Ranking the chances of 76 uncapped England starters

Will Ford
Ayling Eze Bologun

In this season and last, 76 players who are eligible for but uncapped by the Three Lions have started a Premier League game. 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 Gareth Southgate thinks.

Four of the 55 from the last ranking have now earned their coveted England cap.


76) Mark Noble (West Ham)
Wasn’t really all that close to a call-up at his peak and he’s a long way past that now. Captain in spirit only at West Ham these days.


75) Dale Stephens (Burnley)
The least likely of any Burnley player to be called up by Southgate, despite at least two of them not being English.


74) Marc Albrighton (Leicester)
The definition of a ‘fine servant’ for Leicester, he would have done a job for England five or so years ago, but fine wasn’t deemed good enough then and certainly isn’t now.


73) Will Norris (Burnley)
Started two Premier League games in the absence of Nick Pope and Bailey Peacock-Farrell last season, but has spent most of his career in League Two. Not going to happen.


72) Matthew Lowton (Burnley)
He’s a 32-year-old right-back, playing for Burnley – need we say more? We’ll apologise now for the Burnley narrative…


71) Ashley Barnes (Burnley)
Didn’t get the call-up at a point in which he was unfairly being lumped in with the lumps, and won’t now injury has resulted in him more fairly being lumped in with the lumps.


70) Joel Ward (Crystal Palace)
Full credit to him for surviving the changing of the guard at Crystal Palace – he’s played every Premier League minute this season. But there are 15 (seriously) better, younger right-backs ahead of him in the queue.


69) Will Smallbone (Southampton)
Yet to be called up to the senior Republic of Ireland squad so he still could play for England, but his heart lies in The Emerald Isle.


68) Ashley Westwood (Burnley)
Vivienne, Tim, Lee and Russell all have better international prospects.


67) Dwight Gayle (Newcastle)
A very good Championship striker continues to waste his career in the Premier League.


66) Max Kilman (Wolves)
Three starts from three for Wolves this season suggests a futsal international could actually become a football international. But probably not.


65) Keinan Davis (Aston Villa)
His last international appearance came well over three years ago for the U20s. Wouldn’t even be included in this Premier League list had injury not scuppered a summer loan to Stoke.


64) Ben Mee (Burnley)
A very good defending defender, but Gareth Southgate has always wanted more than that.


63) Ben Gibson (Norwich)
Played one Premier League game for Burnley having been signed for a staggering £15m, scored a goal and never played again. Impressed in the Championship last season but has conceded ten in three top-flight games at the heart of Norwich’s defence.


62) Jacob Murphy (Newcastle)
There was a time when consistently starting for Newcastle put you in the England frame. That time was at least two decades ago.


61) Charlie Taylor (Burnley)
Plays on the right (or correct) side of defence to have some sort of chance, but plays for Burnley.


60) Isaac Hayden (Newcastle)
“I think the issue is that with the way that England play, they tend to go with a lot more attacking, ‘flairy’ type of players in that area,” said Hayden a couple of years ago. It was Harry Winks and Jordan Henderson in possession of the midfield spots at that juncture. If they’re ‘flairy’, what must Hayden think of Jude Bellingham?


59) Dan Burn (Brighton)
He’s very big and good with his feet, but there are at least two Brighton defenders in with a better shot.


58) Josh Brownhill (Burnley)
Jack Cork was the last Burnley midfielder to be called up for England, in 2017. He may be the last; Brownhill won’t be the next.


57) Sean Longstaff (Newcastle)
To have already missed out on your chance to play for the senior England team by the age of 23 is unfortunate.


56) Carney Chukwuemeka (Aston Villa)
Made his first start Premier League start this season and Dean Smith is a big fan. One to keep an eye on as he is also eligible to play for Nigeria and Austria.


55) Jamie Shackleton (Leeds)
Bielsa says the 21-year-old has “increased his hierarchy in the group” over the summer, but unless he partners the lion of all Three Lions in central midfield, he’s unlikely to get a chance any time soon.


54) Nathan Tella (Southampton)
A goal and a delightful backheel assist against Fulham towards the end of last season was a clear indicator of the 22-year-old’s talent. But he’s played just ten minutes of the current campaign.


53) Freddie Woodman (Newcastle)
“I was basically living in a shed, which wasn’t that good,” Woodman said when asked about his time in Aberdeen – one destination of five in a career of loan spells thus far. He’s now finally made his Premier League debut, but a save percentage of 53.8% in three games doesn’t scream England call-up.


52) Ryan Fredericks (West Ham)
Not really good enough for West Ham nowadays and it’s not 1966, so he’s got no chance.


51) Luke Ayling (Leeds)
He would get in an England team of right-backs.


50) Ben Johnson (West Ham)
Probably wouldn’t get into an England team of right-backs, but he’s 21, not 30.


49) Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle)
He’s been in the worst XI of the week for two of the three Premier League games thus far. His defending is slightly less rotten than his passing.


48) Jonjoe Kenny (Everton)
He’s now had loan spells at Schalke and Celtic and can’t wait indefinitely for Seamus Coleman to stop being slightly better than him. A right-back.


47) Folarin Balogun (Arsenal)
Started the first game of the season and had three shots, all off target. Then again, the entire Arsenal squad have had seven shots on target in three games. Scored a couple of goals in the Europa League last season and clearly has something about him, just not enough for England, for now at least.


46) Anthony Gordon (Everton)
The new Ross Barkley would bite your hand off for the 33 England caps of his fellow Everton academy graduate and may now be better placed than the man marooned at Chelsea for a place in a Southgate squad.


45) Craig Dawson (West Ham)
He’s been utterly brilliant since joining West Ham from Watford, but his time has surely passed.


44) Max Aarons (Norwich)
One of those who is mythically far better than what we’ve seen in the Premier League. This is a big season for him. Right-back.


43) Jack Stephens (Southampton)
Southgate gave him his England U21 debut in 2015, but noting a pass percentage of 79.5% would have the England boss reaching for the hand sanitiser.


42) Brandon Williams (Norwich)
Remember when Brandon Williams was genuinely Manchester United’s best player? What a time to be alive. But in taking over as a far better left-back at United, Luke Shaw also pushed Williams way out of the England reckoning.


41) Hamza Choudhury (Leicester)
At 23 he’s no longer at an age at which he can happily sit on the bench and take starts and minutes when they come. But he’s somewhat stuck at Leicester after a proposed move to Newcastle fell through. Unlikely to get an England look-in unless he arrives at the new pastures he seeks.


40) Karl Darlow (Newcastle)
Has missed the start of the season due being hospitalised by coronavirus and could be reinstated for Cristiano Ronaldo’s homecoming, coronation, fawn-fest – whatever you want to call it. But there are a fair few slightly less average English goalkeepers around.


39) Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal)
The top dog of this feature a little under a year ago. Clairvoyant Stead said at the time: ‘An Arsenal regular seems certain to get his chance’. One just had, and we all bloody love him, but Bukayo Saka continues to be a regular, whereas Nketiah has seemingly joined the majority of the Arsenal youth in being cast aside by Mikel Arteta.


38) Matty Cash (Aston Villa)


37) Tom Davies (Everton)
A player who seems to constantly have to prove himself to new managers, before they play him and realise he is actually quite good at football. Would be named in every England B team squad going.


36) Jacob Ramsey (Aston Villa)
“I just felt that in his previous few games he has not got into the opposition box as much as he can do,” Dean Smith said of Villa’s talented youth product at the end of last season. And goals from a box-to-box midfielder are a sure way to catch Southgate’s eye.


35) Solly March (Brighton)
Too attacking to play as a left wing-back for England; not good enough to play as a left winger.


34) Rico Henry (Brentford)
Tipped to be one of six Championship players primed for a first England opportunity earlier this year, the left-back/left wing-back is now in a situation to properly stake that claim.


33) Kyle Walker-Peters (Southampton)
Pushed to left-back following the arrival of Valentino Livramento, who has simultaneously pushed him further down the England right-back rankings.


32) Matt Targett (Aston Villa)
Southgate was apparently close to giving Targett a chance back in March as he was ‘impressed with his consistent season and link-up with Jack Grealish’. Fingers crossed for a move to Manchester City.


31) Axel Tuanzebe (Aston Villa)
Forming a relationship with one or both of Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa can’t be a bad thing for his England hopes.


30) Valentino Livramento (Southampton)
Not a single senior appearance before this season and he’s played every Premier League minute following his move to Southampton. With a reported Chelsea buyback clause of £25m, everyone’s a winner. Plenty of current or former Chelsea full-backs to bypass, let alone the rest, but he will now at least be on Southgate’s radar.


29) Tyrick Mitchell (Crystal Palace)
Comparisons with Aaron Wan-Bissaka are obvious but in many ways fair. A very solid full-back in need of more attacking oomph.


28) Luke Thomas (Leicester)
Clearly a very talented full-back, but one of five very decent full-backs now on the books at Leicester. The summer signing of Ryan Bertrand must have needled him.


27) Todd Cantwell (Norwich)
Impressed in his debut Premier League season and will no doubt turn heads again this time around. Unfortunately for Cantwell, Mason Mount looks set to play in every England game until the end of time.


26) Oliver Skipp (Tottenham)
Has taken up the mantle from Harry Winks as the Spurs midfielder not quite good enough to play for Spurs but playing for Spurs anyway. And as we know, that results in an England call.


25) Jack Harrison (Leeds)
Agile, skilful and energetic England forwards are a dime a dozen these days. He will have to be spectacularly good, which is certainly possible.


24) Dwight McNeil (Burnley)
Interest in McNeil over the summer was conspicuous in its absence. Leave Burnley and his chances of a call-up would improve immediately and significantly.


23) Nathaniel Phillips (Liverpool)
“I’m excited for the next chapter and just to see what that brings,” Phillips said after signing a new Liverpool contract at the end of August. Frustration and boredom we suggest. A move away would have improved his England chances.


22) Ivan Toney (Brentford)
The only question is whether Toney will get the call before or after his move to Arsenal.


21) Joe Willock (Newcastle)
Continuation of his form of last season at Newcastle, when he scored eight goals in 11 starts, can’t conceivably be ignored for long.


20) Japhet Tanganga (Tottenham)
His place in the Spurs team isn’t doing him any harm, but his position is. Right of a back three would be ideal for him and useful for England.


19) Trevoh Chalobah (Chelsea)
Got into Thomas Tuchel’s side due to injuries and retained his status as a Chelsea player through those performances. The Jules Kounde mishap has worked gloriously in his favour. Playing semi-regularly in a title-chasing team is a big England tick.


18) Mason Holgate (Everton)
Has been consistently pretty solid for a fair while, but will need a few centre-back injuries to force his way in.


17) Adam Armstrong (Southampton)
A prime candidate to join Chris Sutton, Francis Jeffers, David Nugent, Dean Ashton, Kevin Davies, Jay Bothroyd and Jay Rodriguez in the one cap brigade.


16) Rob Holding (Arsenal)
From fourth to 16h. Playing as a defender for Arsenal will do that to you.


15) Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace)
New U21 boss Lee Carsley has selected the former Chelsea defender as captain of his side. Southgate will always value that leadership and experience at youth level. A senior call-up looks inevitable as things stand.


14) Curtis Jones (Liverpool)
Georginio Wijnaldum’s departure looked set to enhance his England claim, but he’s made the Liverpool bench just once so far this season. A fellow academy graduate has stolen the march for club and perhaps country…


13) Harvey Elliott (Liverpool)
“Yes, he is 18 years old; yes, there is still a lot to come,” Klopp said having started Elliott in two of Liverpool’s three Premier League games so far this season. “That’s all true, but there is already a lot there and I am really happy about that.” Southgate will require that bit more, but it’s coming.


12) Conor Gallagher (Crystal Palace)
Shone in a poor West Brom team last season and continues to shine in a better Crystal Palace team. Goals from midfield would be lovely for England.


11) Ademola Lookman (Leicester)
More key passes per game (1.97) than Phil Foden (1.89) last season and 11th in the Premier League for all players to start more than 20 games. For Fulham. A run of similar form for Leicester and he should get a shot.


10) Jarrod Bowen (West Ham)
There’s nothing like some tentative interest from Liverpool to enhance your status. David Moyes drew comparisons with Bowen and Jamie Vardy, and there’s no doubt there is a tenacious quality clearly evident in both players. Bowen will chase an England call-up like a dog after a bone and he’s yet to fetch and come up boneless.


9) Emile Smith-Rowe (Arsenal)
Such a beautiful footballer to watch, but in that role he needs to contribute more goals and assists to force Southgate’s hand.

Emile Smith Rowe Bukayo Saka Arsenal


8) Adam Webster (Brighton)
Did Arsenal sign the wrong centre-back? No, come on, let’s not start that. But back in February, it was Webster that Graham Potter was tipping for a Southgate call, not Ben White. *Lewis Dunk waves arms in disbelief*


7) Tariq Lamptey (Brighton)
Lamptey was arguably playing the best football of any English full-back last season before he was ruled out in December. It was a bold but bright move to leave Chelsea and the same outstanding form for Brighton this term would be tough to ignore.


6) James Justin (Leicester)
Before his cruciate ligament injury, Justin – like Lamptey – was also a viable candidate for top-performing English full-back. Being effective on both sides of a back four will be a huge lure for Southgate.


5) Demarai Gray (Everton)
Three of us selected the £1.7m summer signing as the biggest bloody bargain this season and after two goals in three games we can stop the count. “The work he did at the goal was exceptional but he also put a real shift in for the team and did his work off the ball,” Southgate said having handed Gray his U21 debut in 2016. Skill and work rate, you say? He bloody loves that.


4) Ezri Konsa (Aston Villa)
Much of the criticism aimed at Southgate for selecting Tyrone Mings for the Euros was based on the opinion that his Aston Villa centre-back partner is actually a better footballer. Konsa is closer to the stylish end of the style/substance scale and Southgate usually opts for one of each. He’s perhaps next in line for the John Stones, Ben White position.


3) Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Manchester United)
“Aaron is a very good defender, one against one he’s probably as good as I have seen, but I have to look at the balance of the team,” Southgate said in November last year. “Balance of the team” is not a particularly cryptic way of saying the boy can’t attack for toffee. This is a big season for Wan-Bissaka at Manchester United. If he can prove to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that the club don’t need a more attack-minded option in that area, that should also be good enough for Southgate.


2) Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)
Arsenal’s summer signing has apparently told his mates he expects to start for Mikel Arteta’s side. He surely will – not starting a £25m goalkeeper would be an audacious move. He spent all summer with England watching Jordan Pickford further cement his place as No.1 and now sits at home, back as fourth choice, with Nick Pope reinstated to the bench. But further injury will see him return to the fold and there will be a half of football in a friendly at some point.


1) Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace)
He was so, so close. Before his Achilles twanged in training to rule him out for six months, Eze had been told by Southgate that he was set to be named in England’s provisional squad for Euro 2020. Get well soon, Eze, it’s coming.