The Cut Candidates

With less than a 100 days to the World Cup which England regulars should be looking over their shoulder?

Joe Hart (75 Caps)

He hasn’t played a Premier League game since November and West Ham are out of the cup, so where does that leave Hart with England? Jordan Pickford made an impressive England debut in November and looks the only viable alternative number 1 whilst Nick Pope is uncapped and Jack Butland struggles for form. If Hart can’t regain his place at West Ham from Adrian he can’t be considered England number 1 but with so little experience between the other 3 keepers in the mix it’s hard to see him not at least making the squad. Danger Rating 6/10

Gary Cahill (58 Caps)

What a difference a year has made at Chelsea- Cahill and David Luiz were indispensable in The Blues title triumph but both now find themselves down Antonio Conte’s pecking order. Cahill is fortunate England have switched to a back 3 where he along with Harry Maguire are the only high-profile candidates well suited to playing on the left of the 3. Cahill’s case is also strengthened by Michael Keane enduring a torrid season with Everton and Phil Jones struggling with injury. Cahill has probably fallen behind Maguire for a place in the first 11 but he looks the clear favourite to be the plan b option in that position. Danger Rating 4/10

Could the Chelsea skipper miss the plane?

Danny Rose (14 Caps)

After his 11 month injury layoff Rose announced his return with an impressive performance against Germany. But surprisingly Rose has struggled to move ahead of Ben Davies in the Spurs pecking order and has only 4 Premier League appearances to his name this season. Rose is clearly superior to Ryan Bertrand on the left (more on him later) but needs games to prove he can claim England’s number 3 shirt. Danger Rating 5/10

Danny Rose impressed for England but is struggling at Spurs

Ryan Bertrand (19 Caps)

Unlike most on this list Bertrand isn’t struggling for a regular game a club level but he’s showing distinctly average form in a struggling Southampton side. Bertrand’s a solid defensive player but seems less suited to the dynamic role required on the left of a 3-4-3 system. Meanwhile Ashley Young has produced an outstanding season at Manchester United winning an England recall in the process, worse still for Bertrand, Young produced more in 10 minutes against Brazil than Bertrand managed in the preceeding 80. It’s ultimately a 2 from 3 decision on the left and I suspect Bertrand is favourite to miss out. Danger Rating 8/10

Adam Lallana (33 Caps)

At the start of the season Lallana was the second name on the England team sheet and consistently their best player in World Cup qualifying. But Lallana missed the start of the season with a thigh injury and has struggled for games, fitness and form ever since. If he hits a run of form between now and the end of the domestic season Lallana is a shoe-in to go and possibly start, but at present he’s a borderline case to make the 23. The problem he has is England have plenty of options in attacking midfield and Lallana hasn’t got the pace to play 3-4-3 or a great record as a number 10. His creativity marks him out as a player offering something a little different but the re-emergence of Jack Wilshere offers much the same. A case from the recent past shows the peril of taking Lallana on current form- in 2010 Fabio Capello picked Joe Cole as his 23rd man on the grounds he offered a creative spark the side otherwise lacked, but short on games and form Cole bombed in South Africa, on his rare appearances looking off pace and flat, it was a smilier story with Wilshere in 2016- Southgate can’t afford a similar mistake in Russia. Danger Rating 7/10


Marcus Rashford (15 Caps)

Seen by most as the biggest loser in the Alexis Sanchez transfer, Rashford has been quiet of late. But his absence has at least in part been due to injury and with Sanchez struggling for form Mourinho is unlikely to continually ignore Rashford. It was a case proved on Monday night with Rashford looking sharp after coming on at half time and with games coming thick and fast on 3 fronts reports of Rashford’s demise seem greatly exaggerated. Danger Rating 2/10



Leave a Reply