- World Cup 2022 briefing: Day 9
World Cup 2022 briefing: Day 9
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England legend David Seaman has singled out three benched stars who could prove to be difference-makers at the 2022 World Cup. Gareth Southgate’s selection choices over the first two games in Qatar have raised a few eyebrows, with several notable absentees from the starting line-ups.
Southgate is spoilt for choice when it comes to attacking talent. The likes of Jarrod Bowen and Jadon Sancho didn’t even make it onto the plane to Qatar, such are the quality of options out wide, and deciding who starts on either flank has proven a tough task.
For the big win over Iran and the frustrating stalemate against the USA, Southgate plumped for experience with Raheem Sterling on the left and youth with Bukayo Saka on the right. Although it worked a treat first time out, they failed to find a rhythm on Friday and some supporters are calling for changes.
Seaman, who won 75 caps for his country during a distinguished international career, believes that Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and Marcus Rashford could make a serious impact in Qatar, despite starting the first two matches on the bench.
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“Look at the people that came on the other night – Foden, Grealish, Marcus Rashford. Our bench is so strong,” he told Express Sport, speaking at the Budweiser Fan Fest. “It’s people like [Mason] Mount who doesn’t get a lot of praise, but the link stuff he does is brilliant.
“[Bukayo] Saka was just amazing as well. For him to get two goals was great and there’s a lot of quality in the England team and the squad in general. It’s hard to tell who will really make the difference but we scored six goals the other day and Harry Kane didn’t score one. That shows you how well the team are playing.”
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Southgate has already addressed concerns over Foden’s lack of game time as he was left untouched on the bench during the draw with the USA. He claims that the Manchester City man will play a ‘big part’ in Qatar and some expect to see him feature from the start against Wales on Tuesday.
With Grealish and Rashford also playing well at club level, Southgate has one of the toughest selection jobs in football and making all supporters happy is an impossible task. The England boss faced speculation over his future in the lead-up to Qatar but Seaman, who used to share a dressing room with the former centre-back, believes that he’ll be with the Three Lions for the long haul.
“I think he’ll stay on no matter what [happens at the World Cup],” he added. “He’s still young enough. He’s with it, he’s really up to date with all the sports science. Why would we want him to go? We’re improving. You’ve got to look at the last few tournaments. Semi-final of the World Cup, the final of the Europeans.
“That’s what you want to do as an England boss – make the team better and better. He took over a really young squad and now they’re getting experience. They’ve had that tournament experience, which is invaluable, and now we’re taking it into 2022. We’re not far off the favourites.”.