Every member of the latest England squad's chances of making World Cup

Kalvin Phillips looks certain to travel to the World Cup after starting latest two games but Jack Grealish and Trent Alexander-Arnold have work to do… so what are the prospects for every member of the latest England squad of making the trip to Qatar?

  • England have qualified for the 2022 World Cup after beating San Marino 
  • Gareth Southgate’s men scored 15 goals without reply in last two Group I games 
  • Harry Kane stole the show but plenty of other Three Lions stars impressed 
  • So what are each player’s prospects of making Gareth Southgate’s Qatar squad? 

England could not really have wished for a more comfortable end to their World Cup qualifying campaign, and will be bouncing with confidence as they begin preparations for Qatar.

Gareth Southgate’s men scored 15 goals without reply across the two Group I games, beating Albania 5-0 on Friday at Wembley before doubling that tally by hammering San Marino in Serravalle.

Captain Harry Kane stole the limelight on both occasions, scoring a ‘perfect’ hat-trick against the Albanians before moving to within five goals of Wayne Rooney’s record of 53 with another four in the first half against San Marino.

England ended their World Cup qualifying campaign with two thumping victories in Group I

Gareth Southgate will now begin plans for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar for the Three Lions

His goalscoring return would have come as a relief to Southgate, who may have been slightly concerned with Kane’s club form coming into the final two World Cup qualifiers having netted just once in the Premier League this season. 

But Southgate also had to do without the likes of Declan Rice, Mason Mount, Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford for the entire international hiatus, before Raheem Sterling, Jack Grealish and Jordan Henderson pulled out for the San Marino game.

However, the wealth of options available to Southgate stepped up in their absence, so here Sportsmail takes a look at what the prospects of travelling to Qatar look like for those involved in the latest Three Lions squad.

Sure-fire travellers    

Harry Kane

No huge shock here. The England captain may be struggling for top-flight goals with Spurs but there were no such issues on international duty.

He headed in his first, smashed a second into the corner with his left and then an acrobatic third saw him net a wonderful hat-trick against Albania.

He urged Southgate to start him against San Marino even though England needed just a point to qualify for the Qatar World Cup.

Harry Kane is now five goals behind Wayne Rooney’s England record after scoring seven during the international break

But he reaped the benefits of playing, netting two penalties – one of which was expertly smashed into the top corner –  and one with either foot to take his tally of England goals to 48 from 67 caps.

Only Sir Bobby Charlton and Wayne Rooney now stand in the way of the Spurs star and becoming his country’s outright leading goalscorer, and with nine games to go before the first group game in Qatar, few would bet against him netting the six goals he needs to do so.

A certain traveller, and a player Southgate will hope can replicate his form from three years ago, after winning the World Cup Golden Boot after scoring six goals in Russia.

Harry Maguire

Another nailed-on certainty to make Southgate’s World Cup squad, the Manchester United centre-back had very little to do in his own box but certainly made an impact in the other to become England’s highest-scoring defender.

He danced in at the back post to nod home Reece James’ free-kick nine minutes into the thrashing of Albania, before opening the scoring yet again with his head within six minutes against San Marino.

His celebration after netting against Albania was perhaps the most significant talking point regarding Maguire during this international break, cupping his ears and then put his fingers in them to block out the recent criticism that has been sent his way.

Roy Keane labelled it ’embarrassing’, although the former United captain then faced plenty of criticism himself for his assessment of the current skipper at Old Trafford.

Maguire played on the left-hand side of the back three at Wembley and then switched sides against San Marino, and despite his indifferent club form, looks destined to be on the plane to Qatar. 

Harry Maguire became England’s highest-scoring defender by scoring in both games

Jordan Pickford

The Everton goalkeeper played just one of the two games that ended England’s World Cup qualifying campaign, but in truth was not tested by Albania’s attack.

He however made a smart save to deny Mytro Uzuni when the score was just 1-0 at Wembley, demonstrating his ability to stay switched on when the action was taking place at the opposite end of the field.

It was demonstrative of how Pickford has rarely put a foot wrong in an England shirt, albeit his time in the Premier League has led to some error-strewn displays, especially at the start of Carlo Ancelotti’s reign at Goodison Park.

Aaron Ramsdale’s excellent start to life at Arsenal hasn’t helped his cause either, with some sections calling for the 23-year-old to replace his 27-year-old international team-mate as No 1.

Jordan Pickford remains Southgate’s No 1 and impressed with the little he had to do against Albania

Southgate admitted there was a ‘fight on’ between the duo to start the first group game at next year’s winter World Cup, but so far it appears the Everton man is winning that fight on the international stage.

Should Everton’s proclivity to concede goals this season (they have let in 16 already this term) and Ramsdale’s fine form – which has seen him keep five clean sheets and conceded just four goals in eight Premier League games – at Emirates Stadium continue, there could yet be a change in Southgate’s thinking.

But at present, it appears that in the worst-case scenario for Pickford, he will be No 2 heading to Qatar, and is therefore nailed on to make the squad. 

Kyle Walker

Frequently looked to overlap against Albania, as he does so often for Manchester City and was largely tidy in possession for the Three Lions.

He would have had a near perfect game had he not underhit a backpass which forced Pickford to save from Uzuni, but Walker’s ability to start attacks with his long-range passing is a brilliant asset for Southgate to have in his side.

The 31-year-old has experience on his side too, with 65 England caps now to his name a little more than 10 years on from his first, and is now starting to act like a mentor for the likes of Reece James.

His ability to operate in a back three and having been the first-choice right-back at Euro 2020 certainly puts the ball in his court, albeit he faces relentless stiff competition given James’ stellar performances at Chelsea and Trent Alexander-Arnold shining for Liverpool.

But his leadership qualities and ability going forwards and tracking back with his immense speed make him a guaranteed starter next winter. 

Kyle Walker’s experience, pace and quality on the ball appear to make him a definite for Qatar

John Stones

Struggling for minutes at Manchester City due to Aymeric Laporte and Ruben Dias’ developing partnership and a couple of knocks, Stones has managed to retain his composure at the back when called upon.

There will no doubt be sterner tests than Albania and San Marino in the future for the 27-year-old and he will begin to fear for his place if injuries and competition at the Etihad Stadium keep him for making a substantial contribution to City’s season.

However, he was back to his calm self in the Manchester derby before the international break, and revealed he had been reassured by Southgate of his importance in his plans. 

John Stones was reassured by Southgate earlier this autumn that he remains in his plans

Asked if he had spoken to Southgate during his time out of the City line-up, Stones said: ‘I think it was maybe last camp or the camp before that, we spoke about it.

‘It was almost a bit of a reassurance, or things that I already knew and was already thinking, but just to ‘stick with it and you’ll get your time’.

‘I think sometimes when you’re not playing you know why you’re not playing because of errors or bad form or whatever it might be and I knew it wasn’t anything like that.’

Moreover, being another member of the defence who played nearly every minute of England’s journey to the Euro 2020 final means he remains in the driving seat as part of the defence to play in Qatar.

Reece James

The Chelsea star appears to be Southgate’s first-choice option on the right side of defence, and following his performances this season, it is easy to see why.

He has scored four goals and provided three assists for Thomas Tuchel’s men in the Premier League this season, and that fine form continued over the past week for his country.

He was a nuisance down Albania’s left, delivered a string of superb crosses – including for Maguire’s opening goal – and began the attack that led to one of Kane’s strikes with one of many driving runs.

Reece James excelled against Albania with his driving runs and brilliant crosses into the box

‘Reece did that really well against Denmark in one of his first games but then we ended up going down to 10 men and we had to change it but we know he’s a player who can do that,’ Southgate said after the Albania victory.

Sent on to play in midfield against San Marino, just as he had done previously against Andorra in the World Cup qualifying campaign, demonstrated Southgate certainly plans to form some part of England’s attacking play around him.

James, who now has 10 England senior caps to his name, is the archetypal modern full-back and therefore appears like a valuable asset for his country in the long-term. 

Jordan Henderson

The 31-year-old turned back the clock against Albania in the absence of Declan Rice with an assist to go with his second England goal, showing drive and the legs to keep up with England’s attacking play.

The Liverpool captain’s leadership qualities have been well-documented and he certainly provides the midfield experience and winning mentality to complement West Ham star Rice and Kalvin Phillips.

A ‘small injury’ saw him withdraw from the squad to face San Marino, but there is no doubt his presence will be valued behind the scenes and as an alternative to his younger compatriots from the bench, as he was at Euro 2020.

Jordan Henderson provides vital experience to England’s midfield and will be on the plane

Kalvin Phillips

Kept England ticking in both games without really stealing the show on his return to the England side after missing the October internationals through injury.

The Leeds midfielder has been dubbed the ‘Yorkshire Pirlo’ due to his playing style and his endeavour and determination, particularly against Albania, certainly helped those in front of him to flourish.

He was a little sloppy with his passing against Albania but was back to his tidy self against San Marino, where he was also sharp in the tackle before being withdrawn for a rest at half-time.

Southgate appears eager to turn to the Leeds man – despite his club’s current fortunes – at every given opportunity, and it is therefore difficult to imagine a scenario in which a fit and healthy Phillips does not travel to Qatar.

Southgate has turned to Kalvin Phillips at every given opportunity since before the Euros

Ben Chilwell

Chilwell faced a difficult summer – more mentally than anything – after failing to play a single minute in England’s Euro 2020 campaign, with Luke Shaw preferred by Southgate.

His boss at Chelsea, Thomas Tuchel, believed he was suffering from mental fatigue at the start of the club season brought on by worrying about his situation at club and international level.

But October saw a revival with Chelsea and England and he has been an ever present for the Blues since and has been called up for England’s last four games.

The former Leicester man appears more settled in the wing-back system that fortunately both Tuchel and Southgate deploy, and has reaped the rewards with three Premier League goals in five games this term.

Ben Chilwell may not usurp Luke Shaw but he will at worst be the back-up to him in Qatar

After being outshone by club team-mate James against Albania – although he was solid himself – Chilwell came off the bench against San Marino and may well have had an assist had Conor Gallagher converted from his smart pass.

Shaw’s absence due to concussion handed Chilwell a couple of opportunities here, but whether it, along with his club form, is enough to convince him that he should usurp Shaw for the Three Lions remains to be seen.

Another tournament of frustration could be on the way, but he appears best placed to provide back-up to Shaw at worst in Qatar. 

Raheem Sterling

Speculation surrounding Sterling’s future at Man City has ramped up in recent weeks, and an unsettled and partial role under Pep Guardiola has not helped matters.

But it is clear that Southgate still trusts one of his star players from the Euros to deliver for his country on a regular basis, starting against Albania before withdrawing at the weekend through injury. 

He caused Albania all sorts of problems with his energy and direct running down the left, and helped to draw the crowd before slotting in Kane for England’s fourth.

He faces competition in that area, no doubt, but his relationship on the pitch with England’s main striker means the odds of him travelling to Qatar are heavily stacked in his favour. 

Raheem Sterling retains the trust of Southgate despite his current woes at Manchester City

Phil Foden

The Man City star has taken Sterling’s place on the left-hand side at City at times this season, and some classy touches as well as a couple of assists represent a decent two outings for Foden.

Some smart movement and passing for some of England’s goals over the past week demonstrated why he generates so much excitement.

He completed a match-high of seven dribbles against San Marino during his 45 minutes on the field, and his trickery would test even the best defences. 

He may be slightly disappointed to not have bagged at least one goal given the modest level of opposition England faced over the last week, shooting well over with one chance against Albania before an acrobatic effort earned a bizarre penalty.

But his quality looks destined to continue on its upward trajectory and he will no doubt be named in Southgate’s squad for Qatar.

Phil Foden demonstrated what the excitement is all about with his passing and dribbling skills

Bukayo Saka   

The Arsenal man’s versatility makes him – in some ways – one of the most valuable assets in Southgate’s squad.

Starting ahead of Chilwell at left wing-back against San Marino, nearly all of England’s attacks came down his side and through him, as he linked well with Emile Smith Rowe and forced the own goal with a right-foot shot.

His tactical intelligence alongside his driving runs and quality with the ball at his feet have allowed him to play on both the left and right wing for his country as well.

Southgate is a huge admirer of the 20-year-old’s ability and the flexibility it adds to his squad, and with two goals in his last three England matches, he is starting to demonstrate the finishing ability which will only enhance his all-round game.

Bukayo Saka’s versatility and goalscoring form make him an incredibly valuable asset

Work to do

Jack Grealish 

After a summer in which he was part of a £100m move to the Premier League champions, it appears odd to even suggest Grealish will not be on the plane to Qatar.

With just one goal and a couple of assists in nine games for Pep Guardiola’s men, his City career has yet to take off. Michael Owen does not believe to ‘fit like a glove’, and while it is not for a lack of trying, that does so far appear to be the case.

In truth, his England career has yet to truly hit the heights either, managing just one goal in 17 appearances for the Three Lions.

Jack Grealish’s Three Lions career has yet to take flight and competition is rife in his position

He played just 172 minutes at the Euros despite a crucial assist against Germany, and was again a substitute against Albania on Friday before withdrawing due to injury.

The former Aston Villa star does not seem to have the full confidence of his boss at international level and has completed just 90 minutes twice in his competitive Three Lions career to date.

The competition in his position on the left is immense and sooner or later he will have to come good for both City and England if he is to be a guaranteed squad member at the very least in 2022. 

Aaron Ramsdale 

The Arsenal goalkeeper has thrived at Emirates Stadium following his £24m summer move from Sheffield United in the summer.

His character imbued with some fantastic saves and excellent distribution have already made him a fan favourite in north London, and his stunning form was rewarded with his first senior England cap in San Marino.

In truth, the 23-year-old had little to do except save Nicola Nanni’s deflected effort before punching the resulting corner away.

Pickford’s selection against Albania and San Marino’s woes at this level meant he was unable to really push his claim to become the England No 1 by this time next year.

He will have to continue his form at Arsenal for the majority of the season if that has any chance of becoming a reality, and after not playing at Euro 2020, he will want to ensure he plays in the next major tournament. 

Aaron Ramsdale did not get the chance to exhibit the talent that has been on show at Arsenal

Trent Alexander-Arnold 

Another seemingly bizarre entry in this section given how crucial he is for Liverpool, but the debate rages on around Trent Alexander-Arnold and his England career.

The 23-year-old, a Champions League and Premier League winner, has long struggled to replicate his flamboyant Anfield form in an England shirt – a cause for scrutiny on Southgate as well as the 23-year-old himself.

ITV co-commentator Lee Dixon criticised his body language against San Marino and said he was trying too hard. But as if he had been listening in, the right-back showed just what he can do with three assists in the second half. 

Alexander-Arnold was handed a rare start for England in Serravalle – just his 16th cap – and while it demonstrated his promise, Walker and James show no signs of slowing down nor does Southgate plan on dropping either of them.

An experiment of moving him into midfield last just 45 minutes in September, which means that option may not be pursued immediately, leaving the right-back position as his only option. There appears little else he can do, but he certainly faces a battle on his hands.  

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s England career remains hotly-debated and competition is fierce

Sam Johnstone 

The only member of the latest squad to be called up and not get onto the pitch against Albania or San Marino, the West Brom goalkeeper may have been the most frustrated of all.

His three England appearances have come this year, with a pre-Euros friendly against Romania preceding both World Cup qualifiers against Andorra, the second of which he grabbed an assist in.

He has yet to concede in his England senior career, albeit against modest opposition so far, and there has been talk of a move to Tottenham in January following his impressive form for the Baggies.

But given Pickford is the established No 1 and Ramsdale’s current form at Arsenal, and the fact both are playing in the Premier League, currently gives the duo the advantage.

It therefore appears if Johnstone wants to break into the top two in Southgate’s thinking, he may need a change of division and club, especially with the likes of Dean Henderson still in the frame for the No 3 spot as it stands. 

Sam Johnstone was the only member of the latest squad not to play in either qualifier

Tyrone Mings

The Aston Villa defender has endured a difficult start to the campaign at club level, having received criticism for defeat at Arsenal before he was hauled off by Dean Smith against West Ham.

But the 28-year-old appears to have some credit in the bank for Southgate’s men, starting the opening two games of Euro 2020 and adding another three appearances during the World Cup qualifiers.

But Mings faces a battle on his hands if he wants to be assured of a place in Qatar, with Ben White and Fikayo Tomori performing well at more high-profile clubs in Arsenal and AC Milan. 

A goal against San Marino demonstrated the asset he is in the air compared to the likes of White in particular.

But new Villa boss Steven Gerrard could yet be crucial in turning Mings’ form defensively around, to help him build on the reputation he built last season and ensure he can travel next winter to participate in a World Cup squad. 

Tyrone Mings was on the scoresheet against San Marino but must rediscover his form with Aston Villa

Conor Coady

Another centre-back whose place could come under scrutiny if White and Tomori’s form continues as it has begun this season.

Coady has been a leader at Wolves for many years and has played a crucial behind-the-scenes role with England – particularly at Euro 2020 – since his international bow around 12 months ago.

The 28-year-old also appears capable of speaking on off-the-field issues such as human rights and LGBTQ+ rights, and is clearly valued by the younger players especially in the England setup.

But Coady has played just four competitive matches since the Nations League defeat by Denmark, and the competitors for his place are at clubs who appear in contention for European football next season. 

His leadership and sound defensive play when he is on the pitch will hold some value for Southgate, but given he is not a regular fixture for the Three Lions, his position will continue to be under threat. 

Conor Coady has played a vital background role but is not a regular fixture under Southgate

Tammy Abraham  

Perhaps one of the more unlucky members of England’s squad during the latest international break, but there was drive and determination to do well from the Roma striker.

His recall came after scoring four goals in 10 games for the Serie A side, but their recent poor form has led to just one goal in his last seven league games. 

There was however little sign of any lethargy from Abraham, putting himself about against Albania before getting on the scoresheet against San Marino with the penultimate goal.

He could have had another if his header was not ruled out for a foul on the defender, while VAR chalked off Jude Bellingham’s thumping strike for a foul – which resulted in an even more bizarre caution –  for the ex-Chelsea striker.

Tammy Abraham did not face the opposition required to help him guarantee a place next year

However, there are two overbearing concerns, not least the form of his club, who have won just one of their last seven games across all competitions, but also what sort of form those returning from injury could hit.  

Ollie Watkins, Patrick Bamford and Dominic Calvert-Lewin have all had their current campaign disrupted by injuries at various stages of the season, and are all vital cogs for their clubs.

The Leeds and Everton strikers have been out more recently, and should they hit their straps they will certainly be in contention for a recall, as will Watkins, who has scored two from five games.

The level of opposition and lack of game time prevented Abraham from venturing anywhere near confirming a spot on the plane next year, meaning it is all to play for to become Kane’s back-up by the time next winter rolls around. 

Emerging talents

Jude Bellingham 

There are certainly high hopes for the 18-year-old Borussia Dortmund midfielder and he demonstrated why against San Marino, knitting pretty patterns in the middle of the park.

He found himself regularly getting into the box screaming for the ball to be cut back to him, and only an ultimately cruel VAR check prevented him from recording his first England goal with a thumping strike.

Roy Keane is known for his harsh views but even he could not hide his admiration for the former Birmingham City youngster, saying he ‘loves’ watching the England star and believes his potential is ‘scary’.

Jude Bellingham knitted England’s midfield together and is undoubtedly a star of the future

‘He wears No 22, because he is a No 10, 8 and a 4,’ Ian Wright added. ‘The fact is, he has got everything.

‘He will probably run a game like this but also when he is playing for Dortmund, he plays every single game and the maturity of him and his game is constantly improving.’

Whether he will force his way into England’s starting XI by this time next year remains to be seen, but as Keane said, Southgate will be rubbing his hands together with the talent on his hands.

Emile Smith Rowe

The latest Arsenal youngster to receive his first senior call-up, Emile Smith Rowe was not even in the first team for his club this time last year.

But having carried Gunners fans’ hopes with Saka for 12 months, the midfielder made his debut as a substitute on Friday before netting his first senior goal against San Marino in the first goal of the second half.

He looks set for plenty more opportunities on the international stage, after also grabbing an assist for the most untidy of Kane’s goals on Monday evening.

But Southgate swerved the question about whether he could be on the plane to Qatar, insisting he must continue the form for Arsenal which has seen him net four goals and record two assists in 11 Premier League games. 

Mount, Grealish and Foden all provide stiff competition, but Smith Rowe is not out of the reckoning, with Southgate impressed with how he has handled himself in a whirlwind week.  

Emile Smith Rowe capped a whirlwind week with a goal on his second England appearance

Conor Gallagher 

A player who like Smith Rowe was called up from the U21s after established stars pulled out of the senior squad, Gallagher too got his chance against San Marino.

The opportunity saw him make an appearance for his country before donning the colours of his parent club Chelsea, but it his on loan at Crystal Palace where he has really diverted eyes in his direction.

He hit a Chilwell cross straight into the arms of the goalkeeper when he looked destined to score and also hit the post with a fine effort on the turn. 

Combined with some driving runs and drawing the foul that saw Dante Rossi get sent off, this was a promising first outing for the senior side.

He may still be an outsider to make the Qatar squad, but more goals and assists along with the six goal contributions he already has to his name will not harm his case for a surprise inclusion.  

Conor Gallagher was unfortunate not to join Smith Rowe on the scoresheet against San Marino




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