Merson omits Liverpool trio in predicted England World Cup squad
By Aramide Oladipo
Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson believes that Liverpool defenders Nathaniel Clyne and Trent Alexander-Arnold alongside striker Daniel Sturridge should not be selected in England’s 23-man squad to compete in next year’s World Cup.
The Three Lions confirmed their place in the tournament with a 1-0 win over Slovenia on Thursday night at Wembley Stadium.
England boss Gareth Southgate called up three Liverpool players for the international break in Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sturridge and the latter was the only man not to enjoy minutes in midweek.
Expressing his opinions on the official Sky Sports website, Merson revealed that he would opt for Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier instead of the Liverpool full-back duo and he believes that Sturridge’s fitness is too much of a risk.
“If Sturridge was fit he would be the first person on the team-sheet, but you just cannot rely on his fitness or form,” he wrote.
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The striker has enjoyed 25 caps for his national side and he has played an important role in the past two international tournaments, finding himself on the scoresheet in the 2014 World Cup and last year’s European Championships in France.
Clyne has yet to feature for the Reds this season due to a back injury and Alexander-Arnold has only made one appearance for the England Under-21 team.
Despite omitting the Liverpool trio, Merson is adamant that summer signing Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana deserve to be selected for the World Cup.
“Lallana, like Wilshere, is another player who can unpick tight defences, so he’s a shoe-in,” he said.
“Oxlade-Chamberlain gets the nod because he’s as versatile as an egg.
“He could play in midfield, on the wing, at No 10 or even as a wing-back – you need players that are versatile.”
In other Liverpool news, David Edwards has compared this Reds teenager to a worldwide superstar of the game.