With Gareth Southgate due to name his England squad for games against Germany and Lithuania on Thursday (March 16), many fans and critics will have decided who they do and don’t want to see selected.
Here, we will look at the players who should be selected based on performances this season.
Using Squawka, we have picked a starting XI to fit the same system as England’s last two matches. We have also completed the 23-man squad by adding two goalkeepers, one right-back, one left-back, two central defenders, three midfielders and three attacking players/strikers.
England Starting XI In Previous Two Matches
Before we show you the best players based on their performance rating, let’s take a look at the starting lineups in the last two games.
Firstly, on November 11, 2016, England took on Scotland in a World Cup qualifier.
The starting XI was:
- Joe Hart
- Kyle Walker
- Danny Rose
- Gary Cahill
- John Stones
- Eric Dier
- Jordan Henderson
- Raheem Sterling
- Daniel Sturridge
- Wayne Rooney
- Adam Lallana
England won the match 3-0, although some critics still found fault with the performance. The biggest cause of concern was the defence, with Scotland missing several big chances that would have changed the outcome of the match.
For an international friendly against Spain four days later, Southgate made three changes to the team. He brought in Nathaniel Clyne for Kyle Walker, Jamie Vardy for Daniel Sturridge and Jesse Lingard for Wayne Rooney.
Adam Lallana played in the attacking midfielder/number 10 role Rooney had earlier occupied and Lingard played out on the wing.
It was an excellent performance by England until they threw away victory by conceding goals in the 89th and 96th minutes to draw 2-2.
England Squad For The Germany And Lithuania matches
For the previous games, Southgate was only in a caretaker role. Now that he’s the full-time boss, it could be time for change in the England squad.
If he picks players based on their statistics this season, the starting XI should be, with performance ratings in brackets:
GK – Lee Grant (541)
The Stoke City goalkeeper has been tremendous this term, in his first ever Premier League season. May not have the big game international experience of players like Joe Hart but has proved he can make the step up to the top level.
RB – Steve Cook (616)
Although the Bournemouth defender usually plays in the centre, he can also play at right-back. Has the second highest performance rating of any English defender .
LB – Ben Gibson (591)
The Middlesbrough defender is another whose versatility is an advantage to the team and means he can fit into the team at left-back.
CD – Gary Cahill (707)
Without doubt the best English defender in the Premier League this season. Has been a regular in the national team for several years and fully deserves his place.
CD – Michael Keane (471)
The Burnley defender and product of the Manchester United youth set-up has been banging on the door for a first cap. His form this season suggests it’s about time he received it.
M – Jack Wilshere (413)
Has been a game-changer at times for Bournemouth this season. Despite his injury record, he is a quality player and has done a good job in the holding role for his country in the past.
M – Ross Barkley (464)
A player selected a little out of position. Usually plays as an attacking midfielder but would drop back into a slightly deeper role in this team.
W – Adam Lallana (532)
Plays anywhere and can have an impact on the team from the right wing. Has the highest performance rating of any English midfielder this season and should be one of the first names on the team sheet.
W – Nathan Redmond (451)
The Southampton winger has shown flashes of brilliance during a recent run of great form. Has been tipped for a senior England cap for several years and deserves it now that he’s reaching his potential.
AM – Dele Alli (458)
Alli playing in the attacking midfielder/number 10 role is the reason for Barkley being selected a bit deeper. Has been outstanding this season and is one of England’s genuine world-class players.
S – Harry Kane (710)
Is there anyone else who would be picked as striker in this team? Kane has scored 24 goals in all competitions this term and is head and shoulders above every other England striker based on performance rating.
An injury could rule him out but until he is made unavailable, he’s the best choice to lead the line for England.
The rest of the squad, with performance rating in brackets, should be:
- Jordan Pickford (319)
- Tom Heaton (142)
- Kyle Walker (437)
- Charlie Daniels (410)
- John Stones (466)
- Phil Jones (442)
- Eric Dier (380)
- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (382)
- Jake Livermore (336)
- Raheem Sterling (327)
- Jermain Defoe (559)
- Theo Walcott (314)
Defoe would be in the starting XI with Andy Carroll (271) taking his place on the bench if Kane is ruled out due to his recent injury.
Obviously, this squad has several big-name omissions. Missing from the last squad are Joe Hart, Rooney, Clyne, Lingard, Vardy, Sturridge, Phil Jagielka, Andros Townsend, Marcus Rashford, Ryan Bertrand, and Aaron Cresswell. Rose and Henderson are also missing due to injury.
Southgate will therefore have to decide which type of manager he is going to be. If he is going to be one who rewards form and punishes poor performances, he will not be afraid of making big decisions and dropping players.
Although if he selects players like Rooney and Vardy, it will seem like he is selecting individuals based on reputation just like managers before him did.
Chances are, most of the players omitted from the squad based on performance ratings will still be in Southgate’s squad. However, it will be interesting to see, if any and, indeed, how many, of the form players receive a deserved call-up.
Peter Reynolds, Pundit Arena