England’s best starting XI made up of players that weren’t selected to feature in the World Cup qualifiers
Gareth Southgate announced his England squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers last week.
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Southgate’s selection has remainly mostly the same as the one that took the Three Lions all the way to the Euro 2020 final, with the likes of Phil Foden, Kalvin Phillips and Jack Grealish now becoming a permanent fixture in the squad, whilst former Chelsea duo Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham have been brought into the fold after positive spells in Italy.
England have a handful of players missing out on the upcoming fixtures due to injury - such as Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Reece James - while there are some that just missed out despite impressive starts to the season.
Here we pick the best England starting XI made up of players that weren’t selected for the ties against Andorra and Hungary (not including players that miss out due to injury)...
While Burnley may be struggling this season, Nick Pope has proved himself time and time again in between the sticks since making his breakthrough for the club a few years back.
The 29-year-old has often featured in the England squad since making his debut in 2019 and he became the first keeper to keep a clean sheet in his first six appearances for his country earlier this year.
However, Pope missed out on a place in the Euro 2020 squad after undergoing surgery on his knee and Southgate has admitted his recovery is the reason why he has been left out this time round.
Matty Cash has massively impressed for Aston Villa since his switch from Nottingham Forest last summer and it is extremely unfortunate how many brilliant right-backs England already have. With the likes of Kyle Walker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Reece James and Kieran Trippier already solidifying themselves as Southgate’s main choices, it looks unlikely that Cash will break into the international set-up anytime soon.
Behind the current crop of right-backs that Southgate favours, I believe Cash has been the best of the rest and offers an attacking threat that someone like Aaron Wan-Bissaka will not. However, it is looking like the 24-year-old may opt to play for Poland given his desire to play in the World Cup.
Ezri Konsa & Lewis Dunk
Ezri Konsa has shone for Aston Villa this year and many football fans were calling for the former Brentford defender to take teammate Tyrone Mings’ place in the Euro 2020 squad.
The 23-year-old has been exceptional at the back for Dean Smith’s side and with Mings and Conor Coady both turning 29 next year, Konsa could be nearing a chance in the England squad.
Meanwhile, Lewis Dunk has been a solid member of Brighton & Hove Albion’s defence since they were promoted to the promoted to the Premier League in 2017 and was handed his one and only England cap in a friendly against United States in 2018.
The Seagulls captain has been superb for his boyhood club and has played a vital part in their brilliant start to the season which sees Graham Potter’s side sit two points from the top of the Premier League - picking up clean sheets and conceding only five goals in seven matches.
Aaron Cresswell’s name has popped up in many debates on England’s left-back position, however due to the resurgence of Manchester United’s Luke Shaw over the past year, it is unlikely anyone is going to dislodge him from his spot in the starting XI.
However, Ben Chilwell appears to be out of favour at Chelsea under Thomas Tuchel and given West Ham’s form, it is likely Cresswell is the next best option after Shaw.
Jude Bellingham & James Ward-Prowse
Jude Bellingham is easily the best English player to miss out on a spot in the national team squad this time round after impressing in England’s last set of international fixtures and also enjoying a brilliant spell in the Bundesliga.
It was very surprising to see the Borussia Dortmund midfielder left out of Southgate’s squad but there is no doubt we will see him return ahead of next year’s World Cup.
Meanwhile, James Ward-Prowse has been a shining star during a disappointing period for Southampton and there were many complaints when the 26-year-old wasn’t taken to the Euros.
Ward-Prowse is easily one of England’s best free-kick specialists and should be given a chance in an England shirt just because of that.
Mason Greenwood, Jarrod Bowen & Andros Townsend
There were plenty of attacking options for this starting XI, with Curtis Jones and Demarai Gray narrowly missing out.
Greenwood has had a brilliant start to the season for Manchester United and kept his place in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team even after the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 20-year-old’s absence was one of the most surprising, however it has been reported that the Red Devils’ boss asked for his star boy to be left out of the England squad.
Jarrod Bowen has also enjoyed an excellent start to the campaign and is showing exactly why he had so much hype surrounding him during his time in the Championship and is fulfilling his price-tag.
The winger was linked with Liverpool in the summer which was met by sniggers and scoffs from the Merseyside support, however he has recently shown exactly why Jurgen Klopp may have been interested in him.
Elsewhere, Andros Townsend is another easy addition to the starting XI given his goalscoring record this season.
Everton fans were rather underwhelmed when they signed the 30-year-old on a free transfer following his release from Crystal Palace, however - alongside Gray - Townsend has been unbelievable so far and has bagged five goals and assisted three in nine Premier League matches.
The winger hasn’t made an appearance for the Three Lions since earning his tenth cap in a Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania, but is definitely deserved of another chance on the international stage if he keeps up his current form.
Despite scoring more goals for Aston Villa this season, Danny Ings missed out on a spot in the England squad to his club teammate Ollie Watkins.
The former Southampton striker has scored twice since his arrival in Birmingham and showed his goalscoring ability last season while on the south coast.
Even though Harry Kane is struggling for form this season, it is unlikely that he will be knocked off his perch anytime soon, while the likes of Ings, Watkins and Bamford are likely to be fighting for the final spot in the England squad - with Everton’s Calvert-Lewin also likely to be guaranteed his place when fit.