Shearer picks Wilson over Toney for England amid one ‘concern’; Maddison should ‘definitely’ go

Lewis Oldham
Shearer on England

Alan Shearer has picked his 26-man England squad for the World Cup and he has selected Newcastle United’s Callum Wilson over Brentford’s Ivan Toney.

Gareth Southgate will name his England squad for the World Cup on Thursday.

He has several big decisions to make and one of them is which backup strikers to take.

Harry Kane is set to start but Wilson and Toney are among the players competing for a supporting role in the squad.

Both forwards have been in great form this season in the Premier League, but Shearer has gone for Wilson as Toney’s “physicality” might be too much for “referees at the highest level”.

James Maddison meanwhile is one of the form players in the Premier League but it is unclear whether he will be heading to the tournament.

Shearer believes the Leicester man should “definitely” go with the only debate being “whether he starts or not”.

The Newcastle legend has also included Ben White and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

“I’d definitely be taking Leicester City’s James Maddison, who is playing exceptionally well and my only debating point would be whether he starts or not — although there’s clearly something Gareth doesn’t fancy about him,” Shearer told The Athletic.

“In attack, I’ve left out Brentford’s Ivan Toney and gone for Tammy Abraham and Callum Wilson.

“I understand that if England are to win the World Cup they’re almost certain to have to win a penalty shootout somewhere down the line and I understand the clamour for Toney to be involved.

“But I’d be a bit concerned about how his physicality might be viewed by referees at the highest level. Wilson has longstanding fitness issues but has been brilliant for Newcastle United.

“Harry Kane remains England’s key player. Gareth will be sitting at a game this weekend with everything crossed that nothing untoward happens to his captain and talisman, who may have been overshadowed by Erling Haaland in the goalscoring charts but is otherwise in fine fettle.

“In Jude Bellingham, we have a superstar in the making with the potential to set the world alight, so in those regards, it feels exciting.”

Shearer continued: “It’s not just about questionable fitness — it’s about form, too. With Walker it’s fitness, with Harry Maguire it’s form and a lack of game time — one start in the league for Manchester United since August.

“It’s form for Eric Dier, Luke Shaw, Trent Alexander-Arnold. Kieran Trippier must be one of the first defenders on the team sheet at the moment, while Ben White is full of belief at Arsenal, but there are some big calls to be made here.”

Alan Shearer’s 26-man England squad.

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope, Aaron Ramsdale.

Defenders: Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, Luke Shaw, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben White, Harry Maguire, Conor Coady, Eric Dier, John Stones.

Midfielders: Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Mason Mount, James Maddison, Jude Bellingham, Declan Rice, Jordan Henderson, James Ward-Prowse.

Forwards: Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Callum Wilson, Tammy Abraham, Marcus Rashford.

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