Manchester United stars to benefit? FIFA confirm major World Cup change ahead of 2022 tournament

Manchester United pair Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford could have been handed a final lifeline in their attempts to make Gareth Southgate's squad for the 2022 World Cup as FIFA have confirmed that each of the 32 sides will now be able to name 26-man squads.

Both Sancho and Rashford have been out in the cold since the start of last season, and have seen the likes of Emile Smith Rowe and Jarrod Bowen overtake them in the pecking order for the Three Lions.

However, FIFA have announced that, for the Qatar tournament in November, squads will be increased to 26 from the 23-man variants that had been in place prior to COVID-19, to cater for potential positive cases and ensure that all 32 nations will be able to field sides.

UEFA have already employed the same tactic, with the belated EURO2020 tournament consisting of 26-man squads, but this will be the first FIFA tournament to do so.

And in doing so, it hands further incentive to the Manchester United pair, as well as the likes of Eric Dier and even youthful talents such as Aston Villa's Jacob Ramsey.

How long have they got?

Not long.

The final World Cup squads must be announced by October 20th, just over one month before the opening game of the tournament, with England taking on Iran and Wales taking on the USA on November 21st.

This leaves just one international break, in September, for players to stake their claim to be back in the squad ahead of Nations League encounters with Italy and Germany.

They will be aided somewhat by the earlier start date for the Premier League, which will give them 12 Premier League games, as well as any European football, to get back into the reckoning.

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Ben Browning

Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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