Every Premier League club’s star of the 2026 World Cup features four English midfielders

Will Ford
Eze Gnonto Garnacho

We’re nearly done with 2022 but who will be the stars of the 2026 World Cup? We’ve selected one player from each Premier League club who could take the USA, Canada and Mexico (that’s a mouthful) by storm in four years’ time.

We’ve gone for players who aren’t already starring for their countries. So there’s no Bukayo Saka or Danny Ward to be found here.

Here are each side’s best player from the current World Cup, by the way.


Arsenal: Aaron Ramsdale (England)
Everton fans won’t thank us for this, but it feels a bit like Jordan Pickford plays Premier League football to maintain his fitness and sharpness for international tournaments. He was great again. But it will be very difficult for an England manager to ignore Ramsdale if he continues to rise with Arsenal and they become regulars in the Champions League again.


Aston Villa: Jacob Ramsey (England)
Pundits consistently eulogise over his dribbling ability from central midfield, which has been particularly uncommon for an Englishman for the last couple of decades at least. Before Jude Bellingham, that is.


Bournemouth: Philip Billing (Denmark)
Quite a difficult selection as our pick suggests. Nineteen of Bournemouth’s 33-man squad are English, the vast majority of whom, with all due respect, don’t have a cat in hell’s chance of playing for the Three Lions. Billing already has three caps for Denmark, the last of which came in June, and given his country scored just once in three games without him in Qatar, his four Premier League goals this term may see him handed more opportunities.


Brentford: Ivan Toney (England)
‘Toney would have scored that penalty,’ said that pr*ck down the pub. He also definitely wouldn’t have been on the pitch, and before you ask, no he definitely shouldn’t have been. But Harry Kane will be 33 by the time the next World Cup rolls around and who knows what toll another four years without a trophy might have on the guy. A move to a ‘big club’ still appears to be in the offing for Toney, which may be the boost he needs to get into the England fold.


Brighton: Julio Enciso (Paraguay)
I mean, it could be anyone. Moises Caicedo and Kauro Mitoma have come from nowhere this season to be brilliant for Brighton and then Ecuador and Japan respectively at the World Cup. And Alexis Mac Allister has played a hugely impressive part for Argentina. Enciso is 18, moved to Brighton for £10m from his homeland in the summer and already has eight caps for his country. The only real doubt we have about Enciso impressing in 2026 is in Paraguay’s ability to qualify for the tournament.


Chelsea: Cesare Casadei (Italy)
The £13m summer signing from Inter Milan played at every Italy age group from the U16s before making his U21 debut as a 19-year-old last month. Casadei made his senior debut for Chelsea in the friendly against Aston Villa last week and has been labelled the ‘Italian Frank Lampard’. He’ll go right to the very top.


Crystal Palace: Eberechi Eze (England)
Having reportedly been on the brink of a call-up, an untimely injury kept him out of Euro 2020 and he’s sort of been recovering since. That said he has looked to be back to somewhere near his best in recent times for Palace and consistent form of that kind will surely see him given a run out for England in the near future.


Everton: Amadou Onana (Belgium)
Actually played quite a bit of this World Cup and would have played more had he not been suspended for the crunch Croatia game, but Onana will be hoping for better experiences on the biggest stage in the future. Could well be the midfielder the next manager looks to build the un-Golden Generation around.


Fulham: Marek Rodak (Slovakia)
Slim pickings at Fulham but Rodak is currently battling Martin Dubravka to be the first-choice goalkeeper and will probably have won that battle by the time Slovakia jet off to North America as his opponent will then be 37. They are going to qualify. They are!


Leeds: Wilfried Gnonto (Italy)
It’s more than a bit weird that Gnonto has played more often for Italy this season than Leeds. He had played over 90 minutes in the Nations League wins over Hungary and England before he’d even made his debut for his new side. He does now look set to be far more involved under Jesse Marsch, though, having impressed from the bench in the wins over Liverpool and Bournemouth.


Leicester: Wout Faes (Belgium)
Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld will presumably just keel over at some point, and Wout will be waiting. He sat on the bench for a week in Qatar and should he continue to prove his worth at Leicester is surely in line to take up the Belgium centre-back mantle for the next couple of decades.


Liverpool: Harvey Elliott (England)
He will have to go some to make an England starting XI in four years’ time, but playing for Liverpool can’t hurt his chances. Playing with Bellingham also sounds like a positive, but that only works if Bellingham’s arrival at Liverpool doesn’t mean Elliott is no longer needed by Liverpool.


Manchester City: Cole Palmer (England)
Rico Lewis is also in with a shout but Reece James will likely have the right-back spot sewn up if fit. Palmer’s is an interesting case in that he’s played a similar role to that of Phil Foden when he was brought through by Pep Guardiola, but comparatively no-one gives a sh*t about him. All we need is for Palmer to sign a six-year contract to ‘sit on the bench’ and he will become a stratospheric success.


Manchester United: Alejandro Garnacho (Argentina)
Garnacho came very close to a late call up for Argentina. And in hindsight… they probably don’t really give a toss. But if his impact in the last month or so for United is anything to go by, he could be the next…. nah.


Newcastle: Bruno Guimaraes (Brazil)
He came off the bench against both Cameroon and Switzerland and it feels as though he is the natural successor to Casemiro, who may just be over the hill in 2026. And although Brazilian national team coaches appear hell-bent on convincing us that Fred is Brazilian, we will not be convinced, and he’ll also probably be over the hill.


Nottingham Forest: Orel Mangala (Belgium)
We absolutely knew that Nottingham Forest signed a Belgium international in the summer. But for your benefit, they signed the 24-year-old from Stuttgart for around £11m and he’s started three Premier League games thus far. He made two substitute appearances for Belgium in March which suggests he’s quite good, but to be frank we haven’t got the foggiest.


Southampton: Armel Bella-Kochap (Germany) 
Sat on the bench for the entirety of this World Cup but has shown glimpses in the Premier League of the dominant force he could become for both club and country. He’s got a chaotic streak which is totally understandable for a 21-year-old and just requires some good coaching from Ralph Hasenhuttl. Nope, Nathan Jones – totally remembered.


Tottenham: Dejan Kulusevski (Sweden)
They’ll need to qualify, but with Kulusevski and a number of other young talents, like Newcastle’s Alexander Isak, they’ve got a great chance. And feels as though there’s little doubt Kulusevski will have enhanced his already excellent reputation significantly by then.


West Ham: Gianluca Scamacca (Italy)
Italy will qualify for a World Cup again some day, so why not 2026? Nine caps and no goals isn’t a great record but Roberto Mancini loves him.


Wolves: Max Kilman (England)
Harry Maguire won’t be around anymore and neither will Eric Dier or Conor Coady. If there’s one position England fans should be worried about it’s at centre-back. And Kilman sort of, kind of, maybe eases those concerns ever so slightly.