Rio Ferdinand has snubbed the entire Arsenal contingent when naming his ideal England starting XI for the upcoming World Cup, with none of Emile Smith Rowe, Aaron Ramsdale, Bukayo Saka or Ben White being selected for his ideal selection.
The trio have all impressed in an England shirt previously, none more-so than Saka who was so untameable for the opposition at Euro 2020 last summer, but he clearly hasn’t done enough for Rio to consider him.
The strangest decision for me comes in defence, with Rio naming three right-backs in a back five, with Kyle Walker named to play centrally between Harry Maguire and Reece James, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Luke Shaw named at wing-back. Walker is strong and fast, but he’s not a central defender for me. He likes to get forward and there is no reason why he shouldn’t, especially when he has the pace to get up and down the field also.
Pickford also gets the nod over Aaron Ramsdale, based solely on his performances for England, but I struggle to see that coming through if our star continues with the astonishing form he has been in this season.
It is less of a shock to see Smith Rowe miss the line-up, with Jude Bellingham, Declan Rice and Phil Foden selected, while Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane make up the remaining slots in the side.
I think there is a lot wrong with this, likely stemming from his insistence on packing the midfield and defence, but even in this formation, I would have Bukayo Saka coming in at wing-back personally. The boy is un-droppable regardless of the formation in place, as is Raheem in an England shirt for me.
You can maybe blame Rio for some bias in naming the likes of Maguire and Luke Shaw when their form at present is diabolical, while selecting Walker comes from his reluctance to drop any of our impressive right-backs.
Can Southgate really continue to overlook Ramsdale? Will Saka prove to be a key player again in the World Cup?