The World Cup is now just three months away and whilst England fans have a rough idea of which players will be selected, a degree of uncertainty remains over the fringe positions.
This has prompted Sky Sports to compile a squad based on statistical “Power Rankings” rather than the gut feeling of Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate, with the results throwing up some interesting names to say the least.
Whilst the likes of Kyle Walker, Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane remain obvious selections, there are a decent number of picks that many wouldn’t expect if the squad were to be picked on reputation and pedigree alone. In goal, we see Burnley’s Nick Pope beating Joe Hart for the third goalkeepers’ spot, whilst in defence the likes of Tarkowski, Mee, Naughton and Dunk all make the grade.
In midfield, we see Mark Albrighton and Jack Cork getting the nod alongside Palace wide-man Andros Townsend, making for a different look to the one we’ve become accustomed to in recent months. You have to wonder how easy it would have been for Wilfried Zaha to make it into the current squad had he not been ignored for so long before deciding to represent the Ivory Coast but that’s a discussion for another time.
Up front, we see the familiar faces of Kane, Vardy and Rashford joined by former Palace striker Glenn Murray, whose rich vein of form has prompted Sky Sports to bang the drum for his inclusion on more than one occasion. With just two Premier League goals from Christian Benteke so far this term, Murray’s purple patch has been a much discussed topic amongst the Eagles’ faithful but whether or not it’s enough to earn him a place on the plane to Russia remains a topic worth debating.
What do you make of the squad? Is it a solid foundation for Southgate to plan from or scientifically created rubbish with no logic behind it?