Alexander-Arnold named in youthful England Cup squad

YOUNG GUN: England’s goalkeeper Jordan Pickford during a training session 

London: Liverpool's 19-year-old right back Trent Alexander-Arnold received a surprise call-up for England as manager Gareth Southgate put his faith in youth with his final 23-man squad for next month's World Cup.

Chelsea's out-on-loan midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 22, was also given a seat on the plane to Russia after impressing for Crystal Palace this season. While Chelsea skipper Gary Cahill, whose place had been in doubt, also makes the trip east, experienced goalkeeper Joe Hart and Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere were both omitted from the squad announced on Wednesday.

Southgate broke with convention by declining to name a provisional 30-man squad, opting instead to select his preferred 23 well before Fifa's June 4 deadline.

He did, however, leave the door slightly ajar for five players placed on a standby list.

Former national under-21s manager Southgate has championed young players since taking over in the wake of Sam Allardyce's dismissal and has named one of the most callow England squads ever to travel to a major tournament.

The uncapped Alexander-Arnold is the youngest after an amazing breakthrough season with Liverpool, which will culminate in next week's Champions League final against Real Madrid.

Apart from Cahill, there were a few other players breathing a sigh of relief. Among them is Arsenal's Danny Welbeck, who missed a chunk of the season through injury but was named alongside Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford in the striking department.

Left back Danny Rose was also selected despite playing only 10 Premier League games for Tottenham Hotspur.

With Hart's England days now apparently over after being his country's senior keeper for the past three tournaments, Everton's Jordan Pickford is expected to start in goal in England's opening match against Tunisia on June 18.

Meanwhile, Sweden coach Janne Andersson named a squad short on household names but big on team spirit on Tuesday.

There were no shocks as the 55-year-old coach, who took over after record goalscorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic retired form the national team following a disappointing showing at Euro 2016, kept faith with the players who qualified for Russia.

In Ibrahimovic's absence, Sweden dug deep to beat qualifying group winners France at home, before beating Italy in a thrilling playoff to book their spot at the finals.

"I think we showed in the qualification and the playoff that we had ... the same squad, and I think we did it really well. So hopefully it's a strength in that way," Andersson said of his team's lack of household names.

The 36-year-old Ibrahimovic, who has rediscovered his fitness after moving from Manchester United to Los Angeles Galaxy, had flirted with an international return. Agencies


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