National service: Which clubs power England?

Date published: Wednesday 21st March 2018 1:12

Gareth Southgate has been in charge of England for 14 matches, handing caps to 46 different players, from hardy first-name-on-the-teamsheet types all the way to he-was-still-getting-caps-18-months-ago!? sorts.

But which clubs have supplied those players to England’s relentless march to Russia 2018 or the vaguely encouraging goalless draws against Germany and Brazil?

For our purposes, the player’s club at call-up is counted, while loan clubs get the credit. Sorry Chelsea. This means some players appear twice and Joe Hart gets in three times, bless him.

No surprise to see half the ‘Big Six’ head the list, but it’s not quite so clever for the other three…

 

Torino – 1 (Joe Hart)
Strong Torino, Strong England as the saying goes. Hart’s eventful loan season in Italy didn’t seem to threaten his No. 1 status in Gareth Southgate’s eyes. No, it took a move to West Ham’s giant bowl of broken dreams for that.

Chelsea – 1 (Gary Cahill)
The first eye-catcher in the list. Yes, giving Chelsea zero credit for Ruben Loftus-Cheek or Tammy Abraham is reductive, but it’s our list and we’ll do what we want. And had those players stayed at Chelsea, they’d not be on here anyway. Cahill, to be fair, has been a Southgate stalwart, appearing in 10 of the gaffer’s 14 games. And now he’s been dropped.

West Brom – 1 (Jake Livermore)
The thought process behind Jake Livermore’s six caps under Southgate and continued presence in the squad is every bit as perplexing as that behind deciding to borrow a Spanish taxi outside McDonald’s at 5.30am. The world is a strange place.

Sunderland – 1 (Jermain Defoe)
Defoe’s stoic yet doomed one-man fight against Sunderland’s descent earned an unexpected and emotional coda to his England career, and a 20th international goal. That’s your lot, though.

Stoke – 1 (Jack Butland)
Enjoying – if that’s the right word given Stoke’s struggles – an almost injury-free season after the write-off that was 2016/17 and quite possibly the one-eyed man in England’s goalkeeping valley of the blind.

Swansea – 1 (Tammy Abraham)
The on-loan Chelsea forward is without a Premier League goal since October despite the Swans’ resurgence under Carlos Carvalhal. A starting spot against Germany in November seems a long time ago.

West Ham – 2 (Joe Hart, Aaron Cresswell)
There’s Hart making the second of his three appearances on this list. Nobody can match that, which just shows his unrivalled commitment to the England cause. Cresswell played in the 1-0 win in Lithuania, and we thank him for his service.

Leicester City – 2 (Jamie Vardy, Harry Maguire)
Jamie Vardy is still having a party, helping himself to goals against all of the Big Six this season and boasting a chance conversion rate that means a sacrilegious argument against the more scattergun St Harry of Kane’s automatic starting spot in the rarefied air of international football should at least take place. Maguire has continued his progression to international honours after impressing for Hull last season.

Crystal Palace – 2 (Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Andros Townsend)
Andros Townsend!? Yes, apparently he was still playing international football as recently as November 2016’s 2-2 draw with Spain, but his place as Inexplicable Former Tottenham Player now appears to have been firmly usurped by Livermore.

Southampton – 3 (Ryan Bertrand, Nathan Redmond, James Ward-Prowse)
Lovely Southampton still producing players for England and bigger teams even as it all threatens to go completely to sh*t.

Arsenal – 3 (Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Danny Welbeck)
Okay, so Jack Wilshere will soon be added to this list, but still. Two inconsistent frustrations who are no longer at the club and a Danny Welbeck doesn’t seem an awful lot from the Gunners. We’re sure it’s right at the top of their current concerns.

Burnley – 3 (Michael Keane, Tom Heaton, Jack Cork)
At the end of this international break, Burnley will have contributed as many players to Southgate’s England as Chelsea and Arsenal combined if James Tarkowski and Nick Pope make their debuts after starring in the Clarets’ stubborn storming of the Premier League top half. Heaton’s injury has been a career-changer for Pope, and a climb from Bury Town Reserves to England is lovely. Put Jack Cork on the lengthy ‘Surely Better Than Livermore’ list.

Everton – 3 (Phil Jagielka, Michael Keane, Jordan Pickford)
Featuring another of the morass of keepers hoping to profit from Hart’s struggles, the impressive Keane and, incredibly, Everton’s most-capped England player of all time in Big Phil Jagielka.

Manchester City – 4 (John Stones, Raheem Sterling, Joe Hart, Kyle Walker)
There’s that man Hart again sneaking in a cap between loan spells, alongside some pretty integral parts of England’s first team. Walker has confirmed his status as England’s best right-back since his summer move from Tottenham, Stones is the present and future despite a slight recent wobble and Sterling continues to spend either too much or not enough of his own money on things.

Tottenham – 7 (Kyle Walker, Dele Alli, Danny Rose, Eric Dier, Harry Kane, Kieran Trippier, Harry Winks)
Mauricio Pochettino’s trophy-dodging national treasures have formed the spine of 2016-18 England, with the first five names on this list absolute shoo-ins for Russia. Trippier still needs to add defensive discipline to his offensive abilities, while Winks was recently found safe and well in the FA Cup against Rochdale having not played a single minute of Premier League football in 2018. Some fall from best player in the Bernabeu and man of the match on England debut.

Liverpool – 7 (Jordan Henderson, Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana, Nathaniel Clyne, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Joe Gomez, Dominic Solanke)
Are we being too critical to call Liverpool’s contribution quantity over quality? Maybe a bit, and Lallana and Clyne both have the excuse of injuries. Lallana in particular remains one of very few England players capable of the genuinely unexpected, existing firmly at the opposite end of that spectrum to Henderson.

Manchester United – 7 (Wayne Rooney, Jesse Lingard, Chris Smalling, Marcus Rashford, Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Luke Shaw)
Perhaps the sheer weight of numbers mean a bit of a mixed bag is inevitable, but it’s a similar tale to Liverpool. Rashford is the shining light here, Lingard a squad certainty Who Provides An Option Off The Bench and Young the reinvented, resurgent re-entry having picked up his 31st cap against Brazil back in November more than four years after his 30th.

 

Dave Tickner

 

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