Arsenal man tops list of over-worked England players but it’s not Bukayo Saka

Declan Rice, Kyle Walker and Marcus Rashford have played a lot of football.
Declan Rice, Kyle Walker and Marcus Rashford have played a lot of football.

We’re only in November but these 10 England players have all logged a shedload of minutes this season; we’re surprised to see Bukayo Saka so low.

We haven’t included goalkeepers because they can’t get tired but we have included outfield players with their minutes for club and country…

 

10) Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid): 1451 minutes
Please don’t break him, Real Madrid.

They have actually treated him with care at Real, resting him for cruises v Las Palmas and Braga, presumably wary of such a heavy workload on such a young body. That should hopefully play into the hands of England, who already look bereft without him. It seems very apt that he missed the November internationals with a shoulder injury; he is carrying the hopes of a nation.

 

9) Jarrod Bowen (West Ham): 1472 minutes
Now David Moyes has worked out that he is a better striker than Michail Antonio, he won’t get a minute’s rest at West Ham. He has played all 1080 minutes of the Premier League, started two of four Europa League games and was even roped into Carabao Cup action v Arsenal.

It’s a heavy workload but he would have welcomed more with England. As it stands, he has only been given 90 minutes v Australia this season and is very much behind Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden and possibly even Cole Palmer in the right-wing reckoning.

 

8) Ben White (Arsenal): 1487 minutes
And that’s while being persona non grata with Gareth Southgate.

Despite Arsenal having more depth this season, White has still started 11 of 12 Premier League games, all four Champions League clashes and even two Carabao Cup fixtures. Give the man a break, Mikel; it’s little wonder that he finally picked up an injury and missed the win over Burnley.

 

7) Marcus Rashford (Manchester United): 1533 minutes
He’s been in rotten form but that’s not enough to get him dropped for Manchester United, who have started in him in every Premier League and Champions League game for which he has been available, though he earned himself a rest with a red card v Copenhagen.

For England, he has played in all six games in 23/24, starting three times. He was excellent against Italy but rotten against both Malta and North Macedonia, but there’s nothing to suggest that he is about to lose his place for poor club or slightly better country.

 

6) Bukayo Saka (Arsenal): 1565 minutes
We assumed he would be closer to the top of this list because he has been famously overplayed, but he limped out of the defeat to Lens, missed the Manchester City win with a thigh injury and then played no part in the October internationals.

For club and country the quandary is the same: he’s too good to be risked in every single game, but too important to ever leave out, but at least the man above/below him on this list is a more-than-able deputy at international level.

 

5) Phil Foden (Manchester City): 1605 minutes
A genuine shock to see him so far up this list, but only Erling Haaland, Kyle Walker and Ederson have logged more minutes for City this season in the absence of the injured Kevin de Bruyne and the departed Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan.

And Foden has quietly played a part in all six England games this season, starting four of them, which is odd because not many would name him in their starting XI if Euro 2024 kicked off tomorrow.

 

4) Kieran Trippier (Newcastle United): 1712 minutes
He’s occasionally given 20 minutes off by Eddie Howe when Newcastle already have a game well won, but he has still started every Premier League and Champions League game. Tino Livramento might be his long-term replacement at Newcastle, but Trippier is going nowhere fast.

For England in 23/24, he has started more often at left-back than right-back, which tells you three things: a) Kyle Walker is bloody brilliant, b) England’s left-backs are made of balsa wood and c) Gareth Southgate loves Kieran Trippier.

Harry Kane scores for England

3) Harry Kane (Bayern Munich): 1734 minutes
He has scored 21 goals in 15 starts for Bayern Munich so there is literally zero chance of them giving him a rest. And certainly not while he is involved in a battle for the ages with Erling Haaland.

The slight problem for England is that we literally have no alternatives even close to the class of Kane. The battle between Callum Wilson, Ivan Toney and Ollie Watkins is just to kneel in his shadow.

Just don’t do yourself any kind of injury mischief while quietly helping yourself to 50 Bundesliga goals this season, okay fella?

 

2) Kyle Walker (Manchester City): 1815 minutes
It seems ludicrous that just a few months ago a devastated Walker was on the verge of leaving City after he was left out of the starting XI for the Champions League final when Pep Guardiola decided that he needed four centre-backs and no full-backs.

He was persuaded to stay rather than join Bayern Munich and he has played every single minute of this Premier League season.

And as we wrote in the latest England ladder: ‘It’s been five years now of Liverpool and Chelsea-led ‘Trent or James?’ debates but when push comes to tournament shove the answer really is still ‘Walker’.’ He’s been given leave to miss only the Australia friendly for England in 2023/24.

 

1) Declan Rice (Arsenal): 1874 minutes
Just a few months after walking through the door, Rice is already Arsenal’s most important player, starting every Premier League and Champions League game this season. He was afforded a rest in the Carabao Cup and Arsenal promptly lost 3-1 to West Ham, so they won’t try that again in a hurry.

For England he is third on our list of players we really, really, really cannot afford to be missing for Euro 2024. We are one twanged hamstring from a central midfield pivot of Kalvin Phillips and Jordan Henderson. If that does not send a shiver up your spine then we cannot be friends.