World Cup: Jack Wilshere ‘could have made an impact for England’

Joe Hart concedes goal against Stoke
Hart was dropped twice from the West Ham starting line-up this season

Goalkeeper Joe Hart says his omission from England’s squad for next month’s World Cup in Russia “is hard to take”.

Hart, 31, has 75 caps and was England’s first-choice goalkeeper at the past three major tournaments but was left out of Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad.

“Not going to lie, I’m gutted. I know what I bring to the team, but it is what it is,” Hart wrote on Instagram.

World Cup: Jack Wilshere ‘could have made an impact for England’
World Cup: Jack Wilshere ‘could have made an impact for England’

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere said on Thursday he “could have made a real impact” after he was also left out.

The 26-year-old said he should be on the plane to Russia as he has felt “fit, sharp and strong all season”.

Manager Southgate named England’s third-youngest squad in the tournament’s history on Wednesday with Hart and Wilshere the two highest-profile omissions.

Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford and Nick Pope were selected as England’s three goalkeepers despite Hart playing every minute of the team’s first nine World Cup qualifiers.

He has endured a difficult period at club level, first falling out of favour at Manchester City before conceding 39 goals in 19 Premier League games on loan at West Ham this season.

“After two years of trying to make the most of a really tough situation, this is hard to take,” Hart added.

“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.

“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.”

On Thursday, Southgate said it was a “difficult decision” not to select Hart but there was “no reason” it should mark the end of his international career.

I should be in squad – Wilshere

Jack Wilshere
Jack Wilshere started Arsenal’s last home game of the season – a 5-0 win over Burnley

Wilshere, who has had an injury-plagued career, has left out despite making 38 appearances for Arsenal in the 2017-18 season, including 12 Premier League starts.

He won the last of his 34 England caps in the Euro 2016 defeat by Iceland.

“It goes without saying, I’m incredibly disappointed,” said Wilshere.

“I believe I should be in the squad,” he added.

“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.”

Southgate defended his decision to omit Wilshere.

“Jack Wilshere has of course been in our thoughts,” Southgate said 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.”

World Cup build-up

Watford midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah, 23, and Manchester City goalkeeper Angus Gunn, 22, will link up with the England squad as training players.

Southgate has also confirmed that Bournemouth midfielder Lewis Cook, who is one of the stand-by squad players, will join the under-21s for the annual Toulon tournament in France which starts on 26 May.

England start their World Cup build-up next week without eight of the 23 squad players – those from FA Cup finalists Manchester United and Chelsea will have a week’s rest, and Liverpool’s players are preparing for the Champions League final.

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