F365’s famous Euro 2020(?) England ladder is back

Date published: Thursday 15th October 2020 2:14

Harry Maguire is one of the plummeters as Mason Mount and Dominic Calvert-Lewin soar.

As ever, this represents our estimation of Gareth Southgate’s England thoughts. And we still feel like we know him well. Numbers in brackets pertain to this ladder from September. A lot has changed…

 

1 (1) Harry Kane

Still number one, but a touch less steady in top spot. Strange now to think that a year ago Kane was playing an enterprising, all-round creative role for England and looking a bit off the pace and peripheral for Spurs. That’s all changed. Hold-up play in that last hour against Denmark with 10 men was decent enough, but he dillied and dallied uncharacteristically over a couple of early half-chances and was on his heels when crosses came in. Now on his longest England goal drought since the arse end of the World Cup.

 

2 (2) Raheem Sterling

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and Sterling was much missed. Not least by Kane, for whom Sterling is very much his international duty Heung-Min Son. Sterling and Kane have directly combined to score a goal once every 216 minutes for England.

 

3 (3) Jordan Henderson

Very good against Belgium, very missed against Denmark.

 

4 (5) Marcus Rashford

Decent against Belgium, anonymous against Denmark. Sign the petition.

 

5 (8) Ben Chilwell

No point arguing about how we got here, the facts are these: if Ben Chilwell is unavailable, Gareth Southgate will just keep chucking more and more right-backs on the pitch until the seas rise up and claim us all. Ergo, Ben Chilwell could arguably sit at number one on this list, so utterly integral has he become to England’s hopes.

 

6 (18) Mason Mount

Gareth bloody loves him. He’s been involved in 10 of the last 11 games. Southgate appears determined to use him in the front three when a more ambitious option might be to drop him back into the midfield and pick one of the many other exciting attacking options Southgate is currently studiously ignoring. That’s none of Mount’s business, mind. The fact is he’s playing a lot of football for England and doing so perfectly well despite the unforgivable crime of Not Being Jack Grealish.

 

7 (4) Jordan Pickford

Everton Pickford got involved against Denmark, producing a brainfart of a rush off his line so egregious that the referee rightly decided the only adequate punishment for such nonsense was to award an otherwise inexplicable penalty. We much prefer England Pickford. So does Gareth, who still shows no serious desire or intent to replace his increasingly beleaguered number one.

 

8 (17) Kyle Walker

What a comeback. We declared his international career over this time last year, and we were wrong to do so. Southgate’s insistence on having his England team play to its weaknesses may be starting to test patience, but Walker remains a very useful component for as long as filling the entire pitch with defensive players, especially right-backs, remains in Gareth’s Big Book of Tactics.

 

9 (10) Joe Gomez

A slight climb more due to the antics of others than anything Gomez did himself in a quiet hour against Wales. For many, many reasons, desperately needs to rediscover his best form for Liverpool. We’ve just realised he’s the highest genuine centre-back on this list right now and it’s made us a bit dizzy. Going to have a bit of a lie-down.

 

10 (NE) Reece James

The sweary Chelsea youngster f***ed it up a bit by getting sent off after the final whistle, but was the bright spot on a night of shod against Denmark. England have millions of right-backs, but he may be the most rounded of the lot and the one best suited for international football once he’s washed his mouth out. WE’RE NOT SAYING HE’S BETTER THAN TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD, OKAY. But, for England, we kind of already are saying that. This, pre-swear, was better than anything TAA has produced in an England shirt. You don’t have to like that, but you do have to accept it.

 

11 (11) Nick Pope

Three caps, three clean sheets and, hopefully, a rather iffy start to the Premier League season now behind him.

 

12 (6) Harry Maguire

Yeah. Um. That was…not good. A more seasoned club manager – dare we say it, a Jose Mourinho – would probably have talked him out of this squad altogether. Slightly tight hamstring, best sit this one out fella. A more seasoned international manager would have realised his head wasn’t right and left him out. But Maguire really does still have to take the bulk of the responsibility for that 30-minute clusterf***. It’s genuinely hard to think of a worse England performance off the top of your head. Stays this high because Southgate will 100% stand by him and give him absolutely every chance to relocate the important part of his brain that he left in Mykonos.

 

13 (14) Eric Dier

Maguire made us long for the feeling of calm serenity that comes from having Eric Dier at the heart of your defence. 2020, you’ve done it again.

 

14 (27) Declan Rice

For as long as Southgate insists on two defensive midfielders no matter the opposition, Rice is a shoo-in. Actually one of the better performers against Denmark, for what it’s worth.

 

15 (38) Conor Coady

Has risen to senior England pro and defensive leader as rapidly as Maguire has descended. And he scored an actual goal! Took, along with James and Calvert-Lewin, the largest forward strides on what was overall a two steps forward, one step back international break.

 

16 (15) Kieran Trippier

Seemingly the first choice among England’s cavalcade of right-back-left-backs, betting brouhaha notwithstanding.

 

17 (9) Trent Alexander-Arnold

The best right-back in the Premier League is not currently in England’s best XI, even though that XI apparently contains at least three right-backs. Weird but true.

 

18 (NE) Dominic Calvert-Lewin

We second-guessed ourselves in September and didn’t include DCL in our top 50 like idiots. Sometimes trying to get in Gareth’s head can be confusing and misleading. In fairness to us and Gareth, nobody could have expected quite such a spectacular start to the season. He’s leapfrogged everyone bar Kane in the striker standings. Good effort. Now keep it up for longer than Tammy Abraham, because as we always say in The Ladder, there are only two spots for strikers in this squad and one of them is occupied.

 

19 (7) Harry Winks

A climber through not playing in the last international window, a faller after barely playing in a 75-minute opportunity against Wales. A shame, because England’s midfield really could do with Winks’ skillset. This was a bad time to throw in his least eye-catching international performance, and he probably isn’t in Tottenham’s first-choice midfield now either. Could be slip, sliding away.

 

20 (16) Tyrone Mings

Looked entirely competent in a defensive duo with Coady, which was a relief. As a left-footed centre-back who doesn’t get much wrong, should probably be getting more game time than he is – especially in a back three – but would definitely make Southgate’s tournament squad as things stand.

 

21 (13) Jadon Sancho

Not really happened for Sancho for quite a while now. This risk-averse England team suddenly has fewer spots for exciting players, while also having more of them to pick from.

 

22 (26) Kalvin Phillips

Not his fault he keeps being picked in an unnecessary double DCM pivot with Rice, and has done all that can be reasonably asked of him in that role.

 

23 (23) Dean Henderson

Last month: ‘The man in shaky possession of the coveted third keeper gig but surely vulnerable if he isn’t in fact Manchester United’s number one.’ Still true, although it’s debatable whether being United’s number one is actually a good idea for a keeper’s career development right now.

 

24 (24) Aaron Ramsdale

Is playing regular football, which puts Henderson under pressure. Is conceding regular goals, which doesn’t. Still hasn’t had a call-up, which is a bit weird given there was a time when Southgate thought nothing of filling his squad with as many goalkeepers as right-backs, but surely the man to benefit should any of the three ahead of him suffer a misfortune.

 

25 (25) Jack Grealish

However much we might all want to put The New Gazza higher in this list, he’s not a right-back and that counts against him.

 

26 (12) John Stones

Overtaken by events. Might not solidify England’s back three/four/five but would certainly restore a touch of finesse.

 

27 (20) Phil Foden

Hopefully Southgate will stop punishing him and us quite soon.

 

28 (21) Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Hopefully injuries will stop punishing him and us quite soon.

 

29 (19) Mason Greenwood

We really hope this is a temporary slide, because Greenwood might be the most exciting of all the exciting talent currently on the outside watching England send everyone to sleep.

 

30 (41) Ainsley Maitland-Niles

A right-back who can play left-back adequately well? You’re hired!

 

31 (31) Ross Barkley

Can go no higher for now, but comes with a confident yet utterly worthless prediction that he will do next time. Very early days, but Villa move currently looks an inspired one.

 

32 (NE) Bukayo Saka

A genuine left-sided option currently playing Premier League football and not injured and not stinking the joint out. Could be in the top 15 next time around given, you know, everything. Or out of the 50 altogether. These are strange times.

 

33 (43) Danny Ings

Lovely stuff. Lovely that he got his goal. Will probably get in plenty more expanded squads over the course of the season. Will do remarkably well to get in a slimmed-down tournament one. To repeat: England will only pick two out-and-out strikers and one of them is Harry Kane.

 

34 (28) Michael Keane

We’ve said it before, countless times, but England really do have a vast number of largely interchangeable uninspiring centre-backs. Maybe Everton being suddenly great will help Keane rise above the morass. Dunno.

 

35 (29) James Ward-Prowse

England conceded two penalties during this international break and Ward-Prowse singularly failed to scuff up the penalty spot on either occasion. A shameful dereliction of duty only partly mitigated by his not being on the pitch at the time of either incident.

 

36 (34) Danny Rose

Shouldn’t be the case, but is: get some football, any football, anywhere, and there’s still every chance.

 

37 (37) Aaron Wan-Bissaka

England picked three right-backs in their starting XI against Denmark and still had Alexander-Arnold in reserve and Trippier… otherwise engaged. There’s just no way through for Wan-Bissaka at the moment.

 

38 (42) Luke Shaw

Plays at left-back, technically, and therefore like Rose has to have a chance.

 

39 (39) Ryan Sessegnon

September hopes that he might force his way into Tottenham contention were undone by the arrival of Sergio Reguilon, but he and we got second prize: a good loan move. As with everyone else vaguely left-sided, if you’re English and playing football and doing so without conspicuously s***ting the bed too often then you are bang in contention.

 

40 (33) Callum Wilson

Unlucky to slip behind DCL and Ings through no real fault of his own given a highly impressive start to the season at Newcastle. Would be 10 places higher if there were a third spot for a striker in a 23-man England squad, but there isn’t so he isn’t.

 

41 (46) Harvey Barnes
42 (32) Eddie Nketiah
43 (30) Dele Alli

44 (22) Tammy Abraham
45 (36) Fikayo Tomori
46 (35) James Maddison
47 (44) Dwight McNeil
48 (48) Ruben Loftus-Cheek
49 (45) Rob Holding
50 (50) Phil Neville

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