England squad not a gamble ―Southgate

England’s World Cup squad is not a gamble despite it being their third youngest in the tournament’s history, says manager Gareth Southgate.

He named a 23-man squad for Russia on Wednesday, including uncapped 19-year-old defender Trent Alexander-Arnold.

“I don’t see it as a gamble and I don’t think being free of inhibition is gambling,” said Southgate.

England start their Group G campaign against Tunisia on 18 June, before games against Panama and Belgium.

Southgate countered former England captain Gary Lineker’s suggestion the tournament should be seen as nothing more than a learning curve.

“I don’t think when you play or are involved with England you can ever write off any game or any tournament. That wouldn’t be acceptable,” he said.

“We think this is the best group of players available, we think they can be very exciting now and even more exciting in the future.

“I don’t want to limit what they think is possible because they’re young and hungry and they want to have a go at things.”

In his first news conference since announcing the squad, Southgate also said: He would discuss the captaincy when the players meet up on Sunday. It was “not the end of the road” for goalkeeper Joe Hart, who was left out of the squad.

“He had picked the best three keepers in the country this year. Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, who also missed out, was not as effective towards the end of the season.


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