World Cup 2022: The North East stars who are set to light up the world stage in Qatar

Credit: PA Images

The 2022 Fifa World Cup is underway in Qatar.

An unprecedented winter festival of football is upon us, imposing the longest international break that English football will remember.

It has not been without controversy, with concerns over the host nation's record on LGBTQ+ rights and those of the migrant workers who have helped build the stadiums.

On the pitch, Gareth Southgate's side is hopeful of going all the way to the final in Doha - with a whole clutch of his England squad plucked from clubs in our region.

Other nations from across the tournament will also be represented by some familiar faces who play their club football here in the north east.


After much speculation, Newcastle number 9 Callum Wilson has got his World Cup chance. He looks set to pick up first international cap since 2019 at this year's tournament, following a string of injuries. He provides Gareth Southgate with another solid option up front, even if Harry Kane is likely to be first pick.

Nick Pope, who has the joint most Premier League clean sheets since signing for Newcastle in the summer, will be among three goalkeepers vying for a spot in England's starting eleven for their first match against Iran.

Who could forget that free kick against Croatia in the 2018 World Cup semi-final? A long-serving England international, Keiran Trippier makes up the final third of Newcastle's 'Three Lions' heading to the tournament. He gives England a great option from set pieces and his ability to play at either side of a back four means he is also a versatile option in the event of injury within the squad.

Newcastle's midfield playmaker Bruno Guimarães was handed a call-up by Brazil coach Tite having impressed in the Premier League since arriving in January. Despite his miraculous career turnaround after a difficult start to life on Tyneside, Joelinton will have to wait for his first senior cap.

He is in a group which could see him square up against Swiss defender Fabian Schär, who has become a mainstay in the Magpies' back line this season.

Newly-signed Australian wonderkid Garang Kuol, who recently joined from A-League outfit Central Coast Mariners, will be looking to impress as he heads to his first major international tournament.


Jewison Bennette will represent Costa Rica, while Wearsiders Jordan Henderson and Jordan Pickford are in the England Squad Credit: PA Images

Promising Costa Rican youngster and fan favourite Jewison Bennette will be heading to Qatar hoping to cause an upset against the likes of Spain and Germany, in what is perhaps the tournament's trickiest group.

His teammate Bailey Wright, who made his loan switch to the Stadium of Light permanent in 2020, will also be in the mix for Australia.

Wearside itself will be well-represented at the tournament.  Former Sunderland captain Jordan Henderson, who signed for the Black Cats as a boy, will provide experience in Gareth Southgate's 26-man squad as one of the oldest squad members on the plane.

He'll be joined by keeper Jordan Pickford, who has become Southgate's go-to man between the sticks. His penalty heroics in previous tournaments make him a shoo-in to start.


Boro midfielder Riley McGree is part of the Australia squad looking to cause an upset in Group D. Credit: PA Images

Boro's Aussie midfielder Riley McGree will be heading to Qatar, having been called up to join the Socceroos - whose group includes holders France as well as tricky games against Tunisia and Denmark.There was disappointment for goalkeeper Zack Steffen, who missed out on a spot in the USA squad. He joined the club on a season-long loan in the summer in a bid to boost his chances of a call-up.

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