With a friendly in Germany before the World Cup qualifier against Lithuania next week, Gareth Southgate has some decisions to make before he announces his England squad today.
While it’s highly unlikely that he will ring any significant changes, there is always the possibility that there will be a surprise inclusion.
Southgate’s decision won’t be an easy one given the array of fine performances this season, so here are three alternative squads based on our statistics to make his job a little easier.
Per 90 minutes (10+ games)
Goalkeepers: Lee Grant, Tom Heaton, Jordan Pickford
Defenders: Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Gary Cahill, John Stones, Leighton Baines, Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, James Milner
Midfielders: Harry Winks, Michael Carrick, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jesse Lingard, Junior Stanislas, Adam Lallana, Jordan Henderson, Jack Wilshere
Attackers: Daniel Sturridge, Andy Carroll, Jermain Defoe, Theo Walcott
Lee Grant, who only made his move to Stoke permanent in January, has filled the void left by Jack Butland and put in a notably remarkable performance at the Etihad just last week.
With nine clean sheets in his 23 appearances and an average of 2.65 saves per match, the 34-year-old is deserving of a call up.
Defensively, England shape up fairly similarly to how we’ve seen over the past few years. The statistics show that there may be a recall for Leighton Baines who has impressed in a reinvigorate Everton side.
The left-back has scored two goals, created 23 chances and averages four defensive actions per 90 minutes. He’s fallen out of favour in the last couple of years, but the statistics show he’s deserving of a recall.
In midfielder, there would be first senior call ups for Harry Winks and Junior Stanislas. Winks has an astonishing 91% pass accuracy in his 19 appearances and is yet to make a defensive error this season.
Stanislas might surprise you. The Bournemouth winger, who has struggled to cement his place in Howe’s side, has excelled in his 15 appearances, making 80% of his passes and creating 16 chances. He has also netted four goals.
Up front, it is no surprise to see a recall for Jermain Defoe who has scored 14 goals in his 26 Sunderland appearances, singlehandedly leading their fight against relegation.
Per game (10+ matches)
Goalkeepers: Lee Grant, Jordan Pickford, Tom Heaton
Defenders: Phil Jones, Gary Cahill, Ben Gibson, John Stones, Leighton Baines, Ryan Bertrand, Kyle Walker, Calum Chambers
Midfielders: Michael Carrick, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, Junior Stanislas, Ross Barkley, Nathan Redmond, Dele Alli, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Attackers: Jermain Defoe, Andy Carroll, Theo Walcott, Raheem Sterling
Per game, there are a few squad changes which alter the shape of the squad somewhat. The goalkeepers remain the same, but in defence there are call ups for Middlesbrough’s Ben Gibson and Calum Chambers.
Gibson, who averages nine defensive actions per game and wins 51% of his duels, has led from the back as Boro tussle with relegation. Arsenal loanee Calum Chambers, however, is involved in 11 defensive actions per game and, like his teammate, wins 51% of his battles on the pitch.
In midfield Junior Stanislas maintains his place but most significantly, Nathan Redmond finally earns a promotion from the Under-21 side. The pacey winger has scored five goals this season, perhaps slightly less than he would have wanted, but makes up for it with his 43 chances created.
Michael Carrick, a deserved call up in both squads (per 90 minutes and per game), warrants his place if not for anything but his 90% pass accuracy.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has only scored two goals this season, ranks well for his 21 key passes, 70% take-on completion and his 82% pass accuracy.
In attack, Carroll retains his place having won 61% aerial duels. Walcott also keeps his place for both squads, boasting eight goals and nine key passes in his 20 appearances.
This time, there is a place for Raheem Sterling who has looked a different player under Pep Guardiola and has bagged six goals and five assists this term. Aside from that, he’s been successful 58% of the time with his take ons and has made a breathtaking 30 key passes. The Guardiola effect.
Goalkeepers: Lee Grant, Tom Heaton, Jordan Pickford
Defenders: Charlie Daniels, Leighton Baines, Kyle Walker, Nathaniel Clyne, Gary Cahill, Steve Cook, Ben Gibson, John Stones
Midfielders: Dele Alli, Ross Barkley, Adam Lallana, Raheem Sterling, Michail Antonio, Nathan Redmond, Eric Dier, Jason Puncheon
Attackers: Jermain Defoe, Theo Walcott, Jamie Vardy, Andre Gray
The 23-man squad decided by MatchBoss points earned this season throws up some interesting call ups. In goal, there is little change as Grant, Heaton and Pickford lead the way once more.
In defence, there are call ups for Bournemouth’s Charlie Daniels and Steve Cook. In Daniels’ 24 appearances, he has scored three, created 23 chances all while maintaining a pass accuracy of 82%. The centre-back Cook earns his first call-up with his average of 13 defensive actions per game alongside his 67% success rate in the air.
In midfield, there is an opportunity for Michail Antonio’s first cap. The resourceful right-back, winger and striker has scored nine goals this season, but most impressively has created 27 chances this season while averaging three defensive actions per game. A true all-rounder. Crystal Palace’s playmaker Jason Puncheon also gets the nod.
The excellent Dele Alli leads the way with 13 goals and three assists, while his teammate Eric Dier earns his place with an 86% pass accuracy and average of six defensive actions per game. That, and Spurs’ brilliant defensive record.
Up front, there is an unlikely call up for Burnley’s Andre Gray who has forged an industrious partnership with Ashley Barnes at Burnley. Wayne Rooney maintains his place, though, injury may prevent him from involvement this time around.
Back and scoring, Jamie Vardy has done enough to warrant him a call up, at least as far as MatchBoss is concerned. His seven goals and three assists will suffice for now, and it is likely he will be called for duty once more.