As ever, a reminder: The order below is based not on our opinion, but our estimation of Roy Hodgson’s thoughts. Blame him, not us, if it makes you mad. The numbers in brackets are from the last ladder – in October.
1 (1) – Wayne Rooney
The total number of international goals in England’s squad before the Spain and France games was 60. Rooney had scored 50 of them. He’s going, he’s starting and he’s captain – and he was actually pretty good against France. If Rooney’s status in this England team makes you growl, ask Europe’s best defenders which England forward they least like facing. Most will say Rooney, whether or not that surprises/angers you.
2 (2) – Joe Hart
Comment on our player ratings from Tuesday: ‘I’m not sure he’s far and away England’s No. 1 any more. Butland looked very good and made a far harder save very well.’ That’s lovely, but we absolutely promise that you’re wrong. Hart starts, whatever the weather.
3 (4) – Raheem Sterling
For all the excitement over England’s latest young crop – and much of it is justified – nobody combines skill and pace quite like Sterling. Only four players in the latest England squad had more caps. He’s a junior senior at 20.
4 (5) – Harry Kane
No goal in his last four England starts, but doing plenty enough at club and international level to make the plane. That’s the case even if all other striking options are fit. Which hasn’t happened since 1957.
5 (3) – Chris Smalling
No doubt that Smalling is England’s first-choice central defender. After the last year, no doubt either that he deserves such an honour.
6 (6) – Gary Cahill
One of only two outfielders in the latest squad with more than 20 caps. It’s all very well wanting youth, but it must be blended with experience. Cahill has kept five clean sheets in his six England starts during 2015. That makes Hodgson’s nylon shorts bulge.
7 (7) – Jack Wilshere
‘Neither James Milner nor Jonjo Shelvey convinced anybody that Wilshere will not be back in that withdrawn midfield role once/if he is fit,’ we said last time. Eric Dier actually did, but Wilshere still muscles into the VIP section when his glass shin is repaired.
8 (11) – Nathaniel Clyne
Given licence to be England’s entire right flank with others tucking. The arrival of Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool will do his cause no harm whatsoever.
9 (9) – Jordan Henderson
We genuinely almost forgot about the existence of Liverpool’s captain. Rodgers playing him with an injured foot against Bournemouth continues to look an ingenious idea. Still, he’s a certainty if fit.
10 (8) – Leighton Baines
With Luke Shaw sadly broken and both Kieran Gibbs and Ryan Bertrand’s names both uttered with an air of ‘meh’, Baines is still Roy’s No. 1. I don’t personally agree with that, but that’s not really the point of the ladder.
11 (10) – Danny Welbeck
At some point soon it would be nice to see him kick a football and run after it in his heart-warming Bambi style, but Welbeck is still a vital part of Uncle Roy’s thoughts. Only ten players in Euro 2016 qualifying scored more goals than Welbeck’s six, and he only played 403 minutes.
12 (12) – Ross Barkley
Barkley has still not quite found his role in an England team where he gets far less freedom than at club level, but it’s pertinently clear that Hodgson is happy to play wait and see. Also worth remembering that he scored international goals in both September and October.
13 (13) – Phil Jones
England’s most divisive defender but, if fit, he goes, and that’s said with 100% certainty. The worry is that he’s crowbarred into the starting line-up, but back being part of the Premier League’s tightest defence sure makes that a possibility. Roy 4 Phil IDST.
14 (17) – John Stones
There is an overwhelming clamour to not just have Stones as part of the Euro 2016 squad, but starting the opening game. ‘He offers England something they have almost never had: a ball-playing centre-half,’ wrote Rob Draper on MailOnline. Poor Rio Ferdinand.
15 (18) – Jack Butland
Potentially England’s best No. 2 goalkeeper since Nigel Martyn. Which is just an excuse to remind you of this.
16 (14) – Daniel Sturridge
“We are hoping for Daniel that he is a player that comes to us in November super fit, fully recovered and in great form. We think the best way to have that man in November is to leave him in October” – Roy Hodgson, October 2015. Anyone else got a horrible feeling he’ll be saying the same in a year’s time?
17 (15) – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
‘Unbeaten in 24 games for England so there’s absolutely zero chance that Hodgson will leave him at home,’ was the message in the last edition of this ladder. The return of Arsenal disease to Chamberlain’s legs threatens his availability next summer, but nothing has really changed.
18 (33) – Dele Alli
A new entry at No. 33 in October’s ladder, Alli has now hauled himself into Hodgson’s squad. Let’s turn to our player ratings for the rest, because I’m lazy: ‘Alli has only started eight Premier League games, but should be advised against popping into Thomas Cook to make summer 2016 plans. If scoring a wonderful first-half goal pencilled his name in Hodgson’s Euro 2016 squad, leaving Paul Pogba on his arse for the build-up to the second goal virtually printed off the boarding card.’ Quite.
19 (17) – Theo Walcott
He’s still in, but must hope that Olly Giroud doesn’t keep scoring for Arsenal while he’s out injured. Having taken ages to get his central striking role, it’d be a swift kick to the b*llocks if he had to do it all over again.
20 (16) – James Milner
Useful, like a toilet brush. But also getting less appetising over time. Like a toilet brush.
21 (22) – Ryan Bertrand
Level with Gibbs in the ‘Hasn’t done anything wrong at international level’ category in a game of England left-back Top Trumps, but trounces him on ‘Is he actually playing for his club?’ Remember Top Trumps? (I’m not very good at observational comedy).
22 (21) – Ben Foster
“England’s number three (if fit), England’s England’s No. 3 (if fit).” It’s a difficult chant to get going.
23 (23) – Adam Lallana
In by the skin of his pearly whites, on the basis that he offers Hodgson flexibility in midfield, and has started each of Liverpool’s four Premier League matches since Klopp’s appointment. Like club team-mate Henderson, we’re still yet to see Lallana really thrive in an England shirt, but that doesn’t seem to matter.
24 (24) – Luke Shaw
There’s still hope.
25 (28) – Fabian Delph
The first really difficult call. Hodgson clearly likes Delph, but we just can’t find room for him if Henderson and Wilshere are fit. Especially when he has fragility issues of his own.
26 (37) – Eric Dier
Stepped up and played excellently against France alongside club mate Alli, but not quite yet an automatic selection for Hodgson’s squad. Jones plays the Mr Versatile role, Wilshere plays the screen in front of defence and Dier must hope for injuries. Still, he’s only 21.
27 (31) – Kieran Gibbs
Not playing Premier League football, which isn’t ideal in a position where England have 8,576 options.
28 (26) – Phil Jagielka
Through no particular fault of his own, Jagielka is sinking without trace. Which of Stones, Smalling, Cahill and Jones would you drop (and you can’t say Jones because it’s Hodgson)?
29 (30) – Jamie Vardy
It is foolish to demean Vardy’s achievements this season, but if Welbeck, Sturridge, Rooney and Kane all get and/or stay fit, they sit comfortably ahead in the pecking order. However much that p*sses on the sugary rags to riches tale.
30 (29) – Fraser Forster
31 (20) – Michael Carrick
The big faller, out of the squad and down the lane. Carrick turns 35 three weeks after Euro 2016 finishes. Anger at his lack of past call-ups is a weak argument for future selection.
32 (34) – Kyle Walker
Playing much better at club level, for which he deserves great credit. But the norm is to only take one specialist right-back to a major tournament, and Clyne is it.
33 (27) – Jonjo Shelvey
Not really good enough, sadly.
34 (40) – Danny Rose
There’s just so many f**king left-backs.
35 (32) – Danny Ings
‘Again, an awful lot depends on Jurgen Klopp,’ Sarah Winterburn wrote last time. That and potentially season-ending injuries.
36 (36) – Saido Berahino
We were reminded of his existence by rumours of a £20m move to Chelsea. Only that move and a subsequent flurry of goals give him anything other than a cat in hell’s chance.
37 (35) – Wilfried Zaha
“We did consider him [Zaha], but we decided on Jesse,” said Hodgson this week. That’s bad news for the lone Wilf.
38 (25) – Andros Townsend
Having dropped out of the squad, he’s sinking like a stone. We
hate to say we told you so.
39 (38) – Ryan Mason
One Premier League start since August. That’s partly due to injury, of course, but Alli and Dier have moved ahead for Spurs and England.
40 (39) – Marc Albrighton
No English player has more Premier League assists this season. Crikey.
41 (43) – Tom Heaton
42 (NE) – Jesse Lingard
43 (42) – Ashley Young
44 (NE) – Scott Dann
45 (47) – Ryan Shawcross
46 (41) – Tom Cleverley
47 (46) – Charlie Austin
48 (49) – Aaron Cresswell
49 (45) – Jack Cork
50 (50) – Phil Neville