The famous F365 Euro 2024 England ladder: Record-breaking Kane back on top, Saka climbs

Dave Tickner
Harry Kane breaks England goalscoring record.

Two wins from two to get Euro 2024 qualification off to a lovely start, especially with games ticked off against both teams who would expect to join England in the scrap for the two qualification spots available.

And Harry Kane broke and extended the England goalscoring record with a penalty and a scruffy tap-in, which means there was absolutely everything anyone could wish for to get stuck into there no matter where you position yourself on the Harry Kane greatness-fraudulence spectrum.

He has, as he always does, responded to us taking top spot off him in the England Ladder by reminding us that we are but fools to do so. This is still a team built around its record-breaking, piss-boiling, trophy-dodging captain and long may he reign.

As always, these rankings represent our best guess of Gareth Southgate’s thinking, so if you don’t like any of them then blame him not us. Please. December’s post-World Cup positions in brackets, and you can read our reasoning for all of those embarrassing errors here. Mainly it was to do with not actually knowing for sure Southgate would still be manager, and thus not knowing for sure exactly whose mind we should be attempting to read…


1 (3) Harry Kane 
Every now and then we nudge him down from top spot. Never for long, though. Always gets himself straight back to the summit. Still the unquestioned focal point of this team, and will be for as long as he maintains his astonishing ability to be both creator and finisher of England’s attacks. The goal against Ukraine was the essence of Kane. Dropping deep to instigate the attack with a sweeping switch to Saka, and then in the right place at the right time to finish things off six yards out. England’s record goalscorer is going to push that mark a long way out of anyone else’s reach before he’s done, even if none of his goals actually count.


2 (2) Jude Bellingham 
Not sure we’ve seen an England midfielder play any better than Bellingham in those first 45 minutes against Italy. Faded slightly in that game and still looked a touch weary – if still largely imperious – against Ukraine. Lots of miles in those young legs this season. Absurdly good, though, and absurdly crucial. England’s stunning first-half dominance of the European champions in Naples was built on a 19-year-old midfielder deciding to just take the game by the scruff of the neck because he could. Handy.


3 (6) Bukayo Saka 
Very good against Italy but with the end product not quite there. Put that quibble emphatically right against Ukraine with a wonderful performance. Only question about it was whether the millimetre-perfect assist for Kane or his own curling strike for the second goal was the best bit. England’s first-choice attack is no longer Kane plus any two or three permed from assorted attractive options. It’s now Kane and Saka plus any one or two permed from assorted attractive options. A significant shift.


4 (1) Declan Rice 
Crucial in the second half against Italy when things got a bit choppy and remains a fundamental cornerstone of this England team, which is in no way a problem. Southgate is right, Souness is wrong. England don’t have great depth in central midfield, but in Rice and Bellingham they should have a couple of first-choice spots sorted out for at least the next few tournament cycles.


5 (4) Jordan Pickford
A bystander’s clean sheet against Ukraine and in truth very little to do against Italy other than to blamelessly pick one ball out of his net. Clear of Paul Robinson now in seventh on the list of most clean sheets for England, and he’s going to take out Chris Woods, Ray Clemence and most likely even Gordon Banks before he’s done which is absolutely fine no matter what yer da thinks.


6 (5) John Stones
Got in the way of pretty much everything Italy threw at England in the second half and then spent 90 minutes against Ukraine with the cigar out. Stones and Maguire are going absolutely nowhere for now.


7 (15) Kyle Walker
Showed with his adept and absurdly fleet-footed handling of the Mykhaylo Mudryk threat precisely why, for as long as his primary on-field attributes remain undiminished, he will remain one of Southgate’s most important players despite… everything else and the absolutely mad depth and breadth of options England possess in his position.


8 (10) Harry Maguire
Managed to drop the one conspicuous bollock of an otherwise near-flawless international break for England but still it remains entirely impossible to conceive of a future where Gareth Southgate is picking his England team and isn’t jotting down ‘Stones, Maguire’ early on.


9 (8) Luke Shaw
Daft red card in Naples, but still first choice left-back until he isn’t.


10 (9) Reece James
Injury problems and Kyle Walker’s point-blank stubborn refusal to lose his pace have slightly stymied James’ seemingly inevitable ascent to become England’s starting right-back but while the path may have become slightly circuitous, the destination remains the same.


11 (13) Jack Grealish
Very bright early on against Italy, and currently boasting club form to rival his Aston Villa peak. That Home Alone pilgrimage to New York has done wonders for him. Hard to see how he will ever be an automatic starter for England, but also hard to see how or why you or more importantly Southgate would ever not want such a scampish free-kick-collecting mischief-making option on hand.


12 (7) Phil Foden
Not the best international break for Foden, who came into it on the back of some fine Man City form but then saw his appearance off the bench against Italy cut short on just 12 minutes by the necessary rejigging of things after Shaw’s red card, and then missed the Ukraine game – and who knows how much upcoming City action – after having his appendix out. At least appendicitis is not the sort of injury that recurs.


13 (16) Jordan Henderson
Rolled back the years against Ukraine and his tactic of standing quite close to and frequently giving the ball to Bukayo Saka was precisely the sort of ingeniously simple caper we want and expect from him. Southgate has quite correctly promoted his young bucks to run England’s midfield for now and the foreseeable, but if you think that means he’s going to entirely jettison the safe-pair-of-hands leadership qualities of a Henderson then you don’t know ball and you don’t know Gareth.


14 (11) Mason Mount
Being initially named in a squad he was obviously never going to actually join up with having missed games for Chelsea through injury tells you where he remains in Gareth Southgate’s thoughts. And where he remains is ‘prominent’. But perhaps no longer quite ‘forefront’.


15 (12) Ben Chilwell 
England’s best attacking work against Ukraine came down the Saka-propelled right, but Chilwell did perfectly well apart from that weird bit where he just booted a Stones switch hilariously and pointlessly high into the Wembley air and back towards his own goal for reasons that continue to elude us several hours of near-constant wondering later.


16 (17) Marcus Rashford
Annoyed people who apparently believe ‘Going to New York for a bit’ and ‘Playing elite-level international football’ require precisely the same levels of physical fitness. Even when he’s not involved, he’s still doing great things. Clearly frustrating all round that he missed out, but the World Cup work and continued club-level excellence mean he’s a lock for a squad place and will get plenty more chances to show he merits a starting role. Rashford, Kane, Saka would certainly appear to represent England’s current optimum front three.


17 (14) Raheem Sterling 
Southgate was pretty forthcoming and thoughtful on the reasoning behind the various eye-catching absences from his Italy/Ukraine squads. Always handy to have things direct. “Raheem is not fit, so that’s that one,” was all he had to say about Sterling, so from that we deduce he would still be in the squad were he fit. Our own extra spin is that we nevertheless think he must have gone backwards a touch given both his own form and that of his notable rivals in those enormously fun positions flitting around Harry Kane.


18 (18) Aaron Ramsdale
Is he England’s second or third-choice keeper? Not quite sure, but for now he’s definitely one of the two (is exactly what we wrote straight after the World Cup and remains the case).


19 (19) Nick Pope 
Is he England’s second or third-choice keeper? Not quite sure, but for now he’s definitely one of the two (is exactly what we wrote straight after the World Cup and remains the case).


20 (21) Kalvin Phillips 
Played more minutes against Italy than he has in the Premier League this season and by the end that was starting to show. But he remains at worst Southgate’s fourth-choice centre mid for now and that puts him cosily inside the squad cut-off.


21 (20) Eric Dier
We still need to see some concrete evidence that disproves the World Cup-cultivated theory that Eric Dier is England’s first-reserve centre-back. Please. Any evidence at all. Anything. Anything. Until that time, he pretty much has to be in and around the top 20, doesn’t he? None of us has to like it, but each of us must in their own way come to terms with it.


22 (22) Kieran Trippier 
Versatility, reliability and better-than-ever club form means one of Southgate’s favourites is still firmly inside the squad even if it’s as both third-choice right-back and third-choice left-back.


23 (28) Marc Guehi 
There may be a big old gap between ‘Stones and Maguire’ and ‘Dier and Guehi’ but the most significant current detail is that nobody else is occupying that gap. Ergo, he’s in the squad until a Tomori or a Gomez or a Chalobah or even a Coady or Tarkowski convinces Southgate otherwise.


24 (25) Conor Gallagher 
Combines puppy-like energy and enthusiasm with significant technical ability and that’s a useful combination. It was genuinely important in those closing stages against Italy and, while it’s hard to see where a starting spot opens up for Gallagher, you can absolutely see why Southgate wants him around the place.


25 (41) Ivan Toney
Got himself out of this team at least, and being picked despite his current situation (when it would have been very easy indeed for Southgate to just go with an in-form Ollie Watkins) also tells you something. Our feeling, though, is that the re-emergence of the far more versatile Rashford as a legit goalscorer spells bad news for any pure number nines eyeing the Harry Kane understudy spot if and when squads go back to 23.


26 (27) James Maddison
Finally won an overdue second cap and did pretty much fine despite not being deployed in his very best position. His very best position, though, doesn’t really exist in this England team because it’s a more central No. 10 spot frequently occupied by Kane himself as livewire runners go beyond him. And for as long as this team’s attack is built around Harry Kane as both poacher and playmaker, Maddison’s skillset isn’t quite the ideal fit.

Bukayo Saka and the England XI

27 (26) Conor Coady
England don’t have loads of options and Southgate is demonstrably uncertain about the ones he does have that aren’t named Stones or Maguire. Coady and others therefore remain very much There or Thereabouts.


28 (23) Trent Alexander-Arnold
As we always stress, this is our best approximation of what we reckon Southgate thinks. So when he says what he thinks out loud, we listen. “With Ben and Trent, we have three boys in at right full-backs and we have got them just ahead of those two. We’re blessed in that position with depth of talent. It is the hardest position to pick.” So Trent is fourth-choice right-back, at best, and we suppose the silver lining for TAA’s vocal supporters is that while Southgate may be one of very few managers who would make that assessment of his place in the pecking order, he is also one of even fewer managers who might well go ahead and pick four right-backs.


29 (31) Fikayo Tomori
Southgate has looked at the data and doesn’t like it. Too many errors is the verdict, and no amount of impressive Champions League displays against sarcastically negative and shotshy Spurs teams are going to shift the needle, it seems.


30 (44) James Ward-Prowse
Is somehow still only 28, still takes a mean set-piece and, crucially, might just get the sort of post-relegation transfer that increases the attention he is afforded.


31 (24) Callum Wilson
It is sadly the life of England strikers not called Harry Kane to spend their time drifting up and down this list, sometimes inside the 26, sometimes outside the 26 but never, ever, anywhere remotely close to the top 11.


32 (30) Harvey Elliott
England have other, better nauseatingly young midfielders available would be the brutal assessment, but 40 appearances and counting this season for Liverpool at 19 has to put you somewhere in the frame.


33 (29) Eddie Nketiah
Didn’t quite grasp his chance to shine during Gabriel Jesus’ injury and now England’s Under-21 all-time record scorer is just another name in the list of strikers who aren’t Harry Kane. Folarin Balogun’s exploits on loan at Reims mean he might not even be the best English striker who isn’t Harry Kane at Arsenal.


34 (32) Ben White 
Telling that Southgate included him specifically in his discussion of right-backs and the vast numbers thereof England have available. Playing there has been great for him and Arsenal this season, but the only thing that now gets him back in the England squad – barring injury catastrophe – is that centre-back versatility. Because England’s embarrassment of right-back riches is not quite replicated in the middle, is it?


35 (34) Tammy Abraham
Out of sight, out of mind is always the danger for overseas-based contenders. Especially strikers who’ve only scored three league goals since Christmas.


36 (35) Jarrod Bowen
Deeply frustrating for all concerned that his brief chance at England level came after the crest of the wave of form that had, eventually, earned him the chance.


37 (RE) Fraser Forster
Who says Southgate doesn’t pick on form?


38 (NE) Solly March
Won’t happen, but we just feel quite strongly that his absolutely love-to-see-it late career flourishing merits and deserves at least one appearance in an F365 England Ladder top 40, because it is truly one of the greatest honours any English footballer can receive.


39 (RE) Oliver Skipp
Getting a run in the Spurs team due to injuries and, while getting a run in the Spurs team is currently something of a poisoned chalice, we can’t shake the idea that Skipp is perhaps the single most Southgate footballer currently operating in the Premier League. And doing so in a position where England’s top-level quality is fine but depth not quite what it might be. Looking at England’s recent line-ups he’s no Rice and he’s certainly no Bellingham, but he could absolutely be a Henderson or a Phillips.


40 (46) Ollie Watkins
Current Villa form is definitely delivering ‘England call-up’ type numbers, and if Toney does find himself removed from the equation then really nobody else is currently making any kind of compelling case.


41 (43) Jadon Sancho
42 (36) Dean Henderson 
43 (37) James Tarkowski
44 (39) Max Kilman
45 (42) Jacob Ramsey 
46 (33) Joe Gomez
47 (RE) Ezri Konsa
48 (RE) Tyrone Mings
49 (RE) Emile Smith Rowe
50 (50) Phil Neville