Gareth Southgate told England will not win the World Cup due to excluding Chelsea star

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Gareth Southgate told England will not win the World Cup due to excluding Chelsea star

Paul Merson, a former midfielder for Arsenal and Aston Villa, feels that England will not win the World Cup owing to the exclusion of Chelsea right back Reece James.

Last month, James suffered a knee injury against AC Milan in the Champions League. Since then, the 22-year-old has not played for the Blues and has been diligently recovering in time for the competition later this month.

There were rumors that James could still go with the team and participate in the tournament’s latter stages. However, Gareth Southgate decided against doing so and kept the Chelsea defender out of his squad entirely.

Now, the former Arsenal player has criticized this choice and feels that the Three Lions would not win the cup due to James’ exclusion. In his column for the Daily Star (via the Daily Mail), the 54-year-old expressed his disapproval.

“If it was Harry Kane he would be going – what’s the difference? We aren’t going to win the World Cup without having James in the team. He is a shoo-in to start and if we took him, he plays in England’s team every day of the week. He is one of our best players. If it was Kane, they would say ‘right we’ll take him and use him after the group stages.”

James has been the finest player for Chelsea this season. His performance as a right-back and right wing-back has been lauded by both experts and opponents. In his position, the 22-year-old has established himself as one of the greatest in the world.

If the injury had not occurred, the Cobham graduate would have likely been Southgate’s first option at right back in Qatar. It is understandable to leave him out of the group stages, but it makes little sense not to take one of their greatest players when he has the opportunity to heal and play.

Southgate has selected three right-backs for his Cup team this year. Ben White, an Arsenal defender who has played consistently at right back for Mikel Arteta’s squad this season, has also been picked. While all of these defenders are capable, Southgate will certainly make a mistake by omitting James.

The last time England won the competition was in 1966. Since then, they have come close, with Southgate’s squad losing in the World Cup semi-finals to Croatia in the most recent tournament. This year, they are one of the favorites, but it remains to be seen if they can bring home the cup.

Gareth Southgate told England will not win the World Cup due to excluding Chelsea star

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