The 26 players chosen to represent the Three Lions joined up as a group before the tournament on Monday, and were given their squad numbers by manager Gareth Southgate.
Prince William arrived to greet the players on Monday evening and offered some final words of encouragement before giving all the squad members a package which told them the number of players that have previously worn their shirt number, and contained an inspirational message from Southgate.
Harry Maguire posted on Twitter after receiving his package, alongside the caption: ‘Honoured to be presented with the famous no.6 shirt by Prince William.’
Maguire’s package highlighted that only 11 players have previously worn the No 6 on the biggest stage, including World Cup-winning captain Bobby Moore, Southgate, and Sol Campbell.
Southgate’s lengthy message urged Maguire to make history with England in the coming weeks.
‘Wear your shirt with pride and embrace the opportunity to make history,’ Southgate wrote.
Harry Maguire has posted a photo of himself receiving his package from Prince William on Monday evening
The package showed players who had previously worn the No 6 and included a message from Gareth Southgate
England captain Harry Kane also posted on Twitter of himself with Prince William, alongside the caption ‘Pride in the shirt’
SOUTHGATE’S FULL MESSAGE TO MAGUIRE
‘Qatar 2022 will be only the 16th time England have appeared at a World Cup.
‘As we represent over 55 million people, of all ages from every community, you will also remember everyone who helped you to reach this point.
‘Wear your shirt with pride and embrace the opportunity to make history.’
England captain Harry Kane also posted an image of his package being handed to him by Prince William, with the tweet: ‘Pride in the shirt’.
Prince William had told the players: ‘What you and Gareth have built here is something special, that’s clear to see.
‘Play for each other, support each other, enjoy it, and I’m sure you’ll go far.
‘I’m really here to point out the rest of the country is behind you, we’re all rooting for you. Enjoy it.’
Kane, who won the Golden Boot at the last World Cup in 2018, will follow in the footsteps of England greats such as Bobby Charlton, Alan Shearer and Wayne Rooney by wearing the No 9.
Jack Grealish will wear the famous No 7 shirt in Qatar, previously donned by David Beckham, and he was pictured laughing and joking with Prince William at St George’s Park.
Bukayo Saka is set to push for a starting berth after impressing at Arsenal this term, and he has been given the No 17 shirt.
Saka started three games at last year’s Euros, but missed the decisive penalty in England’s heartbreaking shootout defeat against Italy in the final.
Kyle Walker will arrive in Qatar having not featured for Manchester City since early October after undergoing groin surgery.
However, Southgate has shown faith in him after he starred in Russia four years ago, and was named in UEFA’s team of the tournament at last year’s Euros.
Jack Grealish was pictured sharing a joke with Prince William after receiving his personalised package
Bukayo Saka will wear the No 17 shirt as he prepares to play in his second major tournament at the age of 21
Walker has been given the No 2 jersey, worn by just 13 England players before him at the World Cup.
Fellow right-back Kieran Trippier has been in sparkling form for Newcastle this season, and looks likely to start at wing-back when the tournament gets underway.
Trippier wore the No 12 shirt in Russia in 2018, and scored in the semi-final defeat against Croatia.
He will wear the same number again in Qatar, and posted a photo of himself alongside Prince William on Instagram on Tuesday morning with the caption: ‘Great to see the Prince Of Wales yesterday. I hope we all manage to do you proud over the next 6 weeks.’
John Stones scored twice at the 2018 World Cup, and could play alongside Walker and Trippier in a back five.
He will take the No 5 shirt in Qatar, and has labelled it a ‘huge honour’ to be going to another major tournament.
Kyle Walker has been given the No 2 shirt after recovering from a groin injury to make Southgate’s squad
Kieran Trippier will wear the No 12 again, after starring in that shirt for England at the 2018 World Cup in Russia
Central defender John Stones will be looking to shine at another World Cup in the No 5 shirt for England
‘A huge honour to receive my number 5 shirt for the World Cup from Prince William,’ he wrote on Instagram.
England flew out to Qatar on Tuesday morning, departing on a Gay Pride plane to highlight concerns over gay rights in the country, where same-sex relationships remain a criminal offence and whose World Cup Ambassador last week said homosexuality is ‘damage in the mind’.
Speaking before they departed, England captain Harry Kane said: ‘I’m excited. The World Cup is a special occasion. Obviously we’re flying out today. So I’m really excited.
‘For most professional players, its the biggest tournament you can play in. I’ve been lucky enough to do one and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. And I can’t wait to get out this weather and get some sun!’
ENGLAND’S WORLD CUP SQUAD NUMBERS
1: JORDAN PICKFORD
2: KYLE WALKER
3: LUKE SHAW
4: DECLAN RICE
5: JOHN STONES
6: HARRY MAGUIRE
7: JACK GREALISH
8: JORDAN HENDERSON
9: HARRY KANE
10: RAHEEM STERLING
11: MARCUS RASHORD
12: KIERAN TRIPPIER
13: NICK POPE
14: KALVIN PHILLIPS
15: ERIC DIER
16: CONOR COADY
17: BUKAYO SAKA
18: TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD
19: MASON MOUNT
20: PHIL FODEN
21: BEN WHITE
22: JUDE BELLINGHAM
23: AARON RAMSDALE
24: CALLUM WILSON
25: JAMES MADDISON
26: CONOR GALLAGHER