Picking an England Starting Lineup From Players Not Selected in the Latest Three Lions Squad

11 November 2020 04:45

It's pretty well-documented that the England job is the hardest management role in the world. Fact. It turned the accomplished Steve McClaren into an umbrella-wielding laughing stock, Fabio Capello into a fraud and Sam Allardyce into an unsuspecting whistle-blower.

So, for Gareth Southgate to still be in the job four years on from his first sip of the poisoned chalice, that's good going. And right now, we're living through one of the more exciting periods in the Three Lions' recent history.

The Premier League is blessed with a plethora of young, English talent, all being given a chance to demonstrate their ability on the biggest stage of all, while other starlets are absolutely killing it abroad.

However, there are some casualties. As always. Several high-profile names have missed out on a call-up, despite making a blistering start to the new campaign - and frankly, some fanbases are losing their minds over this sacrilege.

It got us thinking, too. Could we make an England team composed purely of players who have been shunned by their national team coach for the latest round of international fixtures? Yes. Yes we could. Here is 90min's effort, for your entertainment.

Goalkeeper & Defenders

1. Alex McCarthy (GK)

"Really? Jordan Pickford and Nick Pope ahead of me?" | Visionhaus/Getty Images

Not a strong start, we'll admit. Scanning the names of first-choice goalkeepers in the Premier League who could become a Three Lion, it quickly became painfully apparent that Alex McCarthy is the best of a very, very bad bunch.

Still, the 30-year-old has been in the England squad before, and is currently between the sticks for the fourth-best team in the Premier League, in Southampton. Can't argue with that data!

2. Tariq Lamptey (RB)

Looking at the queue of English right-backs in the Premier League | Pool/Getty Images

What a gem Brighton & Hove Albion have unearthed here. Pinched from Chelsea's relentless academy, Tariq Lamptey has thrived on the south coast, benefitting from the trust of his coach Graham Potter and regular first-team minutes.

The 20-year-old has been a revelation for the Seagulls, and his aptitude in both attack and defence make him an incredibly exciting prospect. Unfortunately, the starlet occupies a role in which England are currently stacked, meaning he has to settle for action with the Under-21s - for now.

3. Chris Smalling (CB)

"You merely adopted the clean sheet, I was born with it" | Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

The forgotten man of English football. It may come as a shock or even raise a giggle on British shores, but Chris Smalling is viewed as one of the best centre-backs in Serie A over in Italy. That is not down to a lack of talent on their behalf, either.

The former Manchester United man has taken to Serie A like a duck to water with AS Roma, and I Giallorossi's hopes for the summer transfer window were entirely pinned on the big defender's return. He has polished and improved his game away from the Old Trafford spotlight, and must be in consideration, given the lack of centre-back options at Southgate's disposal.

4. Ezri Konsa (CB)

Slowed down by the weight of Alexandre Lacazette in his pocket | James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

It's safe to say, that while Tyrone Mings is Aston Villa's star centre-back, their form has certainly rocketed since Ezri Konsa became an established member of the backline.

The 23-year-old took some time to settle into the top flight last year, but his partnership with Mings was critical to the Villans' dramatic run of form, which saw them pick up eight points from the final four games and escape seemingly-inevitable relegation. Now more assured of his place in the team, Konsa has helped Villa concede only nine goals this season - less than Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Man Utd. Not bad going, son.

5. James Justin (LB)

Ben Who-well? | Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

The first Leicester City entry - and by no means the last. James Justin has filled the large boots left by the departed Ben Chilwell, and he's slipped into them like a pair of warm, comfy slippers.

The 22-year-old was used sparingly last year by Brendan Rodgers, but now the shackles have been removed, there is no stopping the 22-year-old. The greatest compliment you could pay Justin, is that Chilwell's absence has barely been noticed by Foxes fans.


6. Ben White (CDM)

Leeds United supporter Ben White | Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Yes, we have moved Ben White into a holding midfield position because there appears to be a black hole where the talented crop of English midfielders once stood.

In fairness, Brighton boss Potter has also performed this trick on a number of occasions in the Premier League, and if it's good enough for the wizard of Hove Albion, it's good enough for us!

7. James Maddison (CM)

"You what?! Not included again?!" | Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Okay, so Norwich City haven't retired the number #23 jersey in his honour yet , but surely James Maddison has done enough to get in the squad ahead of Birmingham City legend Jude Bellingham?!

He may have hit a slight dip in form towards the end of last season, but the 23-year-old is back with a bang for the Foxes, playing a key role in their rise to the top of the table. If Jack Grealish didn't exist, this guy would be most talked-about victim of the Southgate regime.

8. Ross Barkley (CM)

Sending a message. to SouthgAte? | Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Let's be honest, the move to Chelsea really did Ross Barkley no favours, did it? It seems only yesterday that he was a precocious 16-year-old, impatiently knocking down the Premier League doors with Everton. In the blink of an eye he's turned 26, seen his dream move transform into a nightmare, and ended up on loan at Aston Villa. How time flies.

The midfielder is back in form though, and demonstrating just why he was one of Southgate's favourites not so long ago. Another few months of consistent displays alongside Grealish and John McGinn, and Barkley will be back in the England boss' good books.


9. Mason Greenwood (RW)

Destined for greatness | Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Speaking of Southgate's good books, here's a kid who's done his time on the naughty list. Jokes aside, Mason Greenwood must be cursing his behaviour on his first senior call-up with the Three Lions, and he doesn't need telling that he really mucked it up.

But the return of equally-foolish Phil Foden proves that the door remains wide open to the 19-year-old, so long as he ups his game for Man Utd. The ability is clear to see, and it won't be long before Greenwood is a bonafide superstar for club and country.

10. Ollie Watkins (ST)

"This Premier League lark is pretty easy, eh?" | Visionhaus/Getty Images

Actually some decent competition for the centre-forward spot, with Patrick Bamford also making an electric start to the season. But Watkins edges it, with his brace at the Emirates Stadium just about putting him ahead of the Leeds United man. A hat-trick against Liverpool did him no harm, either.

The 24-year-old is embracing life in the top division, and he looks to have all the makings of a Premier League goalscorer. And before you ask, no, Jamie Vardy is not in contention, given he has retired from international duty. What a bloody shame, all the same.

11. Harvey Barnes (LW)

Barnes has added plenty of end product to his already impressive game | Visionhaus/Getty Images

This lad is incredibly unfortunate to still find himself out of the England picture. Harvey Barnes has been tearing it up on the left wing for Leicester this season, and his dynamic, pacy game is perfect for Rodgers' counter-attacking system.

Funnily enough, it's a very similar tactic to the one which Southgate is attempting to fine-tune with the Three Lions, although he's struggling to find the balance which has seen the Foxes hit the Premier League summit. Barnes is playing out of his skin, and must fancy his chances for a call-up before the season is out.

Source: 90min