England's centre-midfield options - ranked

28 March 2022 03:30

Few international teams can rival England for strength in depth.

From front to back, Gareth Southgate is blessed with a ludicrous amount of different options with each squad announcement invariably greeted with shrieks of: "WHY ISN'T X PLAYER INCLUDED YOU PIZZA HUT ADVERT CLOWN!!!!!"

Centre-midfield is no different. Southgate has often been criticised for keeping it safe in the middle of the park but he has shown glimpses of more invention in recent times.

Here is where England's top midfield options sit in the pecking order.

(Sort of) Honourable mentions: Harry Winks, Oliver Skipp, Joe Willock, Tom Davies, Jack Wilshere (only joking)

10. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Oxlade-Chamberlain is well off the squad | Visionhaus/GettyImages

Hanging on to the top ten by the skin of his teeth is the perennially-injured Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Despite his ailing health, when he is on form the Liverpool man offers Southgate great drive in the middle of the park. Still, he's miles off the squad at the moment.

9. Jacob Ramsey

Ramsey could get senior honours soon | Matthew Ashton - AMA/GettyImages

One for the future here for sure. Jacob Ramsey is clearly loving playing under Steven Gerrard this season.

A supreme technician whose positioning is extremely intelligent, Ramsey also plays with an aggression that makes him a nightmare for opponents. He will get a call up sooner or later.

8. Curtis Jones

Jones is a Under-21 mainstay | Matthew Ashton - AMA/GettyImages

Liverpool's injury crisis saw Curtis Jones play a lot more football than he was likely anticipating during the 2020/21 season.

He rose to the challenge exceptionally and after shaking off a few knocks himself, has risen back up the Reds' pecking order. Jones is supremely tidy which is one of the traits Southgate craves in his midfield.

7. Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall

Dewsbury-Hall has had a terrific season | Visionhaus/GettyImages

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall's rise to prominence this season has been remarkable.

Despite his promising loan spell at Luton Town last season, no one could have predicted just how well he would fare this time out. Dewsbury-Hall has adjusted to the Premier League fantastically and has a good chance of winning the club's player of the season award.

6. James Ward-Prowse

Ward-Prowse has made a string of England squads recently | Michael Regan/GettyImages

James Ward-Prowse has been on the periphery of England's starting XI for some time.

There is very little required of a midfielder that the Southampton skipper cannot do and his pinpoint set-piece delivery makes him stand out from the crowd.

All it will take is a few injuries and Ward-Prowse could find himself in the first-team more regularly.

5. Kalvin Phillips

Phillips has had a tough time with injuries | Laurence Griffiths/GettyImages

The 2020/21 England men's player of the year has endured an injury-hit 2021/22 season.

This has seen him plummet down the depth chart but it's not all doom and gloom for the Leeds midfielder. Southgate has consistently shown a propensity to treat England almost like a club side.

Once Phillips is back to full fitness he could very easily be restored to the starting XI.

4. Conor Gallagher

Gallagher has improved massively this season | Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

Conor Gallagher showed flashes of his brilliance on loan at West Brom last season, but he has clicked into another gear at Crystal Palace this campaign.

The midfield dynamo is the heartbeat of Patrick Vieira's young, exciting team and he looks destined to be handed some sort of role at Chelsea next term.

A promising international career seemingly awaits too.

3. Jude Bellingham

Bellingham is a Bundesliga star | Dean Mouhtaropoulos/GettyImages

Southgate has been patient in bedding Jude Bellingham into the England team but there's little doubt that he is a future Three Lions stalwart.

Bellingham has been ripping up the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund for a few years now and is capable of playing as a deeper-lying, box-to-box or advanced midfielder.

Yeah, he really is that good.

2. Jordan Henderson

Henderson scored at Euro 2020 | Ettore Ferrari - Pool/GettyImages

Mr Reliable Jordan Henderson may have missed out on the majority of Euro 2020 with injury but he has returned to full fitness this season.

An expert in plugging holes and making those in front of him flourish, Henderson's experience and guile in the middle is a huge asset to England.

1. Declan Rice

Rice initially declared for the Republic of Ireland | Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

Declan Rice is top of this list and it's not close.

Rice seems a near certainty to wear the captain's armband when Harry Kane finally stops banging in goals and his decision to switch international allegiances was one of the most significant moments in the development of this Three Lions team.

Capable of dominating games with ease, he is only set to get better over the next few years.

Source: 90min