England World Cup squad rankings: Who will make Qatar and what are the prospects for Leeds United hopefuls?
England have played their last match and had their last training session before Gareth Southgate picks his provisional World Cup squad on October 19.
It leaves only three or four Premier League matches and for some a couple of European games to play their way into or out of the Three Lions’ plans for Qatar.
Seventeen, maybe 18, of the squad look nailed on if they can just avoid injury between now and November 19 when the party has to be finalised, two days before England play Iran. A few more will be in if they can recover from worryingly-timed injuries.
But for the first time in this unique World Cup, managers will be allowed to pick 26 players, so some will still wake up with butterflies until Southgate’s number flashes on their phones in mid-October.
Here we assess how the last international break, which featured a defeat to Italy and a draw with Germany, has affected the pecking order to make the squad, looking at who has progressed (+), regressed (-) and stood still (/).
1. Harry Kane +
It's possible injury could rule him out of the World Cup but given England's history, that is no guarantee. Only his third goal in England's 18-match Nations League history – he has played in all of them – further secured him, even if it was a penalty, but not as much as hogging every minutes of playing time. A certainty, and rightly so.
2. Jordan Pickford +
If his recovery from injury is anywhere near as fast as expected, Pickford will also be starting against Iran on November 21. Southgate is a big fan and Nick Pope's woes as the only goalkeeper to play during this break only strengthened his position.
3. Raheem Sterling /
Having become a man Southgate can rely on in their big games, it would have been very almost impossible for the Chelsea forward to play his way out of the squad. Made runs Germany struggled to cope with on Monday, but his shooting was rather easier to stop.
4. Kieran Trippier /
Not playing was never going to harm the Newcastle United defender’s chances because Southgate trusts him implicitly on the big occasions. In a long queue of right-backs but crucially for him, the manager trusts him equally on the left. It would be a massive shock if a fit Trippier missed out.
5. Declan Rice +
Started both games as the holding midfielder. If anything, Jude Bellingham's growing stature makes the defensive security he provides even more important.
6. Kyle Walker +
Another who was already inked into the squad, Eric Dier's emergence indirectly threatened the man from Sheffield’s starting place in a back three, but his competition there –John Stones – picked up a concerning injury at Wembley.
7. Jude Bellingham +
One of the few to advance his case in Italy, he built on it against Germany and was further helped by a Kalvin Phillips injury. Offers the more positive midfield option fans and media have been crying out for for ages.
8. Bukayo Saka +
A Southgate favourite, he did not look like a left wing-back in the San Siro but was the real deal when he came on as a right-winger against Germany, making Mason Mount's goal with a brilliant run.
9. Eric Dier +
Not in the picture a fortnight ago, Dier has shot up the pecking order with his assured performances in the centre of the back three, helped further by the struggles others have with fitness or form. The way he seamlessly returned to the fold having apparently been written off will give hope to a number of players nervous about October 19.
10. Phil Foden –
His huge talent should guarantee he makes the trip, but the two games showed how England are struggling to make the most of it. Mount showed him up after replacing him on Monday so his starting place is not guaranteed but his squad place is.
11. Jack Grealish –
No longer the man frustrated England fans champion first, he seems set in his role as an impact substitute and at this World Cup, they will be important.
12. Reece James +
Looks the first choice at right wing-back, if not right-back. Only cemented that in the last two matches.
13. Luke Shaw +
Big question marks about England's goalscorer in the last European Championship final grew further when Saka was preferred at left wing-back in Italy but his performance against Germany despite his lack of Manchester United minutes suggest he could be England's only specialist left-back in Qatar.
14. Conor Coady /
In a similar position to Trippier, albeit without quite the same ability or experience. Throughout the last European Championship, Southgate constantly sang the praises of Coady for what he was doing off the field and whilst he might well not play in Qatar, his reputation as a good tourist means the manager will still want the centre-back there.
15. Mason Mount +
Needed the wonderful goal he swept in at Wembley as his star has been on the wane since the European Championship kicked off playing in a department of the team fierce in competition.
16. Jordan Henderson +
Another whose value to the squad outweighs his diminishing importance on the field, but Phillips’ injury has bumped him up the pecking order there too.
17. Aaron Ramsdale +
Pope's unconvincing probably mean the former Sheffield United goalkeeper is stronger for this international break despite never having made it off the bench.
18. Harry Maguire –
Hard to judge the Sheffield-born centre-back's standing precisely. When he was named on the teamsheet for both games, it looked like nothing could stop the out-of-favour Manchester United captain going to Qatar but he did his best to question that with some costly errors against Germany. On the plus side, he came into the European Championship cold through injury and made the team of the tournament but this time a year's poor club form is compounding his lack of minutes. All it takes to cement him is a couple of good club performances but will they come?
19. Nick Pope –
Oh Nick. Unconvincing with his feet, such a strength of Pickford's, he could have done without his late spill to cost England victory against Germany
20. John Stones –
No reflection on his football, which was limited to 37 minutes, but the state of the centre-back from Barnsley's hamstring, which could threaten his involvement. So important he could start the tournament unfit a la Maguire at the Euros, and still make the 26-man squad.
21. Kalvin Phillips –
Judging by the selections of Maguire, Shaw and others, it is the Leeds-born midfielder's shoulder injury rather than form or lack of football which have made this a bad month for him. Touch and go to be fit, it seems. Like his Manchester City team-mate Stones, he only needs to be somewhere near.
22. Marcus Rashford +
The summer was a shot across the bows for the forward, but he will be breathing easier after having seen how his rivals for a squad place failed to take advantage against Italy and Germany, and more conciliatory comments from his manager.
23. Tammy Abraham –
The manager's refusal to look at Plan Bs at centre-forward is almost begging fate to break Kane's metatarsal in early November. The next centre-forward in the pecking order one assumes, but Rashford and Sterling can play down the middle in their own ways.
24. Dean Henderson /
With ground to make up after a wasted 2021-22, the former Sheffield United goalkeeper is one of a number of players who could really have done with some gametime and did not get it. Although 24th in this list, with only three goalkeepers likely to go to Qatar, he looks like he is missing the flight just now.
25. Ben Chilwell –
Leaving him out of the squad for Italy entirely but not starting Shaw either was an almighty slap in the face for the one-time Huddersfield Town loanee. Incredible to think when the Euros kicked off just 15 months ago he was neck and neck with Shaw for the left-back slot.
26. Jadon Sancho /
Arguably benefitted from not being involved but certainly no further back. He still needs a good month of club football – maybe a very good month – if he wants to play in his first World Cup.
27. James Ward-Prowse –
His lack of involvement this month whilst Bellingham started twice suggest Ward-Prowse is forever destined to be a nearly man of this group, despite his excellence at taking the set-pieces which have been such a big part of England's threat under Southgate.
28. Tyrone Mings +Not involved and seemingly out of favour but as a left-sided centre-back Southgate knows well, Maguire's struggles improve his chances.
29. Jarrod Bowen –
Picked as the form horse in the summer but the ex-Hull City forward's form has deserted him now, leaving him on shaky ground.
30. Fikayo Tomori –
His Serie A form with AC Milan does not seem to be carrying the weight it might for the one-time Hull loanee, although the Germany game provided a chink of light for all the fringe centre-backs.
31. Marc Guehi –
Like Bowen, the Crystal Palace centre-back looked a rising star in the second half of last season but being involved in the squad during the toughest period of Southgate's England managerial career may have been a mixed blessing.
30. Conor Gallagher –
One of the big losers having been the coming man last season. How Graham Potter makes use of him could have a big say in his chances of going to Qatar but as things stand, it looks unlikely.
33. Ivan Toney –
Needed to make a big impression on his first call-up but the only opportunities he had came in training. Not getting a minute of football leaves the former Barnsley loanee's chances looking very slim.
34. Trent Alexander-Arnold –
No minutes and not even on the bench against Germany. So spoilt for choice, Southgate can take his pick when it comes to right-back and he just does not seem to be a fan of one of the Premier League's best. A couple of injuries could still put him on the plane, but without that, he will be getting a few weeks off this winter.
35. Patrick Bamford –
With only one cap to his name, September was the Leeds United centre-forward’s last chance to press his case and it has been and gone.
36. Jack Harrison /
Same situation as his Leeds team-mate above, only without the cap.
37. James Maddison /
It is possible there is a scenario which could see Maddison included in the 26-man squad, it is just really hard to imagine what it is.