Southgate wants to take England and the country on another journey.

Leicester midfielder James Maddison has been included in England’s 26-man squad for the Fifa World Cup in Qatar.

Manager Gareth Southgate has also picked Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford and Newcastle striker Callum Wilson, Manchester City full-back Kyle Walker and Arsenal defender Ben White.

But AC Milan centre-back Fikayo Tomori, Brentford striker Ivan Toney and West Ham forward Jarrod Bowen miss out.

England face Iran in their World Cup opener on 21 November (13:00 GMT).

They are joined in Group B by Wales and the United States.

Manchester City midfielder Kalvin Phillips, despite only recently returning from two months out with a shoulder problem, is in, as is centre-back Harry Maguire, who has struggled to get a game for Manchester United this season.

However, Maguire’s club team-mate Jadon Sancho has not made the squad.

England squad

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Newcastle), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)

Defenders: Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Eric Dier (Tottenham), John Stones (Manchester City), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), Conor Coady (Everton), Ben White (Arsenal), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Declan Rice (West Ham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City)

Forwards: James Maddison (Leicester), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Chelsea), Callum Wilson (Newcastle), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)

Maddison form rewarded

James Maddison
Maddison has helped Leicester move off the bottom of the table and out of the relegation zone

Maddison’s inclusion is reward for his superb form for Leicester this season.

He has been instrumental in the Foxes’ resurgence following their poor start to the season and has six goals and four assists in 12 Premier League games.

His only cap for England came almost three years ago to the day – in a Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro when he played 35 minutes.

“He is playing really well,” said Southgate.

“He is a good player. We have always said he is a good player. He has earned the right. We think he can give something slightly different to the other attacking players we have.

“He is playing as well as any of the attacking players in this country and he is a bit different to the others.”

We think we have everything covered – Southgate

Walker has proved his fitness to Southgate after undergoing groin surgery and not playing in more than a month.

The England boss has also put his faith in Phillips, despite the midfielder having had injury struggles this season. Phillips, who has had surgery on his shoulder, returned to action as a second-half substitute in Manchester City’s 2-0 win against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.

Rashford has not played for England since the Euro 2020 final defeat by Italy, but the Manchester United forward has scored seven goals in all competitions this season.

Newcastle striker Wilson, who has scored six goals in 10 games this season, joins Tottenham’s England captain Harry Kane as the Three Lions’ main striker options for the World Cup.

But, like Brentford’s Toney and West Ham’s Bowen, Roma striker Tammy Abraham has been overlooked.

“We have wanted to make sure we have the balance of the squad right,” said Southgate.

“In this day and age squad is more important than ever with five substitutes. You want different options for different moments of matches and different stages of the tournament as well.

“We have had to cover a couple of players who are not fully match fit as well so having 26 players means you can take a couple of risks.

“We think the balance is there. We think we have everything covered.”

‘A great day but some disappointment’

Southgate says he has spoken to all the players who missed out on a place in the squad to explain the reasons behind his decision.

The 52-year-old has not yet managed to chat to all of those who have been included, but he did inform Maddison of his return to the England XI.

“I spoke to James this morning,” he said. “There was a lot of speculation and we decided a couple of weeks ago he would be in the squad.

“I didn’t get a chance to speak to Callum. My priority on these days is the difficult and sad news.

“The nature of those conversations reminds you how much it means to a player to go to a World Cup. It’s a great day but we’ve had some disappointment.”

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