World Cup watch: Maguire has howler while Pope strengthens his chances

World Cup watch: Harry Maguire has a day to forget again, Nick Pope strengthens his chances and Ben Chilwell faces new competition… while Aaron Ramsdale makes a mistake

  • Who’s heading for the Qatar World Cup in November? Sportsmail is keeping tabs
  • Nick Pope and Aaron Ramsdale harbour hopes of being among the goalkeepers
  • Reece James and Ollie Watkins are in impressive form at Chelsea and Aston Villa
  • Harry Maguire was part of the latest catastrophic Man United defensive display 
  • Click here for all the latest World Cup 2022 news and updates

With time ticking on England manager Gareth Southgate announcing his squad for the Qatar World Cup, now is make-or-break time for some of the candidates hoping to be on the plane.

Players who have started the season in flying form do so knowing that they are strengthening their chances of being at the showpiece, while now is not the time for Three Lions hopefuls to be making mistakes or having shockers.

Sportsmail keeps an eye on who’s looking likely to make the squad when the tournament starts in November. 

Players still have time to secure places up for grabs in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad

Will option number three win the two-horse race to become England’s No 1? 

All the talk in the last 12 months has been about Jordan Pickford v Aaron Ramsdale but Pope has quietly moved to the front of the queue, making it two clean sheets from two after his bargain £10million move to Newcastle.

The 30-year-old has only won eight caps for his country but England have won all eight, conceding once.


The Villa striker’s team-mate — and rival for a seat on the Qatar Express — Danny Ings got a goal but it was Watkins who made it, his first of two assists against Everton on Saturday.

His link-up play and hard running to create space for runners from midfield will serve him well, giving Gareth Southgate the option to play him in a front two with Harry Kane.

Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope made several important saves in his side’s draw at Brighton


Forget whether James is in the team because Southgate doesn’t fancy Trent Alexander-Arnold, right now the Chelsea man is simply the best right back we have. 

Another majestic display on Sunday against Spurs, capped off with a goal, tightens his grip on a starting spot.


How long can Maguire’s United form go on before it costs him his England place? 

For Brentford’s fourth goal on Saturday, Maguire began on the edge of the hosts’ penalty area, giving Ivan Toney a 20-yard headstart in a race the striker could have won at half-speed anyway.

Fortunately for Maguire, centre back is a problem position, with only AC Milan’s Fikayo Tomori and Tottenham’s Eric Dier in anything approaching good club form.

Harry Maguire (second from right) was part of a disastrous 4-0 loss for Man United at Brentford


The 24-year-old’s excellent first season at Arsenal was notable for a lack of conceding ‘giveaway’ goals that he should have done better with.

James Maddison’s shot on Saturday was struck hard and low but straight at Ramsdale. This is not the time for him to start letting shots — and doubt in Southgate’s mind — creep in.


England are not blessed with left backs, to the point that Kieran Trippier has spent a lot of time there in the last four years.

But even as the best conventional option, Chilwell will be worried about the £52.5m arrival of Marc Cucurella, who replaced him in the Chelsea starting XI on Sunday and was a threat throughout, in conjunction with Raheem Sterling.

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