Mails: What does Gerrard’s heir Jordan actually offer?

Date published: Wednesday 11th October 2017 9:15

Keep those emails coming to

Gerrard’s heir Jordan? 
Ah, Hendo has been impressing again has he? I say this as I do not watch England anymore (prefer watching my grass grow).

Now you all see what we, Liverpool fans, have to deal with every week with our ‘captain’ Hendo.

Every week I try and work out what he actually is, or does, and reading the mails, articles and WC ladder on f365 is very funny. Klopp plays him essentially as a CDM, a CDM he is not. He has a good game one in every seven, or eight.

Perhaps it’s not his fault, maybe he has been turned into something he isn’t – he was pretty good, wasn’t he? Like, before?

That goal we conceded against Newcastle wouldn’t have happened if we had a proper CDM who had any positional sense. That ball would have been cut off, and as for him being our captain, I have no words.

He must be a competition winner – it makes you realise what you had with Stevie G as captain. How many games has Hendo ‘pulled us through’ with his leadership? That would be none. He shouldn’t be anywhere near the first eleven let alone near the captaincy.

Sideways pass, follows sideways pass, follows backwards pass… (in the tone of that Guinness advert… tick follows tock….)

So England fans, welcome to our world.
Paul (let’s get Wilshere fit to maybe scrape a draw with Iceland) London.


Winks is the new Cleverley
You’ve done it again lads…

The boys in green did what they do best last night, pulling off a win against the odds, with a performance full guts and heart.

At the same time F365 and the rest of the English media are doing what they do best, overhyping another average player to set him up for failure/potential scapegoatting down the line.

Harry Winks is Tom Cleverly reincarnate. He completed a couple of passes against Lithuania, LITHUANIA!! and all of a sudden he’s the next big thing. He’s a very similar player to Cleverly, maybe he’ll end up being slightly better which would make him no more than average. This should mean a solid career at Stoke or some other club that can establish a level of mid-table consistency in the next few years, while you all moan about how poor England’s midfield options are that you’re stuck with him.

I’m basing this on seeing him for Spurs as well as England. I have no reason to dislike him, so it’s not agenda driven, I’m simply highlighting, warning you even, that we have seen this one before. Heck, there are STILL calls for Wilshere in the England squad in the mailbox based one ONE SINGLE performance when he was 17. All the while conveniently ignoring the fact that he was anonymous for Bournemouth and has played about 27 minutes for Arsenal in 10 years


Three Lions should follow Foxes
Can’t resist given my tuppence on England’s style, “DNA” and lack of creativity. England (or at least what’s interpreted from the media) seem to searching for some sort of football passing and pressing utopia where we play like Guardiola-era Barcelona. Searching for an English Silva, Mata or Ozil (Lallana and Wilshere appear to be the pretenders to the crown…). I actually think taking a far more pragmatic approach and focusing on things we have the ability to be good at is likely to be a far more fruitful approach to take – ask Wales and Portugal after the Euros.

So what does this look like for England? Well for me it’s 2 obvious things, 1) pace on the counter. Serious pace and directness, think prime Leicester City. Deep, solid defending (possibly in a 3), Rashford and Sterling/Vardy wide of the best striker in the world. Whilst we’re unlikely to play any of the top 10 sides in the world off the park, I suspect we could cause them some serious headaches if we forgot about possession and go seriously direct. Not long-ball direct, intelligent, sharp, straight passing and straight running at defences direct. I’ve seen it happen for Leicester and it’s a model that if executed well (by technically better players than Leicester have) could bring some success.

Now there is a problem with this. When might it be less effective? Well when Russia, Wales, Slovenia, Lithuania etc sit deep against us. What to do then? Well number 2) crossing. An England team with 60%+ possession is a terrifying thing (bad terrifying), particularly with Henderson and Dier in centre midfield. We’ve seen this film enough times already to know that England seriously struggle against a packed defence. An obvious way around it, combine the previously mentioned direct approach with consistent, accurate, realistic crossing into the penalty area, not whipped, hits the first man crossing, serious, intelligent, high volume crossing. This is something England have been seriously good at in the past and our players get plenty of practice at in the PL. Indeed Ferguson’s United were the masters of it. If you can’t create through slick interplay and genius number 10s, you can cause similar headaches with intelligent crossing and serious hunger for second balls. If we want to beat a packed defence let’s cause them serious problems not by holding possession for minutes on end, but getting the ball wide, packing the box and delivering crosses. For a year or 2 I’ve struggled to see why Albrighton isn’t getting a call from England, he’s perfect for this and offers a truly different option to the rest of the squad.

Not going to happen of course, Gareth will continue to try and play like Spain did 5 years ago, whilst Germany (and Spain and France) find ways to better that and we’ll continue to be behind the curve.
Dan, Greenwich


Three-at-the-back Lions
Apparently, England will play three at the back in the World Cup. Great.

Why would Southgate talk about it in the media? Now, everyone who plays England will know and prepare accordingly. And, if he is lying, the cunning press will use that as a stick to beat him.

Why would he announce that? It makes no sense. Can somebody enlighten me?


England need Mr Motivator
Barring an underlying method of playing football (see Germany, Spain and Italy), the main factors of getting success out of a national team are motivation and organization (and one or two world class players).

Ryan Giggs criticized Kyle Walker and Delle Alli for putting in better performances at club level and people have moaned about how boring it is to watch England. Gareth Southgate has been clever in getting ahead of it all by saying that a number of the players in his squad are simply not good enough.

Whether that’s his attempt at putting any expectations in check or whether it’s his 3 envelope trick to try and motivate his players is anyone’s guess but it hasn’t worked.

England need a motivator, someone to shout at them, make them passionate about playing for the shirt. Maybe England don’t have the best players in the world but they are less than the sum of their parts at the minute and the main blame here should fall on the coach.

Gareth Southgate seems like a nice bloke. Well spoken, educated, knows the game. But I think he could be the cure to narcolepsy if only he’s given the chance.

Portugal won the Euro and they’re not exactly brimming with class. Yes they have a superstar but he missed the final. Look at Iceland, they came through a tough group. Even Switzerland, they seem to possess a similar record to England when qualifying but have far less “quality”.

I don’t buy the argument that England aren’t very good so people shouldn’t get their expectations up. It’s the national team, full of players playing in the Champions League.

I think all football fans (barring any irrational biases) love watching how passionate Jurgen Klopp and Antonio Conte get. Why can’t England find someone who has that sort of contagious passion to help inspire the national team?

All this stiff upper lip bollocks is just annoying. Someone going mental about a crap 5-yard pass and hugging players on the pitch at full time is just what the players need to make them feel they can do better.
Peter Stevenson, Cyprus.


…The very first football match I ever saw was the Euro 96 semi-final between Germany and England. I was in Birmingham at the time and while not British, the atmosphere that I saw that day made a fan out of me of the England football team. Being one though has proved a very disappointing affair which is why I prefer watching the Premier League more specifically Manchester United.

A lot of discourse in the media seems to be in trying to lower fans expectations as if it is unrealistic for fans to hope that their team does well or criticize if they don’t. Newsflash. This is what fans of any team / country do and with the amount of money being pumped into English football and the size of the fan following, it is only rational for fans to have expectations from the players. Any person who does not is simply not a fan. It is the players job to deal with these expectation on ground and the management to provide them support in this respect. Not for the fans to be providing a supporting environment.

Another excuse used is that the players are not good enough which too does not pass muster. One sports analyst claims that given the current crop of players, the English team is about 20th best in the world. I think that is the very definition of underselling. Truth be told, the back four with Kyle Walker, Rose, Harry Winks, Cahill, Shaw, Stones, Jones as options is equal to the best in the Premier League if not better. Similarly, there is a strong front four of Kane, Rashford, Dele Alli and Sterling that, if used effectively, can be among the best in the world. Southgate prefers to use Joe Hart, but Forster, Butland, Pickford are all quality keepers. The only area that they are lacking in is the Central Midfield where options are average but not dismal. This is to be expected as no team can have 11 world class players.

Granted there are a bunch of teams with far better quality squads. Of the top of my head, this includes France, Spain, Germany, Brazil, Argentina and possibly Belgium and Chile. All other teams I believe should be beatable by England.

This is where I would say the main issue is the manager and the appointment of Southgate has been a bad one. Neither his past experience or on the job performance has given any hope that he can do better. The above mentioned list of players clearly show that in terms of player quality, the team is among the top 8 in the world but given their track record, would be luck to reach the last 16. The only way we will see better results is with a better manager.
Adeel from Pakistan


Come in, Sir Alex
Southgate is not going to lead England to World Cup glory.

Meanwhile, one of the greatest mangers of all time is a sitting a home scratching his balls.

The English FA should fire Southgate (who quite honestly should never have gotten the job in the first place) and do whatever it takes to get Sir Alex off the laz-E-boy and lead England in Russia.
Brian (If only England were as ruthless as the club teams maybe they’d win something) LFC


Squad debate
Ok, so we know for sure that Southgate’s going with a back 3, so that near enough picks itself and will require 5 CBs and 4 full backs in the squad (I’ll come back to that). The most important thing now though is that Jordan Henderson must not be picked in the XI. Him and Dier simply cannot be played together in the centre of the midfield. If we have any hope of making the system work we need to play someone with speed of thought and a bit of nous alongside Dier who is still the best option we have as the “sitter” or “destroyer” (his recently highlighted faults notwithstanding). Given that Lallana is likely to feature behind Kane, I’d rather see Alli drop back to the deeper position instead of getting in the way of the Liverpool man (and vice-versa). This leaves a choice between a worker like Welbeck or trickier customer like Sterling to fill the final spot (the opposition will have a bearing on this, but I’d be inclined to go with Dat Guy). Assuming everyone’s fit and that Southgate won’t be replacing Hart anytime soon I’d like to see in a 3-4-2-1:

Hart; Cahill, Stones, Jones; Walker. Dier, Alli, Rose; Llalana, Welbeck; Kane.

With the overall squad being something like

Hart, Butland, Heaton
Cahill, Stones, Jones, Lascelles, Maguire
Walker, Trippier, Rose, Bertrand
Dier, Henderson (lets be realistic), Alli & Wilshere (you can do as many ladders as you want, but I guarantee you, if fit he’ll be on the plane)
Lallana, Welbeck, Sterling
Kane, Vardy, Rashford

Those of you who’ve stuck with me this long will have spotted that’s only 22 players. The flexibility of the system (and players like Alli & Rashford who are able to play in several positions) means there’s an opening for a creative player like Winks, Chamberlain (if he actually gets any minutes at Liverpool) or even Shelvey (temperament permitting). We know that some will end up injured so that opens the door again for other players on the fringes.

Thoughts fellow mailboxers?
David, Gooner, Sheffield


Where’s JWP?
Southampton fans might correct me here but is there any reason why Ward Prowse (if fit) was overlooked for an England call up over Winks?

Nothing against Winks but a suspension and a couple of injuries showed how woefully short we are of players who’re tacticallly astute and can play the ball forwards in under 3 touches without it being a bad Gerrard impression.

JWP hasn’t fully established himself as a mainstay in the Southampton XI but has looked more than reasonable, consistent starter on the right hand side in a struggling Saints team this season. His delivery is excellent and he’s put in his time in the U21s as well with 31 caps to Winks’ 2.


Torn Irishman
I love my country and love that we always seem to compete in qualifications and occasionally qualify BUT I think the FAI needs to take a long term look at what last night achieved.

As I watched the game I grew more jealous of Wales with every pass, I am torn between wanting Ireland to try play football but knowing we would be sacrificing our chances of qualifying for tournaments if we do. We were completely out played, not out fought or out committed but out played.

If last night’s footballing performance is accepted by the FAI then we will never make a step up or an improvement. There is not a huge difference between the two squads Bale aside but the difference in approach between the management teams is polar opposites. You could argue that MO’N got it right but what has actually achieved for the FUTURE of Irish football. I would imagine every child interested in football watched last nights game and Irish TV made heroes out of professional footballers who could not pass the ball to each other, what lessons does that teach the next generation…….?

A few guys on the mailbox were saying they would do an Irish World Cup Ladder and in my head I was thinking it would go something like this:

1. Duffy – can easily hoof a ball 70 yards
2. Meyler – doesn’t want the ball – he can start packing his bags
3. McClean – runs a lot and can occasionally score a goal
4. Randolph – refuses to play short to fullback and build from the back

I am not having a pop at the players, they are committed and when I watch them play for their clubs they pass the ball and move but it is obvious to me that they are being told to play this way for Ireland and I think MO’N is doing these guys a disservice.

Like I said in the beginning I am torn I think last nights success just further vindicates the FAI’s approach but I think that is wrong. I know we will never be Spain/Italy/Germany but we should be trying to replicate Belgium/Iceland/Wales…

Maybe I am wrong and should just enjoy the successes my country achieves through sheer guts and determination.
Paul (COYBIG) Dublin


More love for McClean
One thing that really struck me last night was the anonymity of Aaron Ramsey.

Ireland and Wales respective players that they rely on for a bit of magic and a goal threat, namely McClean and Ramsey, vastly differ in terms of talent and technique – with the latter being a far better footballer than the former.

But my word, I’d take McClean in my team all day. He does not stop running and gives 100% every single time. Whereas Ramsey, just like at Arsenal, goes missing when the heat is on. Even as an Irish fan I was a little disappointed at how terrible Ramsey was last night – I’d be raging if I was Welsh! It’s almost as if he’s so cock-sure he’s superior to the other players on the pitch that he doesn’t have to really try? The magic moment will somehow just manifest itself in front of him.

McClean is limited. He can be a hothead and a liability – see free kick in dying minutes -but I’ve seen very few international players willing to work as hard for their teammates, fans and country. If Ramsey wants to be regarded as a Welsh great, he could do with taking a leaf out of James book.
Dan, (Hard luck Wales, we loved you at the Euros) Dublin


What to do with Williams…
Nice to see that the Nigeria World Cup ladder was positively received because it really was quite good. I’m pretty sure there was a contributor some time ago who signed off from Reykjavik so am hoping he/she comes back to do an Iceland ladder. I know Iceland has like 37 citizens but it would be a great read (for me at least).
Off the top of my head, I have seen four goals this season scored directly from an Ashley Williams mistake. The throw-out by Hennessey was not the best in the world but Williams had more than enough time to get the ball up the field. There was an Everton game last month (against Man United I think) where Williams hit a hard backpass to Pickford. The problem is that he hit to Pickford’s right despite the young keeper being very much a leftie. Time to consider moving him to the right of a back three because that left-sided CB position is not working for him.
Greg Tric.


No tears for Wales
In response to FMS, Ashley Williams is not and has never been the reincarnation of Bobby Moore. He is rubbish [and other stuff we probably can’t publish – MC].

In other news, we can all be gutted that Wales, reigning European Champs, won’t be at the World Cup.

Wait? What’s that? They didn’t actually win Euro 2016?! Well this is extraordinary! Why didn’t anyone tell them?
Jonny, MUFC.


Some feedback
A slightly “meta” bit of mail here and not an entirely happy one so I should start by saying F365 is pretty much the only football journalism I regularly read and I’ve been reading it for ages. You’re sat in my bookmarks between BBC Sport and Netflix – prime position. With all that said, this email is to ask: what the hell are you doing with the Mailbox?

I don’t understand how you can publish thoughtful articles and Mediawatch sections about racism and hatred in football, and then publish people defending the FLA in the Mailbox. The FLA are not a “good faith” organisation, and they do not need help with their PR. They are a violently racist group who invite violent racists like Tommy Robinson to speak because they are violent racists. In fact, inviting Tommy Robinson makes perfect sense, because these were the precise roots of the EDL, who had a manifesto which very carefully said they were only against terrorism and fundamentalist Islam. Anyone who took them at their word is looking pretty stupid now. So too the FLA. The fight against “terror” has been used as a smokescreen for violent anti-Islamic and racist hate for a long time and there have been multiple accounts of racial abuse from the most recent FLA march.

What is there to be gained from a “let’s consider both sides” explanation from someone about a group of people who congregate on the streets to threaten anyone who isn’t sufficiently English? When you treat these people as legitimate you throw marginalised people under the bus, and you smear yourselves when you give a megaphone to anyone trying to defend the racists.

This isn’t an isolated incident. A couple of weeks ago you published someone saying they were triggered – a reference meant to mock the “trigger warnings” that rape victims use to deal with their PTSD. Posts about “liberal snowflakes” who care about racism. There is no commitment to publishing these people. Nobody needs to hear the views of people who think racism is “handwringing” or “offence culture”. It wouldn’t take you any time at all to find more examples.

Anyway, this has developed into a ramble. I hope you’ll publish and address this or even just reply, because you’ve lost a long term reader, and any kind of authority when you speak about racism on other websites. It would be nice if there was one outlet left who cared about this sort of thing.
Janis, Nottingham.


Pessimistic of Anfield
Prediction for Saturday’s early kick off.

Liverpool come out at 1000mph, United hold 11 men behind the ball. Liverpool run out of steam. United keep possession.

Last 10 minutes all United, while Liverpool cling for dear life.

Gaping error by a Centre back, goalkeeper, or more likely a left back, allowing for Rashford to score with a deflection off his arse. Full time 1-0 United.

Degsy eat your heart out.
Adam, LFC, Belfast.


Top ten most improved players
**World Googles ‘Nacho Monreal’ just to be certain, and yep he’s hardly missed a minute for Arsenal in 3 seasons**

Fringe my arse, he’s class.
Thom, Newport.


Nobody does it better
Tim Cahill, bloody hell… 37 years old but given the right service in the box is still able to bury them with his head with few betters in world football.

A brace that keeps Australia’s World Cup hopes alive. Massive way to bring up his 50th international goal.
Eddie, Melbourne.


Famous WC ladders
I, too, thoroughly enjoyed the Nigerian World Cup ladder, so here is a state of play from an Irish perspective. I know, we’ve only made the play-off but it’s still fun.

As with the F365 equivalent, it’s my estimation of Martin O’Neill’s thoughts rather than my own preference…

1 – James McClean.
Has had a serious rise in the last 18 months. Went from not being a guaranteed starter in 2016 to the first name on the team sheet. If he played with this tenacity at club level, he could be a star.
2- Seamus Coleman
Captain whose absence nearly derailed the whole campaign. The best player we have.
3- Darron Randolph
Has never under-performed in an Irish jersey. Not the best ‘keeper we’ve had (or, arguably, have) but MO’N won’t drop him barring an injury.
4 – Shane Duffy
A solid riser in this list after an exceptional Richard Dunne impression. Playing regular PL football too, which is something that not a lot on this list can say.
5 – Robbie Brady
Genuinely hasn’t performed that well since that game against Italy but, in a side short on unpredictability and quality, Brady is a shoo-in to start.
6 – Stephen Ward
In a side that needs predictability and quality, Ward is a shoo-in too. Excellent for Burnley over the last 12 months or so.
7 – Ciaran Clark
Doing a good job at club and country level right now. Long may it continue.
8 – Jonathan Walters
Never fails to put in a shift. Lower down this list because of a clutch of players in his position. He starts if fit, but there are options if he isn’t.
9 – Jeff Hendrick
Another playing relatively well at club level. Capable of magic, like we saw against Wales, just doesn’t do it enough yet. But head and shoulders ahead of most others in these positions.
10- Harry Arter
See: Hendrick, Jeff. Needs to bring his club performances to international level more frequently but is a very good player for us.
11 – David Meyler
May have dislodged Glen Whelan from the starting XI after two stellar performances in his last three games for Ireland. Captained the side twice – shame he will miss the first play off through suspension.
12 – Shane Long
Sliding fast, really. Awful for club and country over the last while. A runner and a trier, he creates space but really benefits from a lack of competition in this position.
13 – Glen Whelan
Until he retires, he will be putting out fires for MO’N. Always does a job for Ireland.
14 – Daryl Murphy
Firmly established as an international striker because of injuries to his contemporaries. Scoring well at club level which, sadly, not many of his rivals are.
15 – Wes Hoolahan
The most talented player Ireland have produced in a long time, it’s such a shame that it took so long for him to establish himself. Regardless of how much people want him to start, MO’N has (probably correctly) decided his use is better as an impact sub and/or option. Age and fitness very much not on his side but typically brilliant when he plays. Doesn’t track back, mind – a big issue when you play like we do.
16 – Cyrus Christie
Because of Coleman’s injuries. But, destined to not start if Coleman is fit because Coleman.
17 – Rob Elliot
It’s nice to not have to worry about your sub GK. Elliot’s injury during his last PL campaign likely scuppered his chance of being number 1 for the last two years. Randolph is reliable, Elliot can feel hard done by, though.
18 – Richard Keogh
Solid. I feel like I am saying that a lot.
19 – Callum O’Dowda
A surprise starter against Moldova. Young, but one that O’Neill likes in the wing areas.
20 – Keiren Westwood
Ireland’s best GK, inexplicably third choice, but it’s hard to see that changing.
21 – Kevin Long
Somehow established as our 3rd/4th choice CB. I had to Google his club. It’s Burnley. Has played 130 games in his entire career. He’s 27.
22 – Sean Maguire
A risky choice – set goalscoring records in the League of Ireland at Cork City (who won 20/21 games with him this season and crumbled since, they’ll fall over the line to claim the title in his absence) and started well at Preston. He may benefit because we are so short up top, may sneak in because of Kevin Doyle’s retirement.
23 – Aiden McGeady
Consistently there, consistently not involved. Dropped for O’Dowda in the absence of Brady et al against Moldova. That’s not a good sign. But, O’Neill favours those that he knows for his squads so he gets in this time – but probably for the last time.
24 – Greg Cunningham
Because I know we have more than one left-back, even if MO’N doesn’t.
25 – Eunan O’Kane
Seems to always be in the 30-man squads, never in the 23.
26 – John O’Shea
At 36 (37 by the time Russia starts), it’s hard to see him being involved without some injuries going in his favour.
27 – Colin Doyle
Because everyone needs a 4th choice keeper for when Westwood gets injured.
28 – Scott Hogan
A good finisher, likely to be important in the next qualifying campaign when Walters and, maybe, Murphy hang up their boots.
29 – Conor Hourihane
See: Hogan, Scott, but swap Walters and Murphy for Hoolahan.
30 – Daryl Horgan
Sure to be Aiden McGeady’s replacement as there, but not there in the next campaign.
31 – Alex Pearce. Back-up to the back-up back-up CB.
32 – John Egan. As above.
33 – Paul McShane. And again.
34 – Kieran O’Hara. U21 GK at Man Utd, has already trained with seniors. One for the future.
35 – Johnny Hayes. Somehow always gets in the extended squads.
36 – David McGoldrick. As above.
37 – Aiden O’Brien. A striker, apparently.
38 – Andy Boyle. [CB]
39 – Matt Doherty. [RB]
40 – Declan Rice. [CB, playing for West Ham…]
41 – Darron Gibson. Yep, still playing
42 – Reece Grego-Cox. Because we are so short on strikers
43 – Liam Kelly. An attacking mid at Reading, I’m told.
44 – Stephen Gleeson. 4 games in 10 years…
45 – Alan Browne. Former underage captain and Preston regular – surely he’ll be further up this list for the next one?
46 – Stephen Quinn. Because he’s somehow always in the squad.
47 – Adam Rooney. Once made a 37-man extended squad to play Georgia.
48 – Conor Masterson. Because he’s probably 5th choice CB at Liverpool by default.
49 – Josh Cullen. Starting at Bolton, one to watch.
50 – Gary Breen. Because we all dream…

So there we have it – telling the number of times ‘solid’ was used. Ireland are lucky to have so many players who absolutely give it their all when playing in the green jersey but we’re not so blessed with out and out quality.
A nice collection of youngsters and under 25s are likely to make a push over the next campaign or two when O’Neill’s favourites hang up their boots – it will be interesting to see who, if any, can make the grade.
Anyway, I am very excited to see who we get in the play-offs because I bloody love international football.
Kevin, LFC and a very proud Irishman this morning, Cork.


…Here is Didier Deschamps’ ladder for the 2018 world cup (if we make it) for France:
This was incredibly hard, a lot tougher that I would have thought. I kept playing around with the 23 to see who i would leave out and how it could be justified.

1) Griezmann: Lloris would have been #1 before his calamitous display in sweden. Griezmann is our star, and the team revolves around him, which is why Giroud still tends to start.
2) Lloris: Captain, player with the most cap, and undisputed number 1. He’s always been steady, and bar that mistake against Sweden, he has never been challenged.
3) Pogba: Since 2014, he has been our mainstay in Midfield. Doesn’t always deliver, but he will always start when healthy.
4) Koscielny: Our defense hasn’t always looked the most composed, but we need him if we want to go far in Russia. Umtiti and Varane are both excellent, but lack experience.
5) Varane: Dead cert to start alongside Koscielny in Russia.
6) Matuidi: Might not start, but at 31, one of the few experienced players in the group. And someone who starts for Juventus in midfield will always play for France.
7) Kante: Slowly gaining a place in the starting XI for France. Yet to fully reproduce his leicester and Chelsea performances for France, but if Deschamps sticks with the 4-4-2, he will be the big winner.
8) Mbappe: The future and present of this team. He will be there, and Deschamps will find a way to start him.
9) Payet: It is hard to predict who will start on the wings in France considering the competition, but you always need a deadball expert, thus Payet’s importance to the team.
10) Mendy: If healthy, which he should be by june, he will start after the displays of Kurzawa in that left back spot
11) Sidibe: The full back spots are open for competition, but you imagine it is the ones that led Monaco to such a great season last year that will start.
12) Giroud: Barring injury, he will be on the plane. Deschamps’ startings line up is hard to predict which is troubling, but Griezmann looks far more comfortable playing the big fella up front. His decent scoring record for France also helps his case.
13) Lemar: The monaco winger has impressed with France and Monaco. His latest injury may have cost him a place in the starting XI though.
14) Mandanda: He may never start in a major tournament, but he is a solid Number 2 for France.
15) Lacazette: With the amount of wingers coming, you need an out and out striker. Keep him form with Arsenal and he is certain of a place in the plane.
16) Umtiti: Has looked solid for France as a serious back-up option.
17) Rabiot: So good for PSG, yet to play for France. Hard to see him not on the plane though.
18) Jallet: Solid option for right back.
19) Thauvin: He has been on the team for the last few outings. Plays well for Marseille and we know Deschamps loves players who ply their trades in France.
20) Martial: He hasn’t been back in a while, but Deschamps likes him. If he continues like this, he will go to France despite not being selected last time out.
21) Kimpembe : Has taken another dimension since last season. If we bring four central defenders, he will most likely be the fourth one.
22) Areola: 3rd goalkeeper.
23) Kurzawa: If Deschamps does what he did in 2016, with 8 defenders and 6 forwards, then Kurzawa comes in. If not…
24) Dembele: Would join as the seventh forward. But he has to come back and play well for Barca after his 6 month injury layoff, if not…
25) Coman: Deschamps loves him, and while he may not get much playing time at Bayern, he is
26) Tolisso: Midfield spots are hard to come by, and he has been playing so well for Bayern. But right now, he isn’t on the plane.
27) Sissoko: People don’t like him. But he is a solid option, and has played well for France. IF dembele doesn’t come back in time, and if he continues to improve, he could be on the plane.
28) Digne: Decent option for the fullback spot. Played well enough against Bulgaria to stay in competition.
29) Fekir: The Lyon captain has a chance to claim a spot in this team, but he may pay for his team’s inconsistencies.
30) Bakayoko: Might make the team, but right now is on the outside looking in.
31) Rami : If he gets lucky again with others injuries, could join the team.
32) Gignac: Still scoring goals, but cost us euro 2016 with that post
33) Costil: fourth choice goalkeeper is a pretty crappy place to be.
34) Amavi : SToles Evra’s spot at Marseille, and maybe in the french set up as the back up to the back up.
35) M. Dembele, Great young striker, but may need to move from the SPL to play for France.
36) Laporte: Has played a few games, but won’t go to Russia barring many injuries.
37) Corchia: Decent player, but not good enough for thsi team.
38) Gonalons : Seems unlikely.
39) Cabaye : Has the experience, but too many younger and better options.
40) Zouma : Needs to start performing to join the french team.
41) Sakho : No matter how good you are, if your team is Crystal Palace, you wont join the French National Team.
42) Nzonzi: Great player, but that center midfield is just too good.
43) Schnerderlin: See above.
44) Evra: His performance have dropped too much for him to be considered.
45) L. Hernandez: Performances for Atletico have been goad.
46) T. Hernandez: Brothers reunited at last.
47) Souquet : Starts at Nice
48) Malcuit : Bielsa effect?
49) Ben Arfa : Leaves PSG in the winter, scores 20 goals and maybe he has a chance then.
50) Phil Neville has a better chance that Benzema and Nasri to play for the national team, unless Deschamps leaves.
Guillaume, Paris

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