Maybe Gareth Southgate is a far, far shrewder operator than some believe — throw out the Joe Hart snippet early doors and the rest of England’s World Cup squad can go through on the nod.
Your third-choice keeper is the most irrelevant selection in football, unless you are really concerned about who gives the main man catching practice. Yet sparing Hart warm-up duties has possibly been the most talked-about decision of the lot.
If it was a diversionary tactic, it worked a treat.
Plus, from a public relations’ point of view, it again showed the ruthless Southgate, the man who does not compromise.
Nor does he gamble much.
With a World Cup squad of 20 outfield players, a punt or two can be taken.
You could say Trent Alexander-Arnold is a risk, but with Kieran Trippier and, if Southgate switches to a conventional back four, Kyle Walker in the squad, the Liverpool lad is there for the experience.
No, a gamble would have been Adam Lallana, or Jonjo Shelvey, or Jack Wilshere. A mighty gamble would have been Jack Grealish.
Any one of those four would have brought an extra dash of much-needed creativity to proceedings.
If form and fitness could be guaranteed, Lallana does just not get in the England squad, he starts games.
There are 34 days until England’s opening group match against Tunisia, surely time for anyone to prove their well-being?
And while Southgate is simply not having Shelvey, you got the feeling Wilshere might have gone but the manager knew he would be betting on his body holding up – and Gareth did not fancy the odds against that.
With the likes of Alexander-Arnold and Ruben Loftus-Cheek on board, this squad smacks of youthfulness and adventure.
But there is no camouflaging the lack of creativity and guile in midfield.
Southgate will argue there is little out there.
There is … but he was not prepared to gamble.
Now you’ve seen the squad, how far will England get?
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