...what happened to the fourth Champions League place the last time an English team won the thing. Plus, who would want to pay £60 to watch the current England team?
A Sunderland fan in the mailbox is surprised by Jack Colback's call up to the England squad. Plus, thoughts on Welbeck and Liverpool's Champions League draw...
Goalkeeper: David Stockdale (Fulham)
One of only three English goalkeepers currently starting in the Premier League (until Maarten Stekelenburg's shoulder works again, anyway), Stockdale is the only one of the trio not to have an England cap. As the Cottagers are allowing a league-high average of 20 shots per game, at least some credit must go to the Leeds lad for conceding only nine goals in total. He was certainly excellent against Newcastle in a 1-0 defeat that could have been much, much worse. For much of 2011, Stockdale was in Fabio Capello's plans but he is yet to be picked by Roy Hodgson. He probably shouldn't hold his breath.
Right-Back: Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton)
The Saints are yet to concede a goal in 315 minutes of Premier League football this season when Clyne has been at right-back, so the lad must be doing something right. He certainly did something right at Liverpool last week when he made 13 tackles, the majority of which were on his old Crystal Palace teammate Victor Moses. "He (Hodgson) didn't just ask about (Rickie) Lambert he asked about other players so it shows that they are in contention," said Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino at the start of the season. People jumped to Luke Shaw-shaped conclusions but right-back is not a position in which England are exactly blessed. At 22, Clyne already has more defensive nous than Kyle Walker.
Centre-Back: Curtis Davies (Hull City)
"I'd love to play for my country but, being in a Hull City shirt, I think that would be very difficult," admitted Davies last month. "My only chance would be if the manager comes here to watch Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore and I might surprise him. Jake and Tom have played for Roy Hodgson but I don't think he'd come just to watch me." Hodgson would certainly be pleasantly surprised if he rocked up at the KC Stadium because Davies has been imperious this season - hitting the form of his career at the age of 28, almost six years since Fabio Capello called him into his very first England squad. It might not be pretty but he gets his head on everything even vaguely in his vicinity.
Centre-Back: Ben Turner (Cardiff City)
"If the day came when the England call came I would be absolutely flabbergasted, but would take it with two hands," said Turner, who would join the rest of us in being utterly flabbergasted if Hodgson watched Cardiff and chose Turner over his defensive partner Steven Caulker. But Turner has been the definition of solid in Cardiff's impressive start to the season - making more clearances than any other English player in the Premier League - and if there were injuries to about 17 other centre-halves then Turner, who has already turned down a Wales call-up, could not be any worse than Ryan Shawcross on his England debut.
Left-Back: Danny Rose (Tottenham)
Andre Villas-Boas rates Rose highly enough after a career-changing loan at Sunderland allowed Benoit Assou-Ekotto to join QPR, and he has started four Premier League games in which Tottenham have only conceded once this season. Tottenham fans remain largely remain unconvinced by Rose's defending (it's certainly a step down from the suggested target of Fabio Coentrao) but when the alternative is an out-of-position Kyle Naughton, they are willing to be patient. Thankfully for England fans, Ashley Cole, Leighton Baines and Kieran Gibbs stand in his way. And Luke Shaw waits in the wings.
Right Wing: Andros Townsend (Tottenham)
He likes a shot, doesn't he? He's had 22 of the buggers in five Premier League games. He also likes a dribble. Whether he's a long-term option for Tottenham's first team remains to be seen but he is proving a decent deputy until Erik Lamela and Nacer Chadli get up to speed. Townsend has already caught the eye of Hodgson and reports this week suggest he will replace Theo Walcott on the right for England against Montenegro and Poland. Hmmmm. We suspect our rather conservative England manager is more likely to play James Milner (so solid his foot makes a special kind of thud when he crosses the ball) and have Townsend on the bench as an explosive option.
Central Midfield: Fabian Delph (Aston Villa)
"I'll let England worry about England, my job is to worry about Fabian and Aston Villa," said Paul Lambert in typically gruff fashion when asked about the prospect of his young England midfielder catching the eye of Hodgson. But as Delph is one of only a handful of combative English central midfielders playing regularly in the Premier League, he should eventually get a call. After all, Jake Livermore has an England cap. Delph is not the most creative of midfielders but he does do the ugly things well alongside Karim El Ahmadi and the rather more stylish Ashley Westwood (when fit). Remarkably, he's still only 23.
Central Midfield: Mark Noble (West Ham)
There's been some fanciful talk of Ravel Morrison receiving a call-up on the back of a handful of vaguely decent performances in a struggling West Ham side but that would be something of a kick in the teeth for Noble and indeed Kevin Nolan. Karren Brady sent Hodgson five DVDs of the uncapped midfield pair last season when the Hammers were doing rather better, and the England manager presumably used them as coasters because neither received a call. There's very little that's spectacular about Noble but we suspect that he would turn up for England duty wearing a very well-pressed polo shirt.
Central Midfield: Peter Whittingham (Cardiff City)
Okay, we're getting a tad desperate now. Whittingham at least offers versatility in that he can play in central midfield or wide on the left. And he is an extraordinarily nice guy. He has also adapted well to the Premier League with a goal and two assists in his first six games. This has got us wondering just how many Englishmen would have to be injured before Whittingham got the call. Mind you, according to the ratings of our friends at WhoScored, he has had a better start to the season than Tom Huddlestone and you will find plenty touting his recall.
Left Wing: Nathan Redmond (Norwich City)
Being the best player on the pitch when Hodgson managed the England Under-21s to a 6-0 rout over Scotland cannot have harmed Redmond's chances of a senior call-up. Hodgson said after the game that "they really did take their chances with both hands, and a lot of those players would certainly not be out of place in the senior team" and we suspect he wasn't talking about Connor Wickham. Redmond had a blistering start to his Norwich career with his pace, ability to cut inside and shoot from distance causing teams (especially Southampton) all sorts of problems. An outside chance of a World Cup place? Absolutely.
Striker: Saido Berahino (West Brom)
Five goals in six games for the Baggies this season (including the small matter of a winner against Manchester United) and two goals in two appearances for the England U-21s. It's going quite well for the lad. He's also in the rather enviable position of already having a fan in Hodgson, who sent him off to Northampton for his first loan spell at the tender age of 18 (he scored six in 14) when he was Baggies boss. Rickie Lambert might be the Mr Right Now for England but this Burundi-born striker could be England's Mr Right for the rather longer term. He genuinely looks like a contender.