World Cup Russia 2018

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The Independent thought England would win the 2022 World Cup with this XI

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FA chairman Greg Dyke left English football baffled when he claimed England would win the 2022 World Cup, back in 2013.

In fact, the project was taken so seriously that a countdown clock to the tournament in Qatar was installed outside of St. George's Park near Burton. 

The two international competitions that proceeded the announcement proved complete embarrassments for the Three Lions, however.

England crashed out of the 2014 World Cup at the group stages without a single win before elimination from Euro 2016 came at the hands of minnows Iceland.

As a result, current chairman - Greg Clarke - wisely decided to ditch the 2022 World Cup project and tore down the 'daft' countdown clock.

That being, the Independent were keen to jump on the Dyke bandwagon when the idea was first announced four-years ago. They even took it upon themselves to predict the starting XI England would field if they did indeed go all the way in Qatar.

Now in 2017, it makes for amusing reading, check it out below:

GK | Jack Butland

To be fair to the Independent, you can't exactly have many arguments with this choice. Butland has risen through the ranks at Stoke City and - on current form - should really have usurped Joe Hart in the England rankings already.

FBL-EURO-2016-FRIENDLY-GER-ENG

LB | Luke Shaw

A pretty good shout back in 2013 but this looks rather awkward now. Shaw has practically been exiled from the Manchester United squad with Jose Mourinho questioning his fitness and attitude. He's nowhere near the England side at the moment

CB | Nathaniel Chalobah

One of the best centre-backs in the Premier League at the moment... wait. 

Props are due when you consider Chalobah has recently broken into the England outfit but something tells us he's unlikely to be filling in at centre-back. 

Watford v Liverpool - Premier League

CB | Phil Jones

Again, not a bad shout to be fair and Jones has started this season in inspired form after a recent string of injuries at Old Trafford. He already has 23 caps for the Three Lions and will likely still be in the frame come 2022.

RB | Chris Smalling

Another young signing from Sir Alex Ferguson and another solid suggestion in defence. Smalling has let his form slip more than Jones but still proves one of the finest defenders in the country, just not from right-back.

England v Portugal - International Friendly

LM | Wilfried Zaha

Wrong country, mate. 

It goes without saying that is a cruel one because - at the time - Zaha was still in the England frame and had even made his debut against Sweden in 2012. There's a chance the Crystal Palace man will be in Qatar but in an Ivory Coast jersey.

CM | Jack Wilshere

Now this is an interesting choice and one that made so much sense back in 2013. The Arsenal man is a shadow of the youngster that first burst on the scene but it will be interesting to see if he can force his way back in England's first XI.

FBL-EURO-2016-MATCH44-ENG-ISL

CM | Ross Barkley

Another young prodigy that has stagnated in recent years, Barkley is currently in a state of limbo at Everton. His England career looks dead in the water until he can secure his big move and make it pay.

RM | Jordan Ibe

The Independent have had an absolute nightmare here with Ibe still waiting for his first England cap and vegetating on the Bournemouth bench. No chance.

West Bromwich Albion v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League

ST | Daniel Sturridge

A half decent suggestion but less so when you consider Sturridge would be taking to the piping heat of Qatar at age 34 and with his injury record, too. Nevertheless, although his appearances in the Liverpool side remain inconsistent, he's one of the most natural finishers around.

ST | Chuba Akpom

Just imagine - fresh from his loans at Brentford and Brighton, Akpom usurps Alexandre Lacazette, bags the Golden Boot and leads the line for England. Yeh, we doubt it.

Brighton & Hove Albion v Wigan Athletic - Sky Bet Championship

Substitutes

Danny Welbeck, Theo Walcott, Tom Cleverly and Raheem Sterling.

Slightly awkward when you consider the substitutes are probably better than the first-team...

Manager | Gary Neville

Of all the mistakes in this 2022 prediction, selecting Neville as manager might just the lowest of the lows, however. The Manchester United legend has just one managerial role under his belt and it finished with a 35.7% win rate and the sack.

England Training Session

England don't exactly look likely to scoop the World Cup anytime soon but at least Gareth Southgate can select better than the predictive powers of the English media. 

Which players do you think will make the England side in 2022? Have your say in the comments section below.

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