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Southgate wants ‘fearless’ England at World Cup 2018

12:45 BST 17/05/2018
Gareth Southgate England 2017-18
The manager says he has not taken a risk with his selection because he has picked the best players possible, playing down their lack of experience

Gareth Southgate says he wants his England squad to be “fearless” at World Cup 2018.

The manager named his 23-man panel for Russia on Wednesday, including uncapped Liverpool youngster Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Although the team is short of international experience, boasting an average of only 19.5 caps, he is eager that his players believe they can bring home the trophy.

Indeed, he believes his youthful squad will provide his side with qualities that they might otherwise have lacked.

“I think it's being fearless in how we want to play, being brave enough to put people in and not think: 'Well, he's the best player but he's young, maybe we should pick a lesser player who's a bit more experienced,’” he said.

“You can make excuses at times for not putting young people in, accepting that they will make mistakes because of the way we were asking them to play, but I will take responsibility for that. It's important for me to allow them to go and perform.”

The former centre-back added that he does not think he is taking any undue risks.

“I don't see it as a gamble and I don't think being free of inhibition is gambling,” he said.

“Maybe it is brave to take players without the number of caps, but we have to give these guys belief.

“We pick from 33 per cent of the league, which is quite a unique situation, but there is excitement with where we are going.”

England face Tunisia, Panama and Belgium in the group stage but first have friendlies against Nigeria and Costa Rica to negotiate.