Paul Merson has named his 23-man World Cup squad for Russia next summer, but it doesn’t include Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks.
England qualified for the World Cup finals with a laboured 1-0 victory over Slovenia at Wembley last night, with Tottenham’s Harry Kane popping up for the 94th minute winner.
He was probably the first name on Merson’s list, and there’s space on his plane for Kieran Trippier, Danny Rose, Eric Dier and Dele Alli too.
But, if he was England manager, Winks would miss out.
Instead, Merson has said that he’d take Arsenal’s injury prone Jack Wilshere in central midfield.
Writing in his Sky Sports column, Merson said: “Dier is a proper holding midfielder, he sits there and gives the ball to team-mates easily.
“He, along with Henderson, is virtually assured of a place on the plane.
“But I’m throwing a wildcard in with Wilshere.
“Things may change by the time the squad is officially announced, but this lad is one of few who can makes things happen in a football match – something we were crying out for against Slovenia.
“He can put the ball through the eye of a needle in the tight matches we’ll encounter in Russia.”
Harry Winks was a surprise call-up for the latest England squad after Fabian Delph and Phil Jones pulled out, but there was no space for Wilshere.
It was pretty obvious to anyone watching last night that England need something different. The five Tottenham stars that Merson has named should be shoe-ins, as long as Rose recovers from his mystery injury, but we’d take Winks along too. He’s a player that’s always full of energy and confident at any level. He’s nowhere near the first team yet, but he is a future Tottenham and England star, and he would benefit massively from the experience of being along on a trip to the World Cup finals. He’s also more than capable of stepping up and doing a job, and he doesn’t come with any baggage. Merson’s wrong on this one.