Date: 21st September 2022 at 3:27pm
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Last week, England boss Gareth Southgate named his final squad before selecting the players he will take to the World Cup, and there were a few surprises. 

The Three Lions face Italy and Germany in the Nations League in what will be their final two matches before the tournament kicks off early in November.

That means that those players who weren’t included in his latest announcement are running out of time to impress Southgate and persuade him that they deserve a place in his team.

England will play for the first time since a four-game winless run earlier this year, during which they lost to Hungary twice and drew with both Italy and Germany.

That said, there is almost certain to be plenty of twists and turns between now and then, and we have taken a look at five stars who could still force their way into the squad.

James Maddison – Leicester City

Maddison was once again snubbed by Southgate last week

Foxes midfielder Maddison’s omission from the latest squad surprised many people, with the former Norwich City man having impressed during the early weeks of the season. The 25-year-old has scored three goals and provided an assist so far this campaign, despite Leicester currently sitting bottom of the table having not won a single game. Maddison’s one and only England appearance came in November 2019, during a 7-0 win over Montenegro, but many people feel he has been unfortunate not to have been capped since. Southgate’s latest squad included just five midfielders, and it could be suggested that they were crying out for a player of Maddison’s ability during their four-game winless run over the summer.

Marcus Rashford – Manchester United

United star Rashford was suffering from a minor injury when the squad was announced last week, and it will remain uncertain whether or not the forward would have been included if fully fit. The 24-year-old has scored three goals and provided two assists in his first six games of the season, and has been tipped by many to make a late surge for the World Cup squad if he can continue his fine run of form. Rashford was involved at Euro 2016 and 2020, as well as the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Lewis Dunk – Brighton and Hove Albion

Lewis Dunk has one England appearance to his name

Much of the talk in the wake of the squad announcement last week was to do with the inclusion of Harry Maguire, who made the 28-man squad despite having not started any of Manchester United’s last four league matches. Gareth Southgate has typically opted for a combination of any three of Maguire, Tyrone Mings, Conor Coady and John Stones over the past couple of years, but the likes of Fikayo Tomori and Marc Guehi are now pushing for starting spots. Dunk, who has captained Brighton to four wins and a draw from their first six games, is another name that will be talked about in the lead up to the World Cup. If the 30-year-old can continue the form he has demonstrated of late, he may be in with a chance of securing a place.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek – Chelsea

Two years ago, Loftus-Cheek’s chances of returning to the England setup looked remote to say the least. After a fairly dismal loan spell at Fulham, the midfielder returned to Chelsea last summer and has been improving ever since. The 26-year-old made 40 appearances across all competitions last season, and scored in The Blues’ FA Cup semi-final victory over Crystal Palace at Wembley. He has continued his impressive form this term, being deployed at right wing-back by former boss Thomas Tuchel. While he may not be Southgate’s first choice central midfielder, his versatility could appeal enough to earn him a place in the squad. The academy graduate has played regularly in defensive midfield as well as centrally, and even played as a centre-back on one occasion last term.

Anthony Gordon – Everton

Gordon has flourished under Frank Lampard

Toffees youngster Gordon announced himself to the Premier League last term, making 35 appearances in the competition and a further five in the domestic cups. The 21-year-old had made a few appearances the previous year, but established himself in the first team fold last season, scoring four goals and providing three assists. He has the likes of other wingers Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish ahead of him in the pecking order for an England spot currently, but he has scored four times in seven appearances for the under-21s, and looks almost certain to make his senior debut at some stage. Whether or not that comes at the World Cup remains to be seen.

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