WhoScored's Statistical England Squad...

There's a reason you don't pick an England squad purely on statistical data - you end up with Mark Noble rather than Ross Barkley. WhoScored crunch the numbers...

Last Updated: 09/05/14 at 10:40 Post Comment

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Everyone has their own opinion about the players that should be going to the World Cup with England this summer and Monday signals the announcement of Roy Hodgson's preliminary 23-man squad, plus seven standbys.

When that time comes around there is little hope for the England manager coming out free from criticism for his selections. Every fan out there will have changes to make and players they believe should be brought in.

We have produced our last World Cup ladder with our best guess at the 23 Hodgson will take to Brazil.

Weighing in with another side to the argument are WhoScored.com, whose statistically calculated rating system can be used to pick an alternative squad that bases selections on form this season only. Reputations are left at home.

Goalkeepers

On the plane: Joe Hart (6.71), David Stockdale (6.68), John Ruddy (6.65)

People often bemoan a lack of competition for Joe Hart in goal, the City keeper having been accused by some this season of becoming complacent in his position for both club and country. The criticism isn't perhaps without foundation. Hart, with an average rating of 6.71 this season does not truly stand up against the best-performing goalkeepers in Europe, and his competitors for the England no. 1 jersey are not far behind.

Ben Foster, widely regarded as Hart's chief back-up, has endured erratic form over the season and that sees him come out as the fourth highest-rated English goalkeeper, behind John Ruddy (6.65) and Fulham's David Stockdale (6.68).

Stockdale has been largely overlooked at international level but deserves credit for holding down a Fulham starting spot of late. His performance in the 1-0 win over Norwich, in which he made a couple of outstanding saves to keep the Canaries at bay, showed just what he can do. Averaging more crosses claimed per game (1.9) than any other English goalkeeper, he could add a calming influence to the squad.

Defenders

On the plane: Curtis Davies (7.43), Gary Cahill (7.29), Joel Ward (7.29), Leighton Baines (7.28), Phil Jagielka (7.26), Phil Jones (7.26), Glen Johnson (7.15)

With Rio Ferdinand in the twilight years of his career, John Terry still not reconciled with the FA and the likes of Sol Campbell long since having retired, England's defence is looking lightweight in terms of quality ahead of this summer's tournament. Gary Cahill (7.29) has had a wonderful season at Chelsea but one can't help but think the help he gets from playing alongside Terry may be vital.

For Chelsea, Cahill is the more last-ditch player, having blocked more shots this season (21) than any other teammate, while Terry is the ball-player, having maintained an impeccable 90.2% pass accuracy. Cahill may, however, be capable of playing that role for England, with an 88.3% pass success rate, and Jagielka, who ranks fifth in the Premier League for last-man tackles (3), could do more of the 'dirty work'.

Those two are likely to start for England, but as for alternatives, there are players from so-called lesser teams who arguably miss out on chances for their country due to the status of the teams they play for. By WhoScored rating, Chris Smalling would miss out (though Phil Jones makes it in), and Curtis Davies, the highest-rated English defender this season (7.43) would be on the plane to Brazil. The Hull captain has had a fantastic season and may yet lead his team to FA Cup glory. He has made an incredible 321 clearances, whilst also making a combined 4.9 tackles and interceptions per game. James Tomkins would make a 30-man squad but not the final 23-man cut, having played a huge part in West Ham's 14 clean sheets.

When it comes to full-backs, Glen Johnson (7.15) and Baines (7.28) are joined by the highly impressive Joel Ward (7.29) who has shown incredible versatility that could be extremely useful in a limited squad at the World Cup. Able to provide cover on both flanks and with Jones also a solid right-back, Hodgson could save space in his squad, with Luke Shaw just missing out (7.14).

Midfielders

On the plane: Steven Gerrard (7.72), Gareth Barry (7.31), Raheem Sterling (7.38) Jordan Henderson (7.20), Adam Lallana (7.23), Tom Huddlestone (7.18), Mark Noble (7.15), Jason Puncheon (7.03)

Steven Gerrard's incredible season means he leads the way with a WhoScored rating of 7.72, possibly with even greater desire to win the World Cup after having slipped up with Liverpool in the title race. His likely partner in Jordan Henderson also makes it into the squad (7.20), but Jack Wilshere (who may not even be fit in time), Frank Lampard, Tom Cleverley and Michael Carrick all miss out. Gareth Barry (7.38) has been exceptional for Everton this season and is most certainly deserving of a call-up. Boasting statistical strengths of passing, aerial duels, concentration and blocking the ball, Barry provides a no-frills, solid option in central midfield.

Tom Huddlestone (7.18) and Mark Noble's (7.15) respective seasons arguably deserve reward, though with Barry already included, there is an argument to say those two wouldn't provide much else to the squad. On form alone, however, they deserve a look-in, at the very least.

Out wide, we need no reminder of Raheem Sterling's form, and he, with an average rating of 7.38, could be England's main man this summer. He has consistently tormented opposition defences in recent months, and has shown a maturity that has seen him deployed in a 'number 10' role that is usually left for the more cultured, experienced players. He has three goals and two assists in his last four appearances, and is hitting form at just the right time for England.

Adam Lallana joins him in the squad, having scored nine goals - with only Jay Rodriguez, Eden Hazard and Gerrard of Premier League midfielders this season to have topped that tally. His work rate also weighs in his favour; he has won possession more times in the attacking third of the pitch (31) than any other player in England's top flight this season.

Jason Puncheon (7.03) has not even been mentioned in the same breath as England, but having directly contributed to five goals since the start of April, he has been vital in Crystal Palace's resurgence, and the end product he produces arguably stands him in better stead than Ross Barkley (6.97) who is yet to provide a single assist all season.

Strikers

On the plane: Wayne Rooney (7.61), Daniel Sturridge (7.49), Andy Carroll (7.30), Peter Crouch (7.25), Rickie Lambert (6.97)

Possibly the most widely debated area of the team, England's attacking personnel is still in the balance. Some believe Hodgson should stop trying to develop England into a team that plays attractive football and go back to basics, with Andy Carroll providing 'something different' to definite inclusions Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge.

In terms of effectiveness, few rival Carroll. When playing to his strengths - almost solely in the air - he is extremely difficult to deal with, having won more aerial duels per game (9.5) than any other player in Europe's top five leagues this season, so there is certainly an argument for his inclusion. Only just behind him in rating (7.25) and heading ability (7.8 aerial duels per game), but way ahead in terms of experience, is Peter Crouch. The Stoke forward has had a good season with the Potters and his goalscoring record for his country is barely rivaled. Realistically, only one - at most - can go, but it is a close call as to whom exactly that should be.

Rickie Lambert's 12 goals and 10 assists earns him a place in WhoScored's England squad, but an uninspiring conversion rate of 12.2% makes him one of England's less effective players in front of goal. Given recent form - Lambert has one goal in his last four - Connor Wockham's rating has risen to 6.85, but given that he has only maintained that over 14 games this season, it would be harsh to put him ahead of Danny Welbeck (6.82).

All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings.

Alternatively, looking at stats might reveal something an inherent snobbiness (mine as much as anyones) hides? eg I'm certain that if Welbeck was playing for, say, Newcastle rather than Man United, he'd be banned from airports this summer just to be on the safe side, never mind discussing whether he should be On The Plane
- Ezy_Rider

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think all those names linked to United exits make sense. Kagawa has never really looked like hitting the form he had at Dortmund and Fellaini is radioactive after last season (even though I think he's been unfairly singled out for criticism). Nani and Anderson have had more than their fair share of chances so they are done, and Hernandez deserves better than warming a bench.

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e'll be off to Spurs (or better) in January and I don't blame him. Looking forward to re-signing Grant Holt as his replacement though.

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n fairness, he does look absolutely shattered in that photo.....

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