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AFP
May 18, 2018

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Youthful England have to believe, says Southgate

LONDON: England manager Gareth Southgate insisted his 23-man squad is built to win now rather than building for the future, despite picking his country’s third youngest ever squad for a World Cup.

Veteran goalkeeper Joe Hart and Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere were among the big names to miss out on Southgate’s squad, whilst 19-year-old uncapped Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold was included.

“We are not picking young players because we are trying to buy ourselves time, we are picking young players because we believe they are the best,” said Southgate on Thursday.“Maybe it is brave to take players without the number of caps, but we have to give these guys belief.”

Former England striker Gary Lineker joined a host of pundits in calling on Southgate to “write off” any hopes of lifting the World Cup in Moscow on July 15 in favour of blooding youngsters.

However, Southgate said he resisted the temptation to name an even younger squad by ruling out the likes of Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon and Jadon Sancho of Borussia Dortmund to pick those that on form are best placed to succeed in Russia.

“I don’t think when you’re involved with England you can write any tournament off,” he added.“We know teams that win tournaments normally have more caps than we do, have more appearances in semi-finals and finals than we do. That’s where we want to head and that’s what Germany, Spain, Brazil and Argentina have done in junior and senior tournaments.

“We have great faith in them. They lack some big match experience, but how are they going to get that? I don’t want to limit what they think is possible. We need to enjoy the ride and embrace the tournament.”

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