, arguably boasting the highest calibre of attackers globally.

Aside from Kane’s remarkable tally of 44 goals in his inaugural season at Bayern, Watkins is experiencing the peak of his career. He clinched the Premier League Playmaker of the Year award for the most assists in the division this season, in addition to netting 19 goals. England also boasts an abundance of exceptional wide forwards, with Anthony Gordon and Cole Palmer joining the ranks to complement the seasoned yet youthfully vibrant duo of Saka and Phil Foden. Additionally, Harry Maguire was ruled out due to injury, further shaping Southgate’s selection decisions for the tournament.  

Expected Starting XI: England’s Lineup Projection for the FIFA World Cup 2026

Southgate is renowned for his steadfastness and aversion to experimentation, particularly during major tournaments. Even casual England supporters with rudimentary knowledge of the team could likely accurately predict the lineup he’ll field in Germany.

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The key areas of intrigue lie at left-back, where Shaw (if fit) will contend with Trippier, and in central defence alongside Stones, with Guehi emerging as the primary candidate. The composition of the front six players remains uncertain, including who will accompany Rice, Bellingham, Kane, Saka, and Foden in the starting XI. Alexander-Arnold, Palmer, Mainoo, and Gallagher currently lead the pack, although much hinges on Southgate’s willingness to take risks from the outset.

While Southgate’s inclination towards consistency and reliability is evident, the unpredictability of football ensures that surprises are always a possibility. The depth of talent within the squad offers Southgate the flexibility to adapt to various scenarios and opposition strategies. Projected England XI (4-3-3): Pickford; Walker, Stones, Guehi, Shaw; Rice, Gallagher, Bellingham; Saka, Kane, Foden.

As the tournament unfolds, England fans can expect a blend of proven performers and emerging talents to showcase their abilities on the grand stage of the FIFA World Cup 2026. Whether sticking to the expected lineup or springing a tactical surprise, Southgate’s selections will undoubtedly be scrutinized as England aims for glory in the football world’s most prestigious competition.

FIFA World Cup Final Tickets | England FIFA World Cup Tickets
FIFA World Cup Final Tickets | England FIFA World Cup Tickets

Notable Absentees: Players Missing from England’s FIFA World Cup 2026 Squad

Ben White has made a rare and controversial decision by opting not to be included in the squad, citing personal reasons. This choice comes after he departs from the team during the England Fifa World Cup, further depriving Southgate of one of the Premier League’s most in-form right-backs. However, England still boasts a wealth of options in that position, as highlighted by Reece James’ absence from the squad.

Joining James on the sidelines are Chelsea teammates Ben Chilwell and Raheem Sterling, who, despite their experience, were left out of the squad. Also absent are midfield stalwarts Jordan Henderson and Kalvin Phillips, along with Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, who has been struggling for form. Initially named in the provisional squad, Tottenham’s James Maddison and Manchester City’s Jack Grealish ultimately did not make the final 26-man roster.

As England embarks on their journey to conquer the Football World Cup, the focus will be on the selected players to rise to the occasion and deliver memorable performances on the global stage. Their absence presents opportunities for other players to step up and make their mark on the international stage.

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