Tough decision to leave out Joe Hart, says England boss Gareth Southgate

Chris Smalling and Gary Cahill

Chris Smalling and Gary Cahill

England manager Gareth Southgate named his 23-man squad for the World Cup on Wednesday.

A youngster in Sheffield stood above graffiti of Jamie Vardy's name whilst Trent Alexander-Arnold's selection was presented on a phone.

Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope has been preferred ahead of Joe Hart with the 26-year-old selected alongside Jordan Pickford and Jack Butland.

Hart has been England's number one during their past three major tournaments and remained first choice during qualification despite being loaned out by Manchester City to Torino and West Ham over the previous two seasons.

That is for the future though and his first priority will be to make sure there is tangible progress in Russian Federation where England should progress into the knockout stages from a group comprising Tunisia, outsiders Panama and Belgium.

"I believe this is a squad which we can be excited about", he said.

The use of a three-man defence and buccaneering wing-backs has become prevalent in the Premier League but Southgate's use of forward players in recent friendlies has been interesting.

Take a look through the gallery above to see the best reactions from England players after the Three Lions announced their squad for the World Cup.

Rashford's United teammate Ashley Young (32) is also celebrating his first World Cup call-up, albeit at a very different stage of his career.

Wilshere fought his way back into the Arsenal first team this season after recovering from a leg fracture he sustained during his loan spell at Bournemouth in the 2016-17 campaign.

"The selection process has been over months really, it's not just been the last few weeks".

Loftus-Cheek has a real opportunity to make his make his mark, particularly in the absence of Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who was coming into prime form before he was ruled out with a serious knee injury.

Most players will kick-off their World Cup preparations on Monday, although Manchester United and Chelsea players will get time off after the FA Cup final - just as those involved in Liverpool's Champions League final will.

There can be no escaping the fact that this squad is largely unproven at global level, with the shadow of Euro 2016 and the defeat against Iceland still hanging over the team at a major tournament.

The main star of the England team is the striker Tottenham Harry Kane, who scored 30 goals in last season's Premier League.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Fabian Delph were preferred to the Liverpool midfielder who has struggled with injury problems this season.

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