Ranking the England chances of 98 uncapped Premier League players under struggling Southgate

Matt Stead
Arsenal players Eddie Nketiah and Rob Holding compete

Gareth Southgate does not feel as though he has the Premier League options as England manager but there are some fine overlooked players from Arsenal down.


98) Junior Stanislas (Bournemouth)
Should probably rebrand as Senior Stanislas at 33. This does not get any better so back out now if you’re already shaking your head.


97) Steve Cook (Nottingham Forest)
The good news is that Steve Cook has already come to terms with it all, saying in October 2019 that: “It would be amazing if it were to happen. But if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. It wouldn’t change my thoughts about the game.”


96) Lewis O’Brien (Nottingham Forest)
Left in purgatory because of apparent Blackburn incompetence.


95) Divin Mubama (West Ham)
Whatever you say, West Ham.


94) Marc Albrighton (Leicester)
Starting to think it might never happen.


93) Sam Surridge (Nottingham Forest)
More bookings (four) than goals (three) in 650 first-team minutes for Nottingham Forest this season.


92) Ben Mee (Brentford)
Started alongside Jack Rodwell, Josh McEachran, James Vaughan and Nathan Delfouneso in his last appearance for an England team. His late red card in a 1-0 defeat to Italy U21s in February 2011 has been held against him for more than a decade. It’s time to let it go.


91) Adam Armstrong (Southampton)
Three goals in 47 Premier League games since joining Southampton for £15m.


90) Harry Toffolo (Nottingham Forest)
Six starts for Nottingham Forest in the Premier League, but none since October.


89) James Tomkins (Crystal Palace)
Caps for the U16s, U17s, U18s, U19s, U20s and U21s were converted to an appearance for Team GB in 2012 but that is as senior as things will get for Tomkins.


88) Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Man Utd)
It is probably time to make an appointment with DR Congo because Southgate wasn’t tempted by Aaron Wan-Bissaka when he looked like a glorious prospect so is hardly going to be persuaded by a Man Utd rotation option.


87) Jack Colback (Nottingham Forest)
All aboard the Ginger Pirlo train.


86) Lewis Brunt (Leicester)
Honestly no idea whatsoever.


85) Josh Onomah (Fulham)
Fourteen Premier League minutes for Fulham. Forty-three Championship minutes for Preston since joining on a free in January.


84) Harvey White (Spurs)
Spurs might have hoped for a little more when shipping the 21-year-old midfielder out to Derby for a brief League One loan.


83) Joel Ward (Crystal Palace)
Will certainly find minutes easier to come by under Roy Hodgson but being a favourite of the former England manager will not even slightly impact his hopes under the current incumbent.


82) Darko Gyabi (Leeds)
Not every player signed from the Manchester City academy can be an instant hit.


81) David Ozoh (Crystal Palace)
Given a minute against Newcastle in January and has not made as much as a Crystal Palace bench since. The 17-year-old will hardly be celebrating Hodgson’s appointment.


80) Ethan Nwaneri (Arsenal)
Well that certainly feels like it happened a sodding age ago. The 16-year-old has not made a senior Arsenal squad since that symbolic minute against Brentford in September, even with some irresponsible pundits getting real giddy.


79) Mateo Joseph (Leeds)
The son of Emile Heskey’s cousin made his first England U20 squad in March so is on the ladder, albeit a fair few rungs down.


78) Isaac Price (Everton)
One booking in 32 minutes. Those are genuinely elite numbers. Kalvin Phillips is next best and his yellow card came in a positively lengthy 56 minutes. Amateur.


77) Japhet Tanganga (Spurs)
“In life you have to have goals and one of my goals is to be capped at senior level for England.” Keep chasing that dream, fella.


76) Jay Stansfield (Fulham)
A lovely story, following in his late father’s footsteps on loan at League One Exeter.


75) Kobbie Mainoo (Man Utd)
The England U19 squad is absolutely fine for a 17-year-old with 10 Premier League minutes.


74) Adam Smith (Bournemouth)
Will still be Bournemouth’s first-choice right-back when Premier League games are played on the moon. Will still be some sort of catastrophic event away from ever being considered a viable England option.


73) Ryan Fredericks (Bournemouth)
That solitary England U19 cap won during a 3-0 defeat in 2011 probably won’t be improved upon and that shouldn’t need explaining further.


72) Craig Dawson (Wolves)
Still weird that he doesn’t have 76 Northern Ireland caps.


71) James Garner (Everton)
Some transfers perfectly capture the situation Everton find themselves in. Signing James Garner for £15m is one of them.


70) James Bree (Southampton)
have lost all four of the games James Bree has played in since joining in January. At least the right-back has had the chance to get his eye in for Saints’ U23s, who have lost on both of the occasions he has appeared for them.


69) Jack Stacey (Bournemouth)
Being an English right-back does not seem to be quite as trendy as it once was. No-one cares anymore, fella. All about socially aware and charming wide forwards now.


68) Joe Rothwell (Bournemouth)
More like No Rothwell.


67) Bobby Clark (Liverpool)
Every Premier League game he has ever played in has ended in a 9-0 victory. Which is to say he made his debut against Bournemouth in August and has not been seen since for Liverpool.


66) Ben Pearson (Bournemouth)
Is regularly injured and always – at least until next January – 28. Very beardy as well and this England team isn’t really, which feels deliberate from the facially follicly unchallenged boss.


65) Adam Forshaw (Leeds)
‘Middlesbrough’s Adam Forshaw assessed for surprise England call-up by Gareth Southgate,’ reads one Daily Telegraph headline from November 2016. That ship sailed long ago.


64) Jack Stephens (Bournemouth)
Had enough of losing 9-0 with Southampton so joined Bournemouth on loan four days after Liverpool smashed them at Anfield. Jack Stephens has his uses in a deep and well-organised defence but that performance against Aston Villa suggests his most feasible England pathway might be as a goalkeeper.


63) Flynn Downes (West Ham)
Come back to us when David Moyes is out of there, chief


62) Mason Holgate (Everton)
On his 10th permanent or caretaker Everton manager in almost eight years, which feels sub-optimal for a player’s development.


61) Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle)
“If there were one season I were to get called up it would have been the first season in the Premier League under Rafa,” Lascelles said in November 2020. “At the time then, it did kind of get to me – I thought what else can I do? But now I don’t even look at the England team sheet because I know I’m not going to get called up.”


60) Malcolm Ebiowei (Crystal Palace)
Playing more for Hull in the Championship than he did for Crystal Palace in the Premier League, but is also yet to feature in a win for the Tigers.


59) Sam Edozie (Southampton)
Managerial upheaval has not helped a 20-year-old who is yet to feature since Ruben Selles replaced Nathan Jones in the dugout.


58) Marcus Tavernier (Bournemouth)
Only three English players have successfully completed more dribbles this Premier League season but that honestly might count against Marcus Tavernier under the current management.


57) Ben Johnson (West Ham)
His last two Premier League appearances: right-back in a 4-0 defeat to Brighton; left-back in a 4-0 win over Nottingham Forest. That prude Southgate won’t respect such a beautiful all-or-nothing outlook on the game.

West Ham boss David Moyes


56) Ryan Yates (Nottingham Forest)
Important for Nottingham Forest. Non-existent for England.


55) Will Hughes (Crystal Palace)
Thanks for asking but probably not, no.


54) Tom Davies (Everton)
Last started a Premier League win in May 2021, when Carlo Ancelotti was his club manager.


53) Sam Greenwood (Leeds)
Yet to start for Leeds in the Premier League this calendar year.


52) Nat Phillips (Liverpool)
Will always have that turn at the San Siro.


51) Lewis Hall (Chelsea)
Playing games for Chelsea against Liverpool, Manchester City and Newcastle at the age of 18 boosts anyone’s prospects. Not playing at all since late January does not.


50) Joe Gelhardt (Leeds)
Perhaps has not kicked on in quite the way he, Leeds or Sunderland will have hoped on his loan in the Championship.


49) Elliot Anderson (Newcastle)
A wonderful cameo against Nottingham Forest but Scotland might have a few things to say about the future of their youth international who briefly switched allegiances to make one appearance for England’s U19s in 2019.


48) Cody Drameh (Leeds)
Things are going really rather well at Luton but still.


47) Matt Targett (Newcastle)
Made as many England U21 appearances under Southgate as Harry Kane. Might not match his numbers for the senior side.


46) Joe Worrall (Nottingham Forest)
Seven caps for England’s U20s and U21s will not be improved upon.


45) Djed Spence (Spurs)
Probably the single biggest winner of Antonio Conte’s impending departure. Rennes seem more than happy with his input so far.


44) Cameron Archer (Aston Villa)
Has six goals in as many games for England U20s and U21s. Has a five-year contract with Aston Villa. Has the middle name Desmond. And was last season’s EFL Trophy top scorer. None of his six pre-World Cup substitute appearances in the Premier League extended beyond nine minutes but six goals in 10 Championship starts for Middlesbrough keep him on the radar.


43) Rob Holding (Arsenal)
Captained the leaders in both domestic competitions and impressed in Europe this season, before coming in cold to slip on William Saliba’s imposing shoes against Crystal Palace and help Arsenal extend their Premier League lead. Probably ahead of Fikayo Tomori in the pecking order.


42) Jacob Murphy (Newcastle)
A good squad option for Newcastle is not England material.


41) Reiss Nelson (Arsenal)
Three goals and two assists in 102 Premier League minutes is an eye-catching record but England don’t seem too concerned about blocking Reiss Nelson’s Zimbabwean eligibility and it’s difficult to argue otherwise while his Arsenal opportunities are so scarce.


40) Josh Dasilva (Brentford)
Don’t know whether he remains braced or not


39) Lloyd Kelly (Bournemouth)
An ankle injury has restricted the Bournemouth captain to 12 appearances, in which the Cherries have conceded 22 goals and kept three clean sheets. Liverpool were once interested so it may be a case of finding a more suitable and less relegatey club home.


38) Jaidon Anthony (Bournemouth)
Back in January the bloke was 23, scoring Premier League goals and attracting interest from Arsenal. The only part of that triptych he has maintained heading into spring is his age.


37) Sean Longstaff (Newcastle)
Hey, Jack Cork has one England cap.


36) Keane Lewis-Potter (Brentford)
It’s slightly weird that Brentford can sign a forward for a club-record £16m ahead of Spurs and have barely played them months later but that’s the prerogative of a bus stop in Hounslow.


35) Luke Thomas (Leicester)
Never felt like more than a peripheral option when he was playing more often for a good Leicester side, so watching a bad one largely from the bench does not bode well.


34) Ryan Sessegnon (Spurs)
Injuries and the history of the Tottenham are not particularly conducive to player evolution.


33) Luke Ayling (Leeds)
Once name-checked by Southgate as a possible option in England’s “remarkable position of strength” at right-back, but Luke Ayling himself surely accepts that the Three Lions don’t play Wolves at Molineux on March 18 often enough to justify his selection.


32) Dan Burn (Newcastle)
Described as “very unlucky not to go to the World Cup” by Eddie Howe. The fact is he never really had a chance of coming through in his makeshift position at left-back, never mind as a centre-half.


31) Ellis Simms (Everton)
Should be a guaranteed starter if England ever face Kalidou Koulibaly’s Senegal. Ellis Simms loves a bleep test so will play regularly under Dyche.


30) Trevoh Chalobah (Chelsea)
A young, clearly quite talented and really rather experienced player at an elite Premier and Champions League club in an understocked England position would ordinarily have been integrated long ago but Nathaniel Chalobah still claims family bragging rights over his younger brother and it’s starting to feel like that might never change.


29) Noni Madueke (Chelsea)
Already in danger of getting lost in the Chelsea forward shuffle.


28) Max Kilman (Wolves)
Not missing a single Premier League minute this season would count for something if it wasn’t for a team which cannot drag itself away from a relegation fight.


27) Oliver Skipp (Spurs)
The wait for England’s first post-war international Oliver – Ollie Watkins does not count – goes on.


26) Carney Chukwuemeka (Chelsea)
Remains a fixture of the England U20 squad and any argument for a more senior role is undermined by just 224 Premier League minutes splashing around a deep Chelsea pool.


25) Michael Olise (Crystal Palace)
Eligible for England for as long as he is understandably overlooked by France. But England are hardly panicking and rushing to secure Olise as their own.


24) Curtis Jones (Liverpool)
It has been quite the fall from grace. Curtis Jones has started one Liverpool game all season and the Reds lost that to Nottingham Forest.


23) Jack Harrison (Leeds)
Three goals and six assists is a solid but ultimately unspectacular return for a 26-year-old.


22) Harrison Reed (Fulham)
In that sweet spot as a consistently very good player who should nevertheless not make the England grade yet can be held as an example by many as tiresome proof that Southgate does not pick on form.


21) Demarai Gray (Everton)
A September 2018 call-up suggests there is at least an awareness of the Premier League winner but England are not short of wide forwards.


20) Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace)
An Achilles injury spoiled his provisional Euros squad place and Eze was thought to have made the 55-man cut for the World Cup before being inevitably chopped, but his international prospects have simultaneously nosedived with Crystal Palace’s form.


19) Joe Whitworth (Crystal Palace)
Might have conceded five goals in his first two Premier League games but Marcus Bettinelli was once called up after letting in four goals in his first two Premier League games.


18) Cole Palmer (Manchester City)
Things will need to progress beyond cameo appearances in comfortable Manchester City strolls before any definitive predictions are made regarding the future of Cole Palmer.


17) Dwight McNeil (Everton)
Until England finally bite the bullet and bring in Sean Dyche to avoid another Nations League relegation, Dwight McNeil can focus solely on his club exploits.


16) Tosin Adarabioyo (Fulham)
No longer first-choice centre-half for a competent Fulham side and thus far from England selection.


15) Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (Leicester)
Being a Leicester regular really is not the badge of honour it once was, but there is plenty to be said for getting Premier League minutes.

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall.


14) Solly March (Brighton)
Always felt like precisely the kind of diligent, industrious, honest forward Southgate would like, with Roberto De Zerbi instilling a bit of edge and goalscoring prowess into the 28-year-old’s game.


13) Jacob Ramsey (Aston Villa)
“Jacob Ramsey is in my squad as well,” said an excitable Rio Ferdinand last April as he looked ahead to the World Cup, proving it is never a good idea to share an opinion with Gabby Agbonlahor. The midfielder is very obviously talented but Jacob Ramsey is doing just fine as he is for now and should be allowed to develop away from the spotlight; his time will come.


12) Ezri Konsa (Aston Villa)
Perhaps back on the international agenda after seemingly coming close a couple of times before falling away under Steven Gerrard. The new man in charge is brilliant and can crucially organise an actual defence, of which Konsa is a crucial part.


11) Adam Webster (Brighton)
Made the 55-man World Cup preliminary squad and had been in line for a proper March call-up before injury struck. It feels as though Adam Webster might well be Lewis Dunked: silently impressing for Brighton but never quite being given that proper England opportunity.


10) Jason Steele (Brighton)
Scoff all you like but this is the same Gareth who just responded to losing Nick Pope, Mason Mount and Marcus Rashford from his March squad by calling up Fraser Forster. The guy loves a back-up keeper.


9) Levi Colwill (Brighton)
As an elegant yet tough left-sided ball-playing centre-half, it comes as no surprise to see him registering in the manager’s thoughts. A January injury should only have delayed his shot at breaking up that central defence rather than scuppering it entirely.


8) Morgan Gibbs-White (Nottingham Forest)
“He’s having a good season at Forest. We think it’s a little bit early for him with us but we’re watching him closely,” said Southgate of Gibbs-White when justifying his March calls.


7) Anthony Gordon (Newcastle)
That £45m price tag alone makes Anthony Gordon a viable contender for selection but the expensive and uncapped 22-year-old probably needs a goal or an assist for Newcastle first.


6) Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal)
The world knew Eddie Nketiah could score goals. This is officially the greatest striker in England U21 history. His 28 at club level before this season were produced on a drip-feed of minutes but circumstances helped the forward force his way in at Arsenal and six goals in 11 starts as the hard-working replacement for Gabriel Jesus showed precisely what he is capable of. Things have been taken off the boil somewhat as Arsenal have found better options but Southgate must still be eager to give Nketiah the chance to never play ahead of Harry Kane.


5) Joe Willock (Newcastle)
Central midfield feels like the least fluid position in the England set-up and that absolutely counts against Joe Willock, but the 23-year-old has been one of the better players for Champions League-chasing Newcastle this season.


4) Rico Lewis (Manchester City)
Those 542 Premier League minutes for Manchester City this season are worth a couple thousand elsewhere. The opportunities have become a little more rare as the season has progressed but Pep Guardiola’s trust in the 18-year-old says an awful lot.


3) Harvey Elliott (Liverpool)
There is still something to be said for being an important part of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool squad, even if that sheen has faded considerably.


2) Rico Henry (Brentford)
‘Ooo, I might have to start picking Championship players,’ Gareth recently cried about a lack of “left-footed left-backs”, all while still ignoring the brilliant Rico Henry for no apparent reason.


1) Ivan Toney (Brentford)
Will he actually mark this England call-up with a first international cap? Don’t bet on it. Please.