England Defender Specials: Outsiders to Make the 2022 WC Squad

England

England Defender Specials: Fikayo Tomori

Fikayo Tomori is another Chelsea academy graduate who made his way into the Chelsea first-team under Frank Lampard. Tomori was given plaudits for his assertive style of defending, however, his opportunities in the starting lineup became limited as Lampard put his trust in more experienced members of the squad in the hopes of securing a Champions League spot.

Tomori secured a loan move to AC Milan midway through last season and impressed so much so that Milan signed him permanently over the summer, and he now plays often for the Serie A giants.

The Canadian-born defender is now a regular in Milan’s backline, even at one point keeping out their captain, Alessio Romagnoli, in the starting XI. There is plenty of competition in the centre-back position for England as they operate with three, but Tomori’s athleticism and confidence on the ball should keep him in Southgate’s plans for the upcoming World Cup.

Tomori England odds are priced at 2/1 to make the World Cup squad.

England Defender Specials: James Justin

Leicester City full-back James Justin was having an excellent City under Brendan Rodgers as the Foxes were on course for a Champions League finish and when Justin signed from Luton Town in 2019, he went on to impress Brendan Rodgers enough to be included in the Leicester City first team. Justin is capable of playing on both sides at full-back as he has shown on multiple occasions over the last season and was perhaps heading for an England sport prior to injury.

The full back’s form put him into the conversation for Southgate’s squad before his injury as he was performing beyond his years and experience level in the top flight. Justin is still yet to receive his first English cap and faces plenty of competition on the right side of the defence for England.

However, Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell look to be Southgate’s favoured candidates on the left and side. Therefore, Justin could push for that position if he can return to the form that got Leicester fans excited last campaign.

ICYMI: Read the England midfielder specials for the England World Cup squad odds here.

England Defender Specials: Joe Gomez

Joe Gomez was unfortunate last season after suffering a season-ending injury early in the season, whilst Liverpool were in the middle of a defensive injury crisis. Gomez matured as a defender whilst partnering Virgil van Dijk at the heart of the Liverpool defence and he was slowly but surely becoming one of Southgate's main defenders.

Playing next to van Dijk elevated the former Charlton defender’s game as he became a regular in Gareth Southgate’s England squad selection. Gomez possesses great pace and is a well-rounded defender who is comfortable coming out with the ball at his feet. Playing in a successful team has given him great experience and composure to handle playing at the highest level.

He would probably have been part of the Euro 2020 squad, and as he looks to return to fitness this season, he will hope to regain the form that pushed him into being recognised as one of the best English central defenders. But first, he must get into the Liverpool squad again.

England Defender Specials: Reece James

Chelsea wing-back, Reece James, participated in his first major tournament with England representing the Three Lions on their run to the Euro 2020 final. James made his Chelsea debut in 2020 under former manager, Frank Lampard, who opted to bring through several academy prospects to play a key part in the first team as a result of Chelsea’s transfer ban.

James is known for his powerful running up and down the touchline coupled with his outstanding technical ability. He possesses all the attributes of the modern-day attacking full-back whilst also being very capable defensively and in one on one situations.

Current Chelsea manager, Thomas Tuchel, has also deployed James as a centre-back in a five-at-the-back system, where he has shone and shown his versatility, whilst also being comfortable playing in midfield. Gareth Southgate employs a similar system with England and with the ageing Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier, James may cement his place in the squad alongside Trent Alexander-Arnold.

England World Cup 2022 World Cup odds for James is priced at 8/13, making him a favourite to go, but not so much to start.

ICYMI: Read the England midfielder specials for the England World Cup squad odds here.

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