ON THE PLANE

The way the 2017-18 campaign has played out, it is difficult to say with certainty whether any member of the goalkeeping crop is assured of a place in the squad.

In contrast, starting berths across the back four appear to have been sewn up if everybody is fit, with Manchester City’s John Stones and Chelsea’s Gary Cahill the favoured options at centre-half.

Danny Rose will likely be selected as the go-to option at left-back, with his former Tottenham team-mate Kyle Walker having impressed following a big-money move to Manchester City to nail down the right-back spot.

Jordan Henderson may not be to everybody’s taste, but Southgate is a big fan of the Liverpool midfielder and he will make the trip as a candidate to take the captain’s armband – or at least fill deputy duties.

Eric Dier has become an important figure for England in the midfield engine room and will definitely be handed another chance to grace a major finals, while Dele Alli will join his Spurs colleague despite seeing his form dip domestically this season.

Southgate has plenty of options to choose from in the forward areas, with Raheem Sterling’s renaissance at Manchester City guaranteeing him a place as the Three Lions cling to the hope that his standards can be maintained through to the summer.

Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford will also make the trip as a versatile option who possesses the pace to trouble the very best in the business, while Tottenham’s Harry Kane is arguably the finest striker on the planet and should skipper the team in Russia if he makes a full recovery from ankle ligament damage.

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