Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov has announced his preliminary squad list for the World Cup with the main talking point being a call-up for Villarreal midfielder Denis Cheryshev, who has played just seven minutes for the national side since 2015 but whose form at club level has seen him earn a place in the initial list of 28 players.
The other names that stand out are Artem Dzyuba and Fedor Chalov.
Dzyuba, who plays for Arsenal Tula, could be Cherchesov’s starting number nine in Russia in the absence of star player Alexander Kokorin, who will miss the tournament on home soil with an ACL tear.
Chalov, the CSKA youngster, has yet to receive a senior cap at but has scored goals at every youth level for his country and has enjoyed a profitable season with his club.
Fyodor Smolov has been standing in for Kokorin in the striker’s role and also makes the list. The Krasnodar forward is Russia’s most creative player and can operate on the wings as well as a centre forward.