England manager Gareth Southgate is awaiting match reports and fitness assessments on as many as three players before settling on his squad of 23 players for the World Cup in Russia.
Southgate submitted his squad of 35 players to FIFA on Monday morning and then spent the day subtracting 12 unfortunate names from his list before settling on the 23 who will head for Russia on Tuesday June 12.
With an FA Cup and Champions League finals to negotiate, Southgate knows he needs contingency plans to cover all fitness eventualities.
While he is still to settle on his final 23, it looks unlikely that the likes of Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey, Swansea’s Alfie Mawson, West Ham’s Andy Carroll and Chelsea’s on-loan striker Tammy Abraham will have impressed enough to make the cut.
Jack Wilshere has told Sky Sports that he is hopeful of making the World Cup squad
Despite his excellent recent form, Liverpool’s James Milner has not had a change of heart and come out of international retirement ahead of the Champions League final on May 26.
One surprise name which continues to tempt Southgate is Ryan Sessegnon.
After a dazzling season, in which he scored 15 goals for Championship side Fulham, Sessegnon will be relatively unknown to England’s opponents and could provide the pace and deft touches to unlock well-organised defences.
The 17-year-old plays in Monday night’s second leg play-off semi-final, with his manager Slavisa Jokanovic saying: “He has a really bright future, not only for Fulham but probably for England in the future or even immediately.”
Watford’s Nathaniel Chalobah returned from a long-term knee injury at the weekend but has not featured enough to be a likely contender to make the squad.
Meanwhile, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s injury means Southgate could well provide a return to the England fold for Arenal’s Jack Wilshere who pulled out of the squad for England’s last two friendlies against Holland and Italy.
Joe Hart, Ryan Bertrand, Danny Welbeck, Marcus Rashford, Gary Cahill and Ruben Loftus Cheek will all have made Southgate’s 35.
Whether they remain in his 23 will become clear when he informs the players of his decisions on Wednesday morning.