England pair Walker and Phillips out until the World Cup, where they’ll be joined by Ryan Hall and Kyle Walker-Peters.
They’re unlikely starters, but could turn into England’s best-kept secret.
A few years ago, England’s top-flight game would’ve been dominated by one player. That player would’ve been one of the players that had been doing well at the World Cup, and that player would be a great favourite, the one that everyone would hope to see.
But these days, no one is surprised by a poor England team. It’s not just because there aren’t a lot of players, but because those players aren’t exactly the stars of the show anymore.
Even after a year of turmoil, with England losing some of their best players, and even the chance of a major overhaul this summer being dashed by the ECB’s new chief executive, the team is still struggling, and some of the squad have not been helped.
With the World Cup now set to be played in England this summer, it’s time for an England chat.
“I think we’ve got a group of players that have got a lot of quality but a little bit lacking in experience,” England’s manager Martin Johnson told the BBC’s World Cup programme.
“It’s that ‘little bit’ we’ve got to look at. To make sure we’re not coming into tournaments, we’ve got to be good at what we do, we’ve got to be fit and we’ve got to be better in the final analysis.
“I’m optimistic we can get that. That’s just going to be a good group of players. I think they’ve all got a lot to contribute to that team and hopefully we can get through to the next phase.”
He and his fellow international managers also believe it’s up to the players to make a difference.
“This is the start of something, we’ll make a start of something with the World Cup because that’s been the target and to get on