Being called up by your country for a World Cup is arguably the ultimate honour for a professional footballer as it is the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice.

With only 26 places on the plane up for grabs and a wealth of talent in every area of the pitch, getting called up by Gareth Southgate for the 2022 World Cup England squad is an incredible achievement.

The tournament kicks off very soon in Qatar with just one set of Premier League fixtures left to play before the break. We at 90min are taking a look at some of the best player reactions to getting the call-up.

Anyone getting their first-ever World Cup call-up is going to be even more excited than others. That is the case for Manchester City’s Phil Foden who absolutely deserves his place in the squad and is a serious candidate to start the first group game against Iran.

Foden shared a picture on Twitter of himself in an England shirt and captioned it: “It’s always an honour to be called up to the England squad but this is something else, my first World Cup, wow! Buzzin’! Can’t wait.”

This was one of the most heartfelt reactions to being called up. There was a very real chance that James Maddison would not be called up to the squad and he was a major talking point in the hours running up to the announcement.

It is his first World Cup and he shared a picture of himself as a child wearing an England shirt with face paint on. The caption read: “It hasn’t sunk in… I’m going to The World Cup. Dreams really do come true.”

Kalvin Phillips has not managed to make too much of a splash at Manchester City since his move from Leeds United due to injury but Gareth Southgate has shown faith in him by adding the midfielder to the squad.

He is another heading to his first World Cup, and he said on Twitter: “Buzzing is an understatement! I’ve dreamt of the call to represent my country at the World Cup since I can remember. I can’t thank the England manager and staff enough for their faith in me, and I’ll do everything I can to repay that in Qatar. Bring on the World Cup!”

England captain Harry Kane gave a typically uplifting message once it was confirmed he will be in the squad. He will be at the centre of anything good that England do in Qatar and his rallying cry on Twitter showed that.

He accompanied a video with the message: “So proud to be captaining my country at a World Cup for the second time. I know this group of lads will give absolutely everything to go all the way. Let’s go!”

Newcastle United striker Callum Wilson probably didn’t expect to be heading to the World Cup until only a few weeks ago. His wonderful form under Eddie Howe means he has forced Southgate’s hand. His message shows the long road that the 30-year-old has taken to get to the ultimate stage.

His message on Instagram said: “Absolute honour to be called up to represent my country for a World Cup. Something I’ve dreamed about since I was a little boy and will cherish every moment of!

“In 2017 whilst recovering from my second ACL injury in Qatar, having never represented my country at this point, I said to myself before I left..’I will be back to play in the 2022 World Cup’.

“Dedication and hard work shows how you can achieve anything!! Can’t wait to meet up with the lads and work even harder together now to achieve greatness ???”

It is no secret that it can be harder to impress an England coach when you play in another country, and that is what has possibly put paid to other players’ attempts to make the squad.

Young Jude Bellingham has done enough while at Borussia Dortmund and when called upon by Southgate to earn his first-ever World Cup call-up.

He said on Instagram: “One of my biggest dreams growing up was to play at a world cup, I’m so grateful to have been given the chance to do so. Will give everything to try and make it a tournament that the country can be proud of. Let’s go.???????❤️”


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