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On the plane or still at home? Ranking each England player’s chances of making it to Qatar

The 2022/23 European seasons are in full swing and England played two Nations League games last month, giving Gareth Southgate plenty of time to asses his World Cup squad ahead of November.

England lost to Italy and drew with Germany during the September break. League football has now resumed and players are doing everything they can to impress for their clubs.

But who has grabbed that brass ring and who is failing to take their opportunity? 101 Great Goals have taken a look at every player who has a chance of making it to Qatar and ranked how close they are to being on the plane to Qatar using three categories.

The first is ‘On the plane’ which suggests said player is basically guaranteed to be in Qatar barring some sort of injury problem.

The next is ‘At St George’s Park’, which means the player is certainly in the mix to be taken to the 2022 World Cup, but nothing is nailed just yet.

And the final category is ‘Still at home’, which means that player is still a long way off being included in England’s World Cup squad.

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Goalkeepers

Jordan Pickford (On the plane)

Nick Pope (On the plane)

Nick Pope has been in sensational form for Newcastle this season. The Magpies currently have the best defence in the division in no small part due to the former Burnley man.

Aaron Ramsdale (On the plane)

The man most likely to dethrone Pickford as England’s no.1 is Aaron Ramsdale. His on-the-ball work is superb and he is a good shot-stopper.

Dean Henderson (At home)

Henderson was included in the latest England squad due to Pickford’s injury but he seems unlikely to make it to Qatar after not even getting off the bench vs Germany and Italy.

Nottingham Forest have conceded a lot of goals this season, and whilst Henderson is not fully at fault, he has not covered himself in glory of late, especially vs Fulham.

Defenders

Conor Coady (At St George’s Park)

Coady has been performing well for Everton since his transfer from Wolves this past summer.

He is also a favourite of Southgate’s and is capable of operating in a back-three, which England play quite often.

Marc Guehi (At St George’s Park)

Guehi is once again in the latest England squad. He has continued to improve at Crystal Palace and has a decent shot of making it to Qatar if he can impress in the upcoming friendlies.

Eric Dier (On the plane)

Dier was once a favourite of Southgate’s and scored that crucial penalty in the last World Cup vs Colombia.

However, he was dropped by Southgate following poor form at Tottenham. But with Antonio Conte now at the helm, Dier is putting in some superb performances in a back-three for the Lilywhites. If he keeps up this form in the coming month, he will be going to Qatar.

John Stones (One the plane)

Another favourite of Southgate’s, Stones is likely to be a starter for England at the World Cup.

The centre-back has largely eradicated the mistakes from his game and is arguably the Three Lions’ best on-the-ball centre-back.

Ben White (At St George’s Park)

White’s impressive form for Arsenal combined with England’s injury woes at right-back have improved his chances of going to Qatar.

Fikayo Tomori (At St George’s Park)

Tomori has been one of the most consistent centre-backs in the Serie A for the last year and was named in the September squad.

However, he sees very little game time for England despite continuing to impress with Milan. He scored in their 2-0 win over Juventus at the weekend.

Harry Maguire (On the plane)

Maguire’s game time has been seriously limited this season and when he does play, he looks devoid of confidence.

However, he is a Southgate favourite and generally performs well for England. Maguire was solid vs Italy, even if most of the team played poorly. His display vs Germany was questionable, but he will still be going to Qatar.

Kieran Trippier (On the Plane)

Trippier has been a star player for Newcastle since his arrival for Atletico Madrid, contributing well at both ends of the pitch.

He is also capable of playing in a back-five and has filled in at left-wing-back for England several times, suggesting he will almost certainly be in the squad.

Luke Shaw (On the plane)

Like Maguire, Shaw has been a bit-part player for Manchester United this season but has managed to edge out Tyrell Malacia in the starting XI and will be hoping for a run of games before the World Cup starts.

England do not have too many left-back options and Shaw had a superb Euro 2020, so is likely to be rewarded by Southgate, who will be encouraged by a return to form.

Ben Chilwell (At St George’s Park)

There are many that would argue that Chilwell is a better left-back than Shaw. However, he too is seeing little action this season. Chilwell has started more under Graham Potter and played well, but who knows if that will be enough to get him a spot on the plane.

And at Euro 2020, Chilwell did not play a single minute for England, suggesting Southgate could opt to use Trippier and Shaw at left-back this winter.

Against Italy meanwhile, Chilwell was left on the bench with Bukayo Saka instead playing at LWB. Southgate clearly is not a fan.

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Kyle Walker (At St George’s Park)

Walker is out of action and it is unknown if he will be back in time to go to Qatar.

Reece James (At St George’s Park)

Picked up an injury vs AC Milan which means he may not be fit for the WC.

Trent Alexander-Arnold (At St George’s Park)

Southgate loves to select a lot of right-backs in every squad, which is the only real reason Alexander-Arnold has any chance of making it to Qatar.

Trent has been in woeful form this season, and starting him alongside Maguire or Stones would make England very weak defensively. For more insight into TAA’s decline in 2022/23, click here. He also did not see any action in the latest international break.

His latest performance – in the 3-2 defeat at Arsenal – was highly criticised and he was substituted at half-time amid claims of an injury, but it remains to be seen how serious it is.

Midfielders

Jude Bellingham (On the plane)

Bellingham continues to impress week-in, week-out for Dortmund, proving himself as one of the finest box-to-box options in Europe.

He is also included in the September squad, and was superb vs Italy and Germany, breaking the lines with impressive runs. Being handed the captain’s armband at Dortmund in recent weeks is another tick in the box.

Conor Gallagher (At home)

Gallagher has been devoid of confidence for Chelsea this season, struggling for form and game time. However, he has begun to slowly improve under Potter, but it may be too little too late. A stunning late winner against Crystal Palace hinted at his quality but he will need more of that if he is to force his way into the reckoning.

Declan Rice (On the plane)

Rice is England’s only real defensive midfield option and is sure to start every game this winter.

James Ward-Prowse (At St George’s Park)

Ward-Prowse was named in the latest England team despite offering little more than his set-piece ability.

But with Kalvin Phillips injured/not playing and Gallagher likely out of the picture, he could still make it to Qatar.

Jordan Henderson (On the plane)

Henderson’s decline for Liverpool this season has been pretty spectacular. However, he is a leader in the England squad and is definitely going to Qatar, even if he doesn’t start many games after the rise of Jude Bellingham.

Mason Mount (On the plane)

On form alone, Mason Mount should be nowhere near the England squad. His first goal contributions of the season came against Wolves on Saturday when he provided two assists.

But again, Southgate is a fan and he is unlikely to be dropped before the tournament. Mount also scored against Germany to serve as a reminder of his qualities.

Kalvin Phillips (At St George’s Park)

Has impressed for England in the past, including at Euro 2020, but his injury issues – he had shoulder surgery after pulling out of the squads to face Italy and Germany – and lack of playing time make him a doubt for Qatar.

Forwards

Bukayo Saka (On the Plane)

Saka has been in good form for Arsenal this season, scoring three and assisting four in eight league matches.

England also have a lack of natural right-wingers, which probably means his place is guaranteed. Saka provided an assist in England’s 3-3 draw with Germany.

Jadon Sancho (At home)

Sancho has improved somewhat for Manchester United under Erik ten Hag.

However, he has been on the fringes with England for a while, and after not making the September squad, it seems unlikely Southgate will change his mind now.

Marcus Rashford (At St George’s Park)

Rashford fell out of favour with England following injury/form issues and appears to have been overtaken in the pecking order both out wide and up front.

But he is now looking back to his best for United and has a decent chance of making it Qatar if he carries on his current form. He missed out on the September games due to injury, but Southgate knows what he is getting from Rashford so he could easily be drafted back in.

Jack Grealish (On the plane)

Grealish had a slow start to the campaign for Manchester City but he has looked much sharper in recent weeks, scoring against Wolves in GW8. He might not be a starter for England, but the signs are that he has taken a step forward and can be a valuable bench option.

Phil Foden (On the plane)

Foden is arguably the best wide option England currently have. He is not afraid to take on players and he was a big miss at the Euro 2020 final. His form at Manchester City, where he has been combining in deadly fashion with Erling Haaland, suggest he should be on of the first names on the team sheet.

Raheem Sterling (On the plane)

Despite Chelsea’s poor start to the campaign, Sterling has scored four and assisted two in 10.

He is also a Southgate favourite and almost single-handedly got the Three Lions out of their Euro 2020 group when Kane was not scoring. Sterling is sure to be on the plane no matter what he does for the next month or so.

Ivan Toney (At home)

Toney has impressed for Brentford this season and was handed a call-up for the September games. His spot on the plane likely depended on how well he performed vs Italy and Germany. However, he did not even make the squad against Italy and was an unused sub against Germany.

Tammy Abraham (At St George’s Park)

The man competing with Toney for a spot in Qatar is Abraham. He has not been in spectacular form for Roma so far this season.

Harry Kane (On the plane)

Likely to become England’s top scorer of all-time soon, Golden Boot at the 2018 World Cup, England’s top scorer at major tournaments – obviously Kane is going to Qatar with the armband in his hand luggage to boot.

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Josh Barker

Middlesbrough fan from the North East of England. @JoshBarker979 on Twitter.

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