Gareth Southgate bloody loves naming a big old England squad. Members of that big old England squad similarly love dropping out because Liverpool or Manchester United force them to, thus creating opportunities for players on the outside looking in.
So far this season, 69 players who are eligible for but uncapped by the Three Lions have started at least five Premier League games. We rank them by order of probability they get a chance, from least likely to most, based not on our opinion but on what we reckon Southgate thinks.
69) Billy Sharp (Sheffield United)
The oldest England debutant this millennium was Kevin Davies. The Bolton striker was one year and 189 days younger than Billy Sharp is now when he played against Montenegro in October 2010. The only player 30 or over given their first England cap by Gareth Southgate was Tom Heaton in May 2016. A real shame.
68) Scott Dann (Crystal Palace)
The above argument probably applies to 34-year-old Scott Dann, too. He ticks the necessary centre-half box but little else.
67) Kyle Bartley (West Brom)
He has scored as many goals as he has kept clean sheets with West Brom this season. If only Big Sam lasted more than one game in charge.
66) Ashley Westwood (Burnley)
Vivienne, Tim and Lee all have better international prospects.
65) Matt Lowton (Burnley)
He will retire a Ferencvaros legend but not an England international.
64) Conor Townsend (West Brom)
Couldn’t pick him out of a line-up. Won’t have to when it comes to England.
63) Chris Basham (Sheffield United)
Silly of him to be both brilliant and 32.
62) Michail Antonio (West Ham)
“Jamaica called but if I keep doing what I’m doing hopefully I can get an England call,” he said in March 2016. Times have changed and good for him.
61) Marc Albrighton (Leicester)
If he didn’t get in as an actual Premier League title holder then the ship has probably sailed.
60) Joel Ward (Crystal Palace)
Has played 70 games for Roy Hodgson, as many as 58-year-old former Basel, Neuchatel Xamax and Swtizerland striker Beat Sutter, but all of them have come at Crystal Palace.
59) Ryan Fredericks (West Ham)
Losing his place at club level to Vladimir Coufal seems careless at a time when one potential English right-back is being born every minute.
58) Jack Robinson (Sheffield United)
It was November 2014 when a 21-year-old Jack Robinson was invited, alongside fellow England youth stalwart Jamaal Lascelles, to train with Hodgson’s senior squad. That was as close as he would ever come.
57) John Lundstram (Sheffield United)
The bandwagon’s wheels fell off long ago.
56) Max Lowe (Sheffield United)
How many oxymoronic names have ever been recognised at international level?
55) Ashley Barnes (Burnley)
Has as much chance of playing for Austria, who rejected his application for citizenship in February 2019. Ever the diplomat, Southgate once described “the type of service” Barnes receives at Burnley as “a bit different” to what England offer.
54) Ben Mee (Burnley)
Joins much of this list in having played for a former England manager at some point, although a few games on loan at Leicester under Sven-Goran Eriksson a decade ago probably counts against him.
53) Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Manchester United)
Next time people insist there is an inherent bias against teams outside the elite when it comes to England selection, and that a player merely needs to be on the books of a Big Six side to get a call-up, just remember that Aaron Wan-Bissaka was closer to Southgate’s squad when he was breaking through at Crystal Palace than he is as a £45m Manchester United full-back. Congo apparently awaits.
52) Jayden Bogle (Sheffield United)
“I think he would have been impressed with Jayden Bogle,” said Frank Lampard in September 2018, pretending that Southgate was at Derby’s draw with Blackburn to do anything other than watch Mason Mount. “That is not me shouting for Jayden Bogle for the England team, don’t get me wrong, but I thought his performance in the first half, particularly, was incredible,” the future and former Chelsea manager added.
51) Isaac Hayden (Newcastle)
It benefits him that he has clearly discovered a way to reverse the ageing process. Hayden has been 25 for at least three years. He probably deserves a shot to be honest, particularly considering you only have to go back to 2017 for the last of Jake Livermore’s seven caps in central midfield. In this case it probably is the club holding him back.
50) Karlan Grant (West Brom)
West Brom’s joint-sixth top scorer this season does not have a goal to his name since late October.
49) George Baldock (Sheffield United)
“I think I’m eligible and it would be amazing, a real proud moment, if it could happen,” said Baldock last summer. “I’m hoping the paperwork can be signed off and it would be brilliant. I’d never turn it down. I want to play international football and it would be a great honour to represent Greece.” Didn’t see that coming, did you?
48) Luke Ayling (Leeds)
His surname pretty much sums up his England prospects.
47) Kean Bryan (Sheffield United)
Doesn’t feel like enough people appreciate how difficult it must be to bear the burden of a name that is an amalgamation of two original members of Westlife.
46) Craig Dawson (West Ham)
At least David Moyes is clearly impressed by the man with three caps for Great Britain.
45) Jacob Murphy (Newcastle)
Don’t be daft.
44) Joe Bryan (Fulham)
43) Sean Longstaff (Newcastle)
Not even a year has passed since his name appeared alongside a valuation of £50m in headlines. 2020 was the weirdest.
42) Dan Burn (Brighton)
Imagine France rocking up to the Euros and shitting themselves at the sight of England’s new 6ft 7ins full-back.
41) Darnell Furlong (West Brom)
The queue of right-backs ahead of Furlong stretches approximately an eighth of a mile.
40) Jack Stephens (Southampton)
He might be waiting for the call from recently admitted CONIFA members Cornwall.
39) Tyrick Mitchell (Crystal Palace)
It is genuinely impressive that he is 21 and essentially a Premier League first-team regular without any representation whatsoever at England youth level. Even when Manchester United sign him for £45m in the summer that won’t change.
38) Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle)
Read No. 58)
37) Max Kilman (Wolves)
“We are watching him. But in order to play for the national team, he needs to obtain a Ukrainian passport,” said head coach Andriy Shevchenko of England futsal international and Wolves centre-half Max Kilman in November 2020. Odd sentence.
36) Charlie Taylor (Burnley)
To be clear, only a spate of injuries would give him even a slight chance. But he is fairly young at 27 and has plenty of experience.
35) Tosin Adarabioyo (Fulham)
It was just last week that Adarabioyo stated his intention to “push myself into that squad” for this summer’s Euros. Not that outlandish, perhaps, when you consider his 15 caps at England youth level and solid performances for an improving Fulham this season. He’s still far behind in the pecking order, mind.
34) Ben Osborn (Sheffield United)
If Stuart Pearce sees enough in you to praise your “character”, “determination” and “mentality”, that’s probably a decent sign.
33) Grady Diangana (West Brom)
David Moyes 1-0 Mark Noble and Jack Wilshere.
32) Rob Holding (Arsenal)
Needs to retain a consistent place in the Arsenal side first but he will always be on the periphery at worst, particularly if Mikel Arteta takes him to Barcelona.
31) Josh Brownhill (Burnley)
Could benefit from the versatility that has seen him start on the right in a 3-0 defeat to Chelsea, in the middle for the 1-0 victory over Liverpool and on the left in a losing effort to Tottenham. Just really not sure Burnley is the place for England hopefuls.
30) Joe Willock (Newcastle)
Playing pretty well for Newcastle but he won’t be on the senior radar just yet.
29) Rhian Brewster (Sheffield United)
Ah mate. That move has set him way back. Brewster has had a shot on target every 146.8 minutes for Sheffield United this season. A drop to the Championship, with the Blades or otherwise, will probably do him some good. Maybe he should start wearing his shirt back to front?
28) Sam Johnstone (West Brom)
No keeper has made more saves in the Premier League this season. But no keeper has conceded more goals. Neither stat is all that surprising.
27) Solly March (Brighton)
Southgate handed Solly March and all his full-named glory a first England youth call-up in 2014. In another era he’d probably have a handful of senior caps on the left but this is Bukayo Saka’s world and we are all just living in it.
26) Che Adams (Southampton)
It seemed nailed on at one point when he had four goals and four assists in his first 13 games of the Premier League season. Adams has added to neither column in 11 subsequent appearances.
25) Harrison Reed (Fulham)
Being quietly excellent for Fulham might not suffice unfortunately.
24) Aaron Ramsdale (Sheffield United)
Not the best of seasons, no, but a marked improvement recently should do a little reputational safeguarding against two relegations. Marcus Bettinelli getting a call-up in September 2018 gives us all hope.
23) Dwight McNeil (Burnley)
Love him but things have slowed a little and there’s that whole playing for Burnley thing.
22) Ademola Lookman (Fulham)
Nigeria are said to be lurking and the abundance of attacking talent at England’s disposal could lead to some soul-searching.
21) Nat Phillips (Liverpool)
Regular opportunities for the Premier League champions has helped, but it still seems very unlikely.
20) Karl Darlow (Newcastle)
He might have been given a courtesy call-up in an ordinary season but Darlow has lost his Newcastle place to Martin Dubravka and, with it, any prospect of comparing arm lengths with Jordan Pickford.
19) Matt Targett (Aston Villa)
Put to him that Southgate would have been happy with the performances of Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa at centre-half against Leeds as Aston Villa thrived without Jack Grealish, Dean Smith was at pains to put forth the “fantastic” Targett’s case. Seems fair.
18) Tom Davies (Everton)
His relationship with much of the Everton fanbase has long been strangely fractured, but Davies has formed a key part of Carlo Ancelotti’s recent midfield. A total of 58 caps at England youth level can’t hurt.
17) Adam Webster (Brighton)
Brighton haven’t lost a game by more than a single goal when Webster has played since early October. You never know.
16) Conor Gallagher (West Brom)
His time with West Brom has, against all odds, boosted his standing. It remains to be seen what Chelsea do with Gallagher upon his return but his time will almost certainly come eventually.
15) Mason Holgate (Everton)
There is a Jamaican option but Holgate might be advised to bide his time and keep honing his talents under one of the best coaches in world football.
14) Tariq Lamptey (Brighton)
The 20-year-old would be so much higher here if it wasn’t for the hamstring injury that has sidelined him since mid-December. There is a fear that his style lends itself to such muscle issues but if he can pick up where he left off then England is on the horizon at some point.
12) Jack Harrison (Leeds)
The most impressive attacking player currently in the Premier League’s bottom half this season? Such a case could be made for the 24-year-old, although the competition might be too much.
11) Kyle Walker-Peters (Southampton)
So many bloody right-backs. But Walker-Peters had been wonderful for Southampton before succumbing to an injury that saw him miss the 9-0 and, indeed, most of their recent dreadful run.
10) Emile Smith Rowe (Arsenal)
It’s a case of when, not if.
9) Ben Godfrey (Everton)
Genuinely might be one of the most underrated signings of the season. It’s not just Liverpool who can pluck a rough diamond from the obscurity of relegation.
8) Ben White (Brighton)
Does his reputation precede him? Those £50m valuations and links to Liverpool, Manchester City and more jar a little with his role as an almost ever-present for a side battling the drop. It also might surprise you to learn he has no England youth experience at 23. His style is likely to get him a call-up at some point either way.
7) Matty Cash (Aston Villa)
“There’s been contact with my agent about playing for Poland and it’s something that I would look at. I just have to keep playing well and keep progressing before I make any decision. It’s nice to have an option.” It’s at this stage that I’m regretting pitching this feature and not an idea about English players eligible for countries you wouldn’t expect.
6) Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace)
Yes please, although he probably needs out of Selhurst Park/away from Roy Hodgson for it.
5) Jarrod Bowen (West Ham)
Eight goals and assists in 26 Premier League games for West Ham is unremarkable. Yet there is a reason he plays so regularly for a team in contention for Champions League qualification. That reason is that he is good at football.
4) James Justin (Leicester)
Bloody injuries. Genuinely reckon he’d have made it to the Euros otherwise.
3) Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa)
Having taken every other career opportunity presented to him, the international transition would presumably be simple enough. Double figures in his first top-flight season already means he isn’t far away.
2) Curtis Jones (Liverpool)
Happy to confirm it’s weird that an English 20-year-old is featuring quite prominently and impressively for the reigning Premier League winners and recent European champions, seemingly without ever being involved in the national team conversation. He ticks every box. There is not a single mark that could realistically count against him. It will happen.
1) Patrick Bamford (Leeds)
Harry Kane leads the line. Dominic Calvert-Lewin is at the front of the queue. And after that comes a bit of a free for all. None of Tammy Abraham, Danny Ings or Mason Greenwood can honestly say they have been better than Patrick Bamford this season. He’s earned it.