Arsenal, Clubs, England, English Premier League, FIFA World Cup, Jack Wilshere, Story

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ESPN FC’s Paul Mariner examines England’s strike force and wonders if they’ll have what it takes to lead the Three Lions to glory at the World Cup.
England manager Gareth Southgate defends his 2018 World Cup squad selection.
Take a look at England’s squad ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Jack Wilshere has insisted he deserves to be in the England squad for the World Cup after being left out of the 23-man party by coach Gareth Southgate.

The Arsenal midfielder, who has not played for his country since Euro 2016, believes he has done enough to make the plane to Russia.

Wilshere, 26, had the chance to stake his claim for a place in March, but pulled out of England’s friendlies against Netherlands and Italy through injury.

“Think its about time I had my say, ” Wilshere posted on his Twitter account. “It goes without saying that I’m naturally incredibly disappointed to have been left out of the England squad for the World Cup.

“I’ve felt fit, sharp and strong all season and believe I should be in the squad! And given the chance I could have made a real impact.

“However, I have to respect the manager’s decision and would like to wish the whole squad all the very best for the tournament. I will always be an England fan and will be supporting the boys with the rest of the nation.”

Wilshere, who has often suffered from injuries in the past, made 38 appearances for Arsenal in the 2017-18 season. But he made only 12 Premier League starts in what was to prove Arsene Wenger’s final campaign at the Emirates Stadium.

Wilshere won the last of his 34 England caps in the Euro 2016 defeat to Iceland.

Fabian Delph, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Jordan Henderson and Eric Dier were all chosen ahead of Wilshere, and Southgate has defended his decision to omit the Arsenal man.

“Jack Wilshere has of course been in our thoughts,” Southgate said at a Wembley news conference on Thursday. “We selected him in March, but he hasn’t played a game for us.

“We’ve been pleased with the players who played in November and March. The only midfielder we added is Fabian Delph, who had a fantastic season with the champions.

“Jack had a good spell but was maybe not as effective towards the end of the season. We’re very open minded in terms of what we want.”

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Joe Hart has spoken of his disappointment at failing to make the squad. 

“Not going to lie, I’m gutted,” he wrote on Instagram. “After 2 years of trying to make the most of a really tough situation, this is hard to take.

“I’m proud to have put in the graft and play every minute to qualify with the team and have a really important input in that outcome. I know what I bring to the team, but it is what it is.

“Good luck to the team out there, the players know that even though I won’t be there, I will have my England shirt on as a fan this time and supporting all the way. No fear, go and smash it.”

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