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5 fitness concerns for Gareth Southgate’s England World Cup squad

Gareth Southgate’s England could be without a number of key stars when they face Iran on November 21.


Like many sides heading to Qatar later this month, England have a number of serious injury concerns to deal with.

Southgate is set to announce his World Cup squad on November 10 and, ahead of that, 101GreatGoals have taken a look at the five biggest injury/fitness concerns the Three Lions have.

Kyle Walker

Kyle Walker has been sidelined for several weeks after being forced to go under the knife to correct a groin problem early last month.

Should Walker not be fit for the World Cup, it would be a major blow to Gareth Southgate.

The former Middlesbrough boss prefers a back-three formation, and generally uses Walker in the right-sided centre-back spot to make up for Harry Maguire’s lack of pace. Should he miss out, it will see England forced to majorly alter their tactics.

At present, Walker’s involvement in Qatar remains up in the air, with Pep Guardiola stating on November 8 that City and England’s physios are currently communicating over the defender’s condition.

Reece James

Reece James suffered a knee injury in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over AC Milan last month following a collision with Theo Hernandez.

James was set to be out of action for eight weeks and a call-up from Gareth Southgate looked unlikely. However, after being flown out to Dubai to step up his rehabilitation, James has been recovering ahead of schedule.

It is being reported that James could be fit in three weeks, which would see him miss all of England’s group games, but he could be back for the knockout rounds if the Three Lions get there.

Kalvin Phillips

Kalvin Phillips was a regular feature in Gareth Southgate’s midfield before 2022/23.

However, the midfielder has so far played just 13 minutes for Manchester City this season due to a shoulder problem.

In a boost to England, Pep Guardiola confirmed that Phillips will be on the bench on November 9 when City face Chelsea in the League Cup. But with only two games to go before the World Cup, Phillips’ lack of match sharpness is a concern.

Harry Maguire

Whether you like him or not, there is a very strong chance Harry Maguire will be one of England’s starting centre-backs this winter.

And whilst the 29-year-old is not currently injured, he is lacking some match sharpness.

Maguire has played four Europa League games this season, but only notched 141 minutes in the competition. He has also started just three league outings.

Bukayo Saka

Bukayo Saka is not currently out injured, but the winger does have some concern surrounding him heading into the tournament.

Saka has played in every single Arsenal game so far this season and has been receiving the Wilfried Zaha treatment from many a defender.

This saw Saka forced off after 27 minutes vs Nottingham Forest on October 30. The winger has since recovered and started vs Chelsea last weekend, but it is certainly something England will need to keep an eye on.

Josh Barker

Josh Barker

Middlesbrough fan from the North East of England. @JoshBarker979 on Twitter.


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