Well look at us, officially in a Euros year now. It’s getting close!
A lot can change in a few months and with the spring friendlies coming up, Gareth Southgate’s got a lot to mull over.
Here’s the form 23 England stars for next summer’s squad if picked today, ranked by how secure their seat on the plane to…errrm…England/other parts of Europe is.
Follow this series in the buildup to the official squad selection next year…
23. Dean Henderson (New Entry)
Oh Tom Heaton. You clung onto that third keeper spot like Di Caprio with that floating door in Titanic but, in the end, the cold/knee ligament damage has done you in. Farewell, sweet prince.
Welcome to the gang Dean Henderson. Try not to get injured, son.
22. Brandon Williams (New Entry)
The more I watch Brandon Williams, the more I like what I see. Another exciting young English talent.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) January 15, 2020
A new year, another new entry. Danny Rose has had an iffy time of it of late (by which I mean the last three years) so in comes the Gary Lineker-impressing, Luke Shaw-ousting Man Utd youngster extraordinaire Brandon Williams…
21. Danny Ings (New Entry)
Since the last WOTP rankings, Daniel William John Ings has scored five goals in as many matches as Southampton career unexpectedly up the table.
He is doing a reverse Mr T and getting on that plane.
20. Mason Mount (-)
The 21-year-old wasn’t at his best in December but has shown glimpses of his quality of late and shone in the comfy win over Burnley.
While hugely talented and well liked by Southgate, there are a lot of players in his position for England. As demonstrated by the next two names on the list…
19. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Down 2)
Isn’t playing that much for Liverpool but you know what you get with AOC. Boundless enthusiasm and the odd screamer. He’s also in the best team in the world officially, which helps his case.
18. Jack Grealish (New Entry)
Super Jack W̶i̶l̶s̶h̶e̶r̶e̶ Grealish is demonstrably not playing for the best team in the world but he is playing very well.
The Villa captain is tipped for a chance to shine in the spring friendlies. Can he raise his weird-haired head above yer Dele Allis in the fight for Southgate’s favour? Stay tuned.
17. Nick Pope (Up 1)
For more on Nick Pope, see the Netflix biopic The Two Popes about the Burnley keeper and his identical twin brother.
16. Harry Winks (Down 2)
Not really a Jose Mourinho player, is he? However, Winks is likely to get in the squad in spite of whatever happens at club level between now and June. There’s just not that many deep-lying English midfield players around…
15. John Stones (Down 2)
Stones played 90 minutes in a Premier League game for the first time since November in the 6-1 mauling of Aston Villa. He won’t be dropped from the squad barring some sort of late catastrophe but it’d be nice to see him pick up some steam ahead of the summer.
14. Kieran Trippier (Up 1)
Got to a Super Cup final and bagged an assist in La Liga since we last checked in. Things are ticking over nicely for the ex-Spurs full back.
13. Tammy Abraham (Down 3)
Still scoring goals, still on the plane.
In lieu of interesting things to say, he has a brother named Timmy Abraham.
12. Declan Rice (Up 4)
Back in form, after a tough time at the end of the Manuel Pellegrini era, Rice should be on the plane like white on…himself.
11. James Maddison (Up 1)
Leicester’s title bid has tailed off of late but Maddison is still one of the Premier League’s most exciting young attacking midfielders.
He has a swagger on the pitch that the average England fans just swoons for.
10. Joe Gomez (Up 9)
Flying up the rankings into the WOTP top ten (or, the speedy boarding section) is Joseph Dave Gomez.
With Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren laid low, the somehow-still-only-22-year-old has shone alongside Virgil van Dijk and has kept six clean sheets since the last rankings.
9. Ben Chilwell (Down 2)
Not a great month for Chilwell, who was terrorised by Liverpool and Southampton down his flank as Leicester faltered. That’s right, get it all out of your system before June, Ben.
8. Harry Maguire (-)
The immovable slab.
7. Jordan Pickford (Down 1)
Yep, Jordan ‘Get the Rave On’ Pickford is still England’s number one goalkeeper. Nothing to see here.
6. Harry Kane (Down 5)
Harry Kane is injured. To quote Brasseye, it’s the one thing we didn’t want to happen.
Jose Mourinho said Kane might not even be back until next season. I’m getting flashbacks to Wayne Rooney’s metatarsal-healing oxygen tents in 2006 all over again…
5. Jadon Sancho (Down 2)
The Bundesliga lot have just enjoyed a nice relaxing winter break, which means Sancho – second in Germany’s assist rankings – is safe and sound.
4. Marcus Rashford (-)
Rashford has also taken a knock (ffs) but it shouldn’t be serious, despite him being seen carrying an ultrasound bone healing device.
The 22-year-old is in rare form having scored three in this new decade so far.
3. Jordan Henderson (Up 6)
England’s newly crowned player of the year! Arise, Sir Jordan. Likely captain in the event that Kane actually doesn’t make it. He’s got the trophy lift down.
2. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Up 3)
The relentlessly good TAA is still very good indeed. Got a brace of assists and a goal in a potentially season-defining win over Leicester after Christmas and was MOTM in the win over Wolves.
There might not be a better crosser of the ball in world football right now.
1. Raheem Sterling (Up 1)
With Kane injured, it’s might all be on you Sterling. Please, please just be nice to him tabloids…
Aaron Ramsdale might be the only fit English keeper left come the end of the season. Tyrone Mings, Fikayo Tomori and Chris Smalling continue to be the most likely candidates to oust one of the current four centre backs, unless Aaron Wan-Bissaka is chosen to play in a back three. Reece James’ versatility could see him involved in the upcoming friendlies too…
Callum Hudson-Odoi and Dele Alli are always going to be in the conversation but crikey do they need to stand out in England’s most competitive area for places.
Up top, the Mason Greenwood hype train is picking up steam. There is also the Dominic Calvert-Lewin hype replacement bus service.