England manager Gareth Southgate has named his 23-man squad for this summer’s World Cup and, as usual, the process was a rollercoaster ride for expectant fans.
From shock omissions to surprise call-ups to players causing havoc on social media, this is how the announcement unfolded.
And so it begins…
There was an air of cautious optimism among some fans before the squad was announced. And Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker issued a rallying call early doors…
‘Big mistake, Gareth Southgate’ – the early leaks
As Southgate picked up the phone to inform players of their World Cup fate, the news of the omissions slowly leaked out – one man at a time.
First to be revealed: Joe Hart. He’d been England’s first-choice goalkeeper for the past three major tournaments – Euro 2012, the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016, as well as the qualifiers for this summer’s event – but his poor form for West Ham has cost him a place.
Then came Jack Wilshere. It seems the injury-plagued Arsenal midfielder hasn’t done enough to prove himself before the tournament.
We then discovered Fulham’s 17-year-old goalscoring machine Ryan Sessegnon was also a no.
Get him on the plane… to Zante
While big names appeared to be dropping like flies, one fan decided to pluck up the courage to Wilshere if he wanted to go on holiday with “the lads”.
Then things got even weirder.
The rumour mill went into meltdown shortly before the announcement thanks to an Instagram post from Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey, which showed him on the beach and was captioned “humble lion”.
Cue non-European football fans searching ‘who is Leon Bailey?’ while others got very excited about the prospect of him joining the squad, seeing as he’s scored 12 goals in Germany this season.
As it turns out, Jamaica-born Bailey wasn’t on the plane and may not even be eligible for England. Sigh.
The announcement finally arrives
At 14:00 BST all the rumours stopped. The squad was finally named.
Liverpool teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold was the shock inclusion, having received a call-up off the back of a highly impressive breakthrough season with the Reds.
The uncapped 19-year-old seemed to be a welcome addition to the Three Lions.
The ‘we’re going to win the World Cup’ fans
Every four years, you can almost guarantee every friendship group, family, or school class will have a token optimist – that person who claims: “It’s going to be our year!”
The ‘that’s us out in the group stages’ fans
For every optimist, there’s also a pessimist. Here come the end-of-the-world doom-and-gloom England fans.
‘Mum, we’re off to the World Cup!’
Representing your country in a World Cup is something a young footballer can only dream of when they are starting out.
For some of the players, Southgate is the man who has made their dreams come true.
No, you’re crying…