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FIFA World cup 2022: Five players desperate to get into the tournament

The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is unique in every sense of imagination. Here we look at the five players who are desperate to get into the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Last updated: 19.07.2022
FIFA World cup 2022: Five players desperate to get into the tournament

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The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is unique in every strech of imagination. For the very first in its history, the tournament will take place in the winter period of November & December rather than the traditional hosting in summer. This is due to the extreme heat conditions in the Middle-East state during the months of June & July. It also means the World Cup will fall right in between the league season forcing the clubs to halt their action for a two-month period before they can resume again.

This kind of interruption in a busy time of club football understandably won’t be straightforward for coaches and players to accept as games multiply with the obvious risk of injuries and fitness problems. However, for some players, this strange schedule for the World Cup could act as a boon. These players have only one thing in mind to make the final squad to Qatar when the tournament rolls in because of not being in the national team picture recently. Most of them endured a poor season and want to get back into a rhythm to retain their place while others are looking out for a move elsewhere to do the same.

This is the list of five players who are desperate to have a strong upcoming season with their club to name themselves in the notebook of their head coaches of the national team. Not surprised to have three Manchester United players, Jesse Lingard could have made it fourth as he turned free agent this summer among a host of departures from the club, making the list on the back of a poor season individually and collectively. They have to hit the ground running straight away.


Marcus Rashford (England)

Rashford was touted to be the face of Manchester United from fans and pundits alike in years to come for his talent and him being the local boy. It is safe to say he has fallen from his grace in a forgetful campaign that saw him manage a career-low five goals for the club in 32 appearances in all competitions. Injury problems also played a factor with Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival further limiting Rashford’s impact he had in the last couple of years. The limelight shifted from him so much that England manager Gareth Southgate who set him in the first team picture at the 2018 edition of the World Cup stopped counting on him, providing only 88 minutes when called upon to the Euros last summer. The 24-year-old is no longer the automatic choice for the Three Lions. Although, Southgate will feel pressure to reelect him to the England camp if Rashford finds his true form again in the new season. This could be the result of major changes happening at his club, Manchester United. With a highly regarded coach, Erik Ten Haag now at the helm to present his fresh new ideas to the team and Rashford in his plans that could spark a revival. He has said he is relishing the fresh start at the club and raring to go now that Ronaldo is reportedly finding ways to leave the club making up space for Rashford to gain responsibility. This could be the opportunity Rashford waited to convince Southgate again.

Jesse Lingard (England)

Jesse Lingard’s career in recent seasons has been quite a tale. At the peak of his form under Jose Mourinho’s tenure at Manchester United, Lingard’s influence on the team fell off drastically under the preceding bosses due to his lackluster form at first and then an increase in competition for his attacking mid-position in the club. His only high point has been the loan spell at West Ham last year that got almost every club in Europe vying for his signature. Lingard’s contribution of 13 goals in a short period of time at the Hammers gave him a chance to make the move permanent but the club restricted against selling him. The 29-year-old virtually played no football last season leaving on free this summer ultimately rejecting a contract extension. Although he remained in Gareth Southgate’s book despite tough times with United, his obvious omission from the recent Nations League squad and World Cup qualifiers earlier is a signal of the coach looking for a more considerable option. Lingard was one of the influential players for England’s run to the semis of the 2018 World Cup but now he is left fighting for a place to feature for the next showpiece. It has been reported that Lingard is looking at options overseas with clubs from Saudi Arabia interested aside from Premier League interest. Wherever he goes, he is in urgent need of game minutes to make it to Qatar.      


Jadon Sancho (England)

Even lower in the pecking order than Rashford or Lingard, Jadon Sancho needs a hugely impactful season ahead to make it to Gareth Southgate’s books in Qatar. He has not illustrated the football he is known for since joining Manchester United from Borussia Dortmund with only six goals contribution but his form is not the huddle for him to get into the England squad. Sancho featured only once in the World Cup qualifiers and was not present in the recent Nations League squad for the Three Lions simply because he doesn’t fit the profile of the player Gareth Southgate wants despite being more talented than his clubmates. It is not only down to him as stars like Phil Foden also struggle to have a consistent run in the team. But while the Manchester City forward earns multiple call-ups to the national side the same definitely cannot be said about Jadon Sancho. The 22-year-old could change his fortunes in a similar way Marcus Rashford desperately wants to in accordance with the managerial change that happened at the club. Among the three, Sancho needs more than just a burst of form to impress Southgate in order to be on the plane for the World Cup. The manager has a real headache either selecting or leaving all of those players if they don’t shine come November.           


Anthony Martial (France)

While England will be thrown to make some key decisions in their squad selection, France have an enormous depth of talents to select the final 26 players to Qatar which is a major competition for one player trying to be in the mix. The fourth Manchester United contingent on this list, Anthony Martial has a colossal test to clear if he wants to see himself alongside Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe at the World Cup stage. Severely out of form and inconsistent whenever deployed, Martial wasn’t in the first team setup for Manchester United last season with a disastrous loan spell at Sevilla also to add to his less remarkable CV so far. Even Ousmane Dembele who struggled for a run of games due to his prolonged injury problems at Barcelona, though he had a strong end to last season, gets the nod ahead of him from manager Didier Deschamps. However, Martial has drafted himself in the first team plan at United under new boss Erik Ten Haag with the Dutch coach more than willing to let him lead the forward line in the new season. It is true whether the Monaco academy product gets back to his prominence or not, he is miles away to be a starter for France at the World Cup but him making the squad for the tournament will be no less of an achievement from this low point of his career.         


Mario Gotze (Germany)

Gotze became a name on everyone’s lips when he scored the iconic goal in the final of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil as a substitute to hand Germany their fourth world champions title. Since then, the super sub has drifted from the national team picture. He fell from the pecking order at Bayern Munich and failed to rekindle his true form on his return to Dortmund due to his injuries and his long battle with metabolism illness. A transfer to PSV Eindhoven brought a new chance to rejuvenate Gotze’s career. The 30-year-old did a decent job and produced his best goal return since the 2013/14 season with the Eredivisie club leading to a sensational move back to Germany this summer with Eintracht Frankfurt coming for him. In familiar surroundings under the guidance of Europa League-winning manager Oliver Glasner, Gotze could thrive with a talented group of players so he can have a last shot to get himself in Hansi Flick’s squad to Qatar. No doubt, the intent of this transfer is the tournament starting in November. All Mario needs is a good contribution of goals in the early phase of the season so he can be part of the attacking group of Havertz, Werner, Adeyemi etc. It will be a huge deal for him if he meets his expectations again. Time will tell if Gotze can make it a reality.

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