Football365's England World Cup Ladder

Despite what The Sun would have you believe, England's World Cup qualifying campaign is not in tatters. Which players are in line for Rio? We take a stab...

Last Updated: 12/09/12 at 13:54 Post Comment

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The numbers in brackets refer to their position in the last England ladder - After Euro 2012 exits

1 (1) - Joe Hart
We're far from happy that Joe Hart is still atop this list after a nervous Euro 2012, a generous start to the Premier League season and 90 flappy minutes against Ukraine. But he's so far and away England's first-choice goalkeeper that he can barely see John Ruddy in the distance if he cranes his neck and squints his eyes. Stay safe, Joe. Wear a scarf. Wear a seatbelt.

2 (2) - Jack Wilshere
We really do hope that this is not the Owen Hargreaves farrago all over again, where we stubbornly keep him high on the ladder in vain hope that he might one day a) play again and b) be just as good as ever. Yes, it's unrealistic pressure. Yes, it's unfair. Yes, we're desperate.

3 (4) - Steven Gerrard
Ahead of the Ukraine game, I challenged readers to come up with fit, viable alternatives to replace Gerrard and Lampard in the middle of the England midfield. There were half-hearted cases made for Jonjo Shelvey and, bizarrely, Jack Colback, but there was generally a reluctant acceptance that until Jack Wilshere gets fit and Jack Rodwell/Tom Cleverley gain more experience, the old dogs will be performing their old tricks at a stadium near you. Gerrard - captain and England's best player at Euro 2012 and then v Ukraine prior to the silly sending-off - has a far, far brighter future than Lampard and you should get used to the idea of seeing him in Brazil. It will always irk some.

4 (3) - Ashley Cole
There's little to suggest that in two years' time - when he will be 33 - he will be significantly worse, or significantly less likely to be England's only realistic option at left-back. Leighton Baines is an able deputy, but Cole is the sheriff (without the gun. Don't sodding give him a gun).

5 (5) - Glen Johnson
Four years of being England's first-choice right-back and people still treat him like he's some kind of temporary interloper. Four years of rarely letting down England and people still shake their heads and mutter the names of 'Micah Richards' and 'Kyle Walker' as if the incumbent England manager is a raving madman who cannot see that Johnson is a disgrace to the shirt. Nonsense. We know his strengths, we know his weaknesses and - as long as he's aided by a defensive winger in the James Milner mould - he's still England's best right-back.

6 (9) - John Terry
Whisper it but we missed him v Ukraine.

7 (13) - James Milner
This is what we wrote in June: 'Perhaps we're being over-optimistic in thinking that Milner's application made him a sensible option in Ukraine but that in the long term, he might be an enthusiastic squad member rather than a shoo-in for the starting XI. Glass half-full and all that.' It's fair to say we were being over-optimistic. The grafter is here to stay.

8 (8) - Wayne Rooney
We know he's rubbish for England. You know he's rubbish for England. We know he'll be in Brazil. You know he'll be in Brazil.

9 (7) - Joleon Lescott
He lost his man for Moldova's best chance on Friday and then looked decidedly shaky against Ukraine on Tuesday (though about a third as shaky as Phil Jagielka) but he's started every competitive game under Roy Hodgson and right now the Lescott-Terry combination looks the most likely to take us - relatively slowly - to Brazil.

10 (11) - Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Impressive enough against Moldova (yes, we know) to justify Hodgson's faith. Quiet enough against Ukraine to suggest he's not the complete package. Young enough to be given time.

11 (6) - Danny Welbeck
No goals in 161 minutes of Premier League football v Jermain Defoe's one goal in 247 minutes saw Welbz (hate it, hate it, hate it) drop to the bench for England but a terrifying dearth of English striker options (look at the England Under-21 squad list - it will seriously make you cry) means that Welbeck's squad place is safe.

12 (38) - Tom Cleverley
More Jamie O'Hara than Cesc Fabregas, according to one Mailboxer on Wednesday morning. And he has a point. Cleverley has neither the speed nor the finishing prowess to play as a No. 10 but three PL starts in central midfield for Manchester United suggests that's where his future lies for club and country.

13 (10) - Ashley Young
What a difference two years make. England's most creative influence in qualifying for Euro 2012 was pretty rotten when he got there. We'll find out next month whether injury saved him the ignominy of being dropped from the first World Cup qualifying squad.

14 (14) - Gareth Barry
People who love a new broom (however threadbare) will despair at his inclusion but if you are starting the majority of games for the Premier League champions, you will be in and around the England squad. Accept and embrace this fact and life becomes a whole lot less stressful.

15 (15) - Theo Walcott
'Roy Hodgson's go-to player for impact at Ukraine will surely start more games when World Cup qualifying starts in the autumn,' we wrote in June. We were wrong. He's still just Roy Hodgson's go-to player for impact.

16 (16) - Andy Carroll
Now we know he'll get some club football (hooooooooof), we can pretty much guarantee he'll get some international football as the designated 'Plan B'.

17 (28) - Jack Butland
Owes massive thankyous to Ben Foster and Robert Green for being arsey and awful respectively.

18 (30) - Jack Rodwell
Fast-forward a year and Rodwell - on the proviso that he plays 30 games a season for Manchester City, and early indications suggest that's the case - will be an England squad regular. And Henry Winter will ruin his pants.

19 (17) - Gary Cahill
Must have been disappointed to see Phil Jagielka picked in his stead against Ukraine. Must have been just a little bit pleased to see Phil Jagielka making a pig's ear of things.

20 (27) - Jermain Defoe
Two goals in three games for England already this season but we've been here before with Defoe, who started 2010/11 in similarly blistering fashion. Much will depend on how much football he gets for Tottenham but he's definitely back - however precariously - in the fold.

21 (20) - Phil Jones
Just the kind of 'jack of all trades' type that end up at major tournaments.

22 (19) - Leighton Baines
Doing just enough to hold off Ryan Bertrand in the 'deputising for Ashley Cole' race. Seriously though, they should race.

23 (NE) - John Ruddy
England's No. 3 No. 1 as it stands right now.

24 (RE) - Michael Carrick
We assume that he's not been persuaded to return with the promise of a position in a stand-by squad so it might seem odd to place him outside the 23, but can you remember a time when England didn't suffer injuries in central midfield?

25 (25) - Frank Lampard
Started both England's World Cup qualifiers but will he still be there at the finishing line at the age of 36? We can't help but think he's keeping those 20 yards either side of the half-way line warm for someone else.

26 (12) - Scott Parker
Younger than Lampard in age but much, much older in terms of just how knackered he looked after an hour of football at Euro 2012. There are whispers that his age will see him sidelined at Tottenham so he has precious little chance of keeping his England place. It kind of worked for a while there, Scott, so thanks.

27 (24) - Kyle Walker
The anointed one of the 'Johnson out' brigade but managers rarely take two specialist right-backs to a tournament. Hodgson is far more likely to eventually settle on the man at No. 21.

28 (26) - Phil Jagielka
Too slow to play with John Terry. Too hesitant to play without him.

29 (32) - Daniel Sturridge
Reduced to a bit-part role at Chelsea but we expect him to have exited Stamford Bridge by the time Brazil 2014 comes around.

30 (19) - Darren Bent
Scoring no goals in a pretty poor Villa side is not the recipe for England recall.

31 (18) - Robert Green
Usurped for club and country.

32 (31) - Adam Johnson
We asked if he was too Bertie to move to a smaller club. We're happy to be proved wrong but he's still way behind a list of rivals constantly being augmented by younger and younger models.

33 (21) - Stewart Downing
Did not play a minute at Euro 2012 and has suffered the indignity of being replaced for club and country by teenagers. Is his time finally over?

34 (NE) - Jake Livermore
Relatively uninspired but Hodgson seems to be eyeing him as cover.

35 (49) - Ryan Bertrand
From the Champions League final to the Olympics to an England call-up - 2012 has been good to Bertrand.

36 (NE) - Scott Sinclair
He's got a simple task: Play enough football for Man City to become a viable option for England.

37 (34) - Martin Kelly
The alternative to Phil Jones in the 'jack of all trades' position if he starts to get regular football for Liverpool.

38 (33) - Chris Smalling
Keeps getting injured at the wrong time. One of these days...

39 (NE) - Jonjo Shelvey
Now ahead of Jordan Henderson in a white shirt, a red shirt and that rotten tribal shirt.

40 (NE) - Steven Caulker
The best of the young centre-half bucks but he needs football at Tottenham or a move pretty sharpish.

41 (29) - Jordan Henderson

42 (35) - Kieran Gibbs

43 (NE) - Raheem Sterling

44 (36) - Micah Richards

45 (NE) - Adam Lallana

46 (NE) - Rickie Lambert

47 (39) - David Stockdale

48 (43) - Bobby Zamora

49 (42) - Steven Taylor

50 (50) - Phil Neville

Sarah Winterburn

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