Another month done, another month closer to this summer’s European Championship…and another month closer to Gareth Southgate deciding who’ll be with him on his quest to end England’s 54-year wait for a major international trophy.
Yes, the Three Lions’ misery – which Southgate knows pretty well after his Euro ’96 penalty blunder against Germany – continues to rumble on, but this time around, there’s plenty of young talent knocking around to suggest a change of fortunes are on the horizon.
But WHO I hear you bellow from your armchair are England planning to include in their 23-man squad?
Well, that’s a very good question. And one I will attempt to answer, taking the reins from Andy Headspeath, by telling you who could be aboard the u̶n̶d̶e̶r̶g̶r̶o̶u̶n̶d̶ plane as it stands…
23. Danny Rose (New Entry)
“I’ve been given a chance to play week in and week out. I want to play football again – with the Euros in the summer, I want to put myself in window.”
And that’s exactly what Danny Rose is doing at Newcastle – first, coming off the bench in a drab 0-0 draw against Norwich, before starting the 4-0 pumping at Arsenal.
Then, Rose had a ruck with Toon fans on the train back to Tyneside – what other evidence do you need to suggest he MUST be included?
22. Tyrone Mings (New Entry)
Previously on 90min‘s ‘Who’s on the Plane’ series, we picked only three central defenders.
That, in hindsight, was probably an error.
So to make up for it, we’ve selected Mings – a prolific tackler this season – to fill the void, just ahead of Fikayo Tomori, who helpfully has lost his place at Chelsea at just the right moment.
21. Dean Henderson (Up 1)
The third goalkeeping berth (underrated word) in England’s squad has been the talk of the town in, erm, goalkeeping circles for some time now – and it now looks like a race that Dean Henderson will undoubtedly win.
That’s because Hendo is pretty damn good and his only rival for the spot – Tom Heaton – is almost certainly done for the season through injury.
20. John Stones (Down 5)
Lord knows what goes through John Stones’ head sometimes, but it’s certainly not thoughts that you want your central defenders to have.
Still, Stones is clinging on to his place for dear life – largely because there isn’t many other quality options available for poor Gareth.
19. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (-)
The back end of January/start of February hasn’t been particularly inspiring for Oxlade-Chamberlain on a personal level, but he’s still having a whale of a time riding the Liverpool juggernaut wave.
And who doesn’t love having a winners mentality knocking around the dressing room, eh?
18. Declan Rice (Down 6)
Poor old Dec really isn’t having a happy time of late, with West Ham in absolutely abysmal form under the irrepressible David Moyes.
That doesn’t bode well for his England credentials, but there’s no doubting that he’s up to the job – probably needs Ant alongside him, mind you…
17. Nick Pope (-)
In our previous edition of this series, incase we haven’t mentioned it already, we recommended watching Netflix biopic The Two Popes for more info about the Burnley keeper and his identical twin brother.
This point still stands.
16. Danny Ings (Up 5)
Southampton are more up and down than my childhood yo-yo, but they do have one constant thing going for them – goals being scored by Danny Ings.
DIngs, as we shall now lovingly call him, has 15 Premier League goals to his name this season, and whipped in a pearler against former employers Burnley recently.
But Gareth, for christ sake, don’t put him on the front post when defending corners..
15. Kieran Trippier (Down 1)
Trips hasn’t actually played since we last put pen-to-paper on England’s options, with a groin strain ruling him out of proceedings.
Still, at least he’s done nothing wrong in that time.
14. Jack Grealish (Up 4)
If Jack Grealish isn’t in England’s squad for this European Championship, it will be a crime against footballing humanity.
No, stop thinking of the infamous Daniel Radcliffe card in that alternative game, just concentrate on what Grealish does well for Villa – and that’s lots and lots of things.
13. Tammy Abraham (-)
Goals aren’t going in so regularly for Tammy of late, who remember has a brother called Timmy, but there’s still nothing to suggest that he won’t be a guaranteed a spot.
So, instead, let’s focus on something else, by remembering that his first name is actually Kevin…
12. Harry Winks (Up 4)
Spurs are winning Premier League games once more, proving that José Mourinho has still got it after all.
One of the key ingredients to the revival in north London has been Harry Winks’ form in central midfield. Dynamic, graceful, industrious and beautiful – four simple adjectives that Mourinho has definitely used in press conferences to describe him.
11. Jordan Pickford (Down 4)
The one thing you need at a major international tournament is stability between the sticks.
Sadly, in Jordan Pickford, England have got the opposite right now – with more mistakes leading to a rather strange outburst in which the Everton stopper had a go at his mounting critics.
Bizarrely, I think I might have come up with the solution: stop making mistakes, Jordan!
10. James Maddison (Up 1)
All we’ve heard over the last month or so is who would be a better fit for Manchester United; James Maddison or Jack Grealish?
But, in reality, we should really be asking, can Gareth Southgate find a way to accommodate both in his England side?
Probably not, but he could try.
9. Ben Chilwell (-)
It’s been another iffy month for Leicester, but not a bad one for Chilwell – who scored during the recent draw with Chelsea.
So, with that in mind, he’s still the reigning, defending and undisputed (thanks to Paul Heyman for this) left-back in this England side.
8. Harry Maguire (-)
Good ol’ slabhead scored against Chelsea in Manchester United’s recent 2-0 win. That’s good.
Good ol’ slabhead kicked Michy Batshuayi in the nuts during that very same game. That’s bad.
Swings and roundabouts, eh?
7. Marcus Rashford (Down 3)
Crocked, recuperating and twiddling his thumbs on the sidelines, it’s probably been a bit of a boring month for Rashford.
Still, he’s a heavyweight player in this England side and nothing will change that anytime soon.
6. Harry Kane (-)
It’s been a quiet month for Kane, also, with recovery very much the order of the day. The only thing to happen of note?
Son Heung-min is now a better player than him for Spurs. Eek.
5. Joe Gomez (Up 5)
Joe Gomez has started Liverpool’s last 11 Premier League games.
In that time, Liverpool have won those 11 games, kept 10 clean sheets and are 25 points clear at the top of the table.
He must start.
4. Jadon Sancho (Up 1)
There comes a time in some player’s careers where everybody club in the world would love to sign you.
As of right now, Jadon Sancho is that player. Sorry, Borussia Dortmund.
3. Jordan Henderson (-)
Winning trophies and hoisting them above his head is a feeling that Henderson is becoming ever so familiar with at Liverpool.
And it’s something he may need to prepare for, with the severity of Kane’s injury still up in the air.
2. Trent Alexander-Arnold (-)
Trent Alexander-Arnold is widely regarded as the best full-back in the world, largely because of his sensational crossing ability and his marauding runs and down the right.
And that assessment, in 90min‘s opinion, is absolutely spot on. What a baller.
1. Raheem Sterling (-)
It’s not been a great end to the month for Raheem Sterling, following Manchester City’s expulsion from the Champions League for the next two years.
But that small, minor problem aside, he remains England’s go-to guy with Kane sitting on the sidelines and must be wrapped in fluffy cotton wool.
England’s three goalkeepers for this European Championship look to be dead certainties, but Aaron Ramsdale will still harbour hopes of entering Gareth’s thoughts.
Fikayo Tomori and Chris Smalling, meanwhile, will still be hopeful of forcing their way into the central defensive setup, while Kyle Walker, Reece James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Brandon Williams will hope for supplementary full-back nods.
Mason Mount may feel aggrieved to have been knocked down the midfield pecking order, but he’s in good company – Dele Alli and Callum Hudson-Odoi are still on the outside peering in and must do more to get in.
Up top, the in-form Dominic Calvert-Lewin is an outside bet, while Callum Wilson and Mason Greenwood are also waiting in the wings, should injury ravage the Three Lions.
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