England World Cup squad: Five surprise inclusions for Qatar 2022

England midfielder Conor Gallagher
(Image credit: Getty)

England's World Cup squad for Qatar 2022 has been released, with fans left stunned by a few of manager Gareth Southgate's choices. 

Some of that shock was reserved for players who have been overlooked, including James Ward-Prowse, Ivan Toney, Tammy Abraham and Tyrone Mings. But the Three Lions squad is also scattered with players few England fans thought stood a chance of making it to Qatar.

Here, FFT runs you through the eye-opening inclusions in England's World Cup squad...

James Maddison

James Maddison England World Cup 2022 squad

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The biggest surprise of all has to be the inclusion of Leicester City's James Maddison, a player many fans will be thrilled to see make the cut so late in the planning process. 

Maddison has been electric for the Foxes so far this season, either scoring or assisting 10 goals in 12 Premier League appearances for the struggling side. Despite his form, Southgate has appeared reluctant to reward the playmaker with call-ups in recent years. Maddison made his sole England appearance in a 7-0 win over Montenegro in November 2019, before appearing to fall out with the manager after visiting a casino shortly after pulling out of the squad due to "illness". 

However, he's been brought back in from the cold for Qatar following a bright start to the campaign and fans will be hoping to see him get some minutes on the field. 

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

(Image credit: Getty)

Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher has made just four appearances for England so far during his career, but will also be going to the World Cup after making the grade for Qatar. Gallagher earned his first call-up to the Three Lions squad while shining for Crystal Palace on loan last season. His energy and desire to get into the opposition area were praised by then manager Patrick Vieira. Now back at his parent club, Gallagher has been in decent form this season, but his inclusion might surprise some fans given his lack of experience. 

Ben White

Ben White applauds the Arsenal fans after the UEFA Europa League group A match between PSV Eindhoven and Arsenal FC at Phillips Stadium on October 27, 2022 in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

(Image credit: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Like Maddison, Ben White has been a player many England fans and pundits have been calling to see more of in recent months. The Arsenal defender's intelligence, composure and versatility (he can play comfortably at centre-back or right-back) have been highly praised as the Gunners have led the Premier League title race for most of the season. White was unused at Euro 2020 but hasn't been picked for an international squad since a June friendly with Romania. Yet it appears Southgate's lack of confidence in his defenders has promoted a reshuffle on the eve of the tournament. 

Kalvin Phillips

Euro 2020

(Image credit: PA Images)

One of the stars of England's run to the Euro 2020 final would have been a shoe-in for a spot on the plane were it not for a lengthy injury lay-off since the midfielder signed for Man City in the summer. Phillips has barely played this season and fans feared the linchpin wouldn't be fit in time for Qatar. However, it appears Southgate is willing to gamble on the 26 year old. 

Kyle Walker

Kyle Walker of Manchester City during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on October 2, 2022 in Manchester, United Kingdom.

(Image credit: Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)

Another Man City player that looked destined to miss out after missing large parts of the season with a groin injury. Walker has been one of Southgate's most used players since the latter became Three Lions gaffer in 2016, operating as a right-wing back and a right-sided centre-back in the manager's preferred 3-4-3 system. His speed, versatility and experience have been key to England's progress in recent years and, for that alone it seems, he's been taken to Qatar in the hope he can recover in time to play a role. 

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