World Cup Image – TonyAjas, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

*England World Cup Squad Announced – Read it Here First*

Here we go again. How quickly it comes round. The World Cup. The old Trophie De Jules Rimet. But it’s not only 31 teams and Qatar who are back to deliver cliché free copy and excitement. Here’s old AJ Rutherford on top of his game as well. It’s time to build on the success of my 2018 masterpiece, AJ Rutherford’s Russian World Cup in Russia. The mega best seller. The Waterstone’s winner, the Amazon Amazer, the WH Smith’s smasher.
And you can read it all here, on this website. Predictions, reports of every match and, even better, the sort of inside info that only comes from the contacts a respected pundit and journo builds up over years on the job. And just to prove it, today I can give you advance notice of Gazza Southy’s twenty six man squad, plus – yes plus – the stand ins he has in mind should one of our superstars stub their toe before football in England ends after Fulham instil defeat on Manchester United on November 13th. (I know that’s a long sentence, but it’s time to get away from sound bite journalism – there’s bigger things ahead.)
Of course, I can’t reveal where my inside knowledge comes from: no top journalist ever reveals their sources. And, modesty permitting, I think it is widely accepted that I am perched among the highest twigs of the reporter tree, even ravaged as it is by the Dutch Elm of the online newspaper. Indeed, the ‘Three Bs Tribune’ (covering the triple conurbations of Buckingham, Bicester and Brackley, with a readership stretching from the wilds of Winslow to the frontier of Farthinghoe) is the leading paper in that part of Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire. It truly is an honour to be chief sports writer on the Three Bs Tribune, leading print journal of the three Shires, available at all good newsagents and WH Smiths within its catchment area. But enough about me. *(And the paper, ed.)* As I was saying, I can’t reveal my sources, other than to say that Super G is very fond of a cup of tea and a bourbon. If you know what I mean. Very fond, nudge nudge. Meaning my inside ear is a frequent visitor to the inner sanctum. Hint, hint.
So, let’s light the blue touchpaper and launch the fireworks. This World Cup is going to be a sparkler, and England will rocket to the title.
*Leadership Team*
No surprises here, at least for those who know our Gazza. Maybe, though, followers of form might wish to raise a cynical eyebrow or three. Those of us who know the game inside out, like former players turned writer and pundit such as myself, know more. Trust in the manager. Trust the process. Trust is the former waistcoated one’s middle name. Second rate pundits so keen to spout forth in the gutter press would do well to take a button off his perfectly ironed three piece. And use it as a mirror to take a close look at themselves.
Still, I digress.
Our main captain will, of course, be the soon to be knighted *Sir Hazza*. I confidently predict that the Kane will be able (see what I did there?) to end the tournament not only with his second golden boot – what a pair that will be – but with the title of England’s leading ever goalscorer. Eat your hearts out Linners and Rooners. Of course, there’s plenty of us Laners who think Harry’s boots are golden already.
Next in charge will be* Henders*, although rumour is he won’t start too often. *Picks of the Sticks *will wear the armband when the Saint is resting, and if the Liverpool maestro is struggling with the heat. Also among the head honchos will be the former White Hart Lane superstar *Trippers*, former City legend *Rah-Rah* and – no shock, no horror – *Big Mags. *Was there ever any doubt that Gatters would stand by his man? Not from this corner flag.
Of course, McGareth will be expecting everybody to be a leader out on the pitch, not just his top six.

Aaron Ramsdale

Photo credit: AB Peters

*Aaron Ramsdale Makes the Cut – According to AJ’s Sources*

*The Shoe-Ins*
Quite a few of the squad picks itself. We didn’t even need an inside source (or should I say, sauce? Wink wink) to spot these certainties.
*The Cardinal* will be back up between the posts. *Rammy * will go too. Just pipping that other Henders for the most likely not to get a game badge. *Shaw* is a sure thing, and *Stones *a stone dead certainty. Not to take *Eric* would be a dire decision. In midfield, *Jude* is glued in, it wouldn’t be nice without *Rice, *it’s boding well for *Foden* and *Mason* has no more hurdles to mount. Our *Jack* will be back for England, even if he is a bit part player at City, while those who questioned *Rashford’s *inclusion were being rash themselves.
*The Walking Wounded*
The phsyio’s couch already resembles the non-EU line of passport control at Charles De Gaulle. *Kyle Walker *is a certain runner and *Sako* is keeping his jobbo. *Chillers *can chill, with his place also secure as back up left back. Sadly, James-ey won’t make it, nor will cool Kalv. Strikers, says the Boss, need to be in form and the other Calv just won’t have enough game time to win a seat on the plane, or even the bench.
*Putting the Questions to Bed*
By the time our Gaz and his mates had finished their list, the bourbon packet was empty, the petticoat tails consumed, and the team were on to the malted milks. That’s how long it took to settle on the squad. *Tomori* becomes tomorrow’s man today, while *Ben White’s *versatility makes him the right answer for his country. *TAA* gets his BA ticket, which is a shock to some. *Wilson* will ensure that if Our Captain cannot play, it won’t be a total calamity. *Conno* also secures a place in the midfield, along with *Prowser*.
So here, in summary and based on a mixture of inside knowledge, and just knowledge, is a summary of England’s squad for the Qatar World Cup.
Keepers: Pickford, Pope, Ramsdale.
Defenders: Shaw, Stones, Alexander Arnold, Walker, Maguire, Dier, Trippier, White, Tomoro, Chillwell.
Midfield: Henderson, Rice, Mount, Foden, Gallagher, Bellingham, Ward Prowse.
Strikers: Kane, Sterling, Rashford, Grealish, Sako, Wilson,
Back ups in case the worst happens, other Henders, Coaders, Milly (for experience), Sanchers and Bammers (bit of a risk, that one. But that’s the genius of the man).
Even with a master tactician such as Mr Southgate in charge, England’s performances have been disappointing of late. A ‘qatar final’ in Qatar is seen by many as the best we can hope for. But looking at this squad, this squad can go two steps further and lift the trophy.
Start ordering those pints and pizzas,
A.J. Rutherford

Copyright AB Peters Writer November ‘22
World Cup Image – TonyAjas, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons
Goalkeeper Image – Courtesy AB Peters