How the England squad ranks for World Cup spots as it stands

ENGLAND’S WORLD CUP SQUAD LADDER – 1-40: Kane, Sterling, Mount and Co are dead certs for Qatar but one big-name right back might miss the plane… and Rashford’s at risk of being left behind

  • England stars now have limited opportunities to impress Gareth Southgate
  • There are just six games between now and their first World Cup group game
  • Some players are set in stone for Southgate’s squad but others are battling
  • Sportsmail ranks every realistic candidate and their position as it stands now 

After this month’s friendly wins over Switzerland and the Ivory Coast, England stars have had their last chance to impress Gareth Southgate until June as the Three Lions boss weighs up his World Cup squad.

There are still plenty of opportunities to impress Southgate with four Nations League games in June and two more in September but you feel those who miss out on that squad in the summer will not be in Qatar.

There are just under two months left of this club season and these final few weeks are the real last opportunity for England hopefuls to dazzle and book their seat on the plane.

England will be hoping they can take 26 players instead of 23, as was the case at Covid-hit Euro 2020 but, with no less than 40 stars in the running, it is going to be a tough few months for Southgate.

Here, Sportsmail has ranked every contender on just how set in stone their place in Southgate’s squad is at present.

Gareth Southgate has a lot to consider as he weighs up England’s World Cup squad for Qatar

Jordan Pickford 4/7

Trent Alexander-Arnold Evens

John Stones 3/10

Harry Maguire 4/9

Luke Shaw 4/5

Declan Rice 3/10

Mason Mount 4/7

Jude Bellingham 11/10

Phil Foden 8/10

Raheem Sterling 4/5

Harry Kane 2/9

Odds supplied by Betfair 

1. Harry Kane

The England captain is the first name on the team sheet for Southgate and could even be the country’s record scorer by the time the World Cup arrives later this year.

The captain has shown much improved form for Tottenham in recent weeks as is recovering his reputation as one of the world’s most feared forwards. A second straight Golden Boot at the World Cup is also very much a possibility.

England captain and talisman Harry Kane is the first name on Gareth Southgate’s team sheet

2. Jordan Pickford

Despite his questionable form for Everton, Pickford remains Southgate’s nailed-on No 1 goalkeeper and proved his ability with two superb saves in the win over Switzerland. 

Southgate has also recently insisted any potential relegation for Everton would not affect Pickford’s chances at the World Cup, although it would hardly be ideal preparation.

Despite his questionable form for Everton, Jordan Pickford remains Southgate’s nailed-on No 1

3. Harry Maguire

Maguire may have been booed by England fans at Wembley on Tuesday but the response from Southgate and his team-mates shows how highly the struggling Manchester United star is rated.

He remains one of Southgate’s most trusted lieutenants and a key part of England’s plans at set pieces. So, barring any injury problems, he will line up in defence in that first group game.

4. Declan Rice

Central midfield may be something of a problem area for England but the West Ham man is guaranteed a place after shining for club and country over the last 18 months.

He impressed in both friendlies this week and provides the stamina, passing range and dribbling ability to play in a midfield two (if Southgate opts for a back five). He can also play as a holding midfielder if tactics are tweaked.

Declan Rice is guaranteed a place after shining for club and country over the last 18 months

5. Mason Mount

The Chelsea star is a manager’s dream and rarely delivers a performance that falls short of the standards we’ve come to expect from him.

Mount impacts the game when in possession but is also effective off the ball and completes his defensive duties diligently. Southgate rates him highly, too.

6. Raheem Sterling

The Manchester City forward delivered a masterclass against the Ivory Coast on Tuesday night, laying on Ollie Watkins’ opening goal before scoring England’s second of the evening.

His performances at Euro 2020 were scintillating and he is pretty much a guaranteed starter alongside Harry Kane and one other in attack.

Raheem Sterling is becoming crucial for England and was superb against the Ivory Coast

7. Phil Foden

Foden has yet to show the dazzling form he produces regularly at Man City in the white of England but that doesn’t mean he’s not guaranteed to go to Qatar.

The 21-year-old is a serial winner and that background will do England no harm in the Middle East. With his Gazza haircut, Foden failed to light up Euro 2020 but will be desperate to make an impact at the World Cup.


Jordan Pickford 4/7

Aaron Ramsdale 15/8

Nick Pope 5/1

Sam Johnstone 16/1

Dean Henderson 20/1

Odds supplied by Betfair 

8. Kyle Walker

Walker was left out of this month’s squad so Southgate could assess other right back options, such is the strength of the manager’s faith in the Man City star.

The 31-year-old is one of the more senior members of the group and has the ability to play as a right back, right wing back or on the right of back three. His pace is also key to allowing England to play further up the pitch.

9. John Stones

Stones is in the strange position of not being a guaranteed starter for Man City, with Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte there too, but being a regular for the Three Lions when fit.

He was due to play against the Swiss last weekend before sustaining a minor injury in the warm-up. The partnership between him and Maguire has flourished for England in recent tournaments and Southgate will be banking on that again. 

John Stones missed out on playing this month through injury but should be a regular in Qatar

10. Luke Shaw

With Ben Chilwell unlikely to play again this season, Shaw’s importance as England’s current No 1 choice at left back means he is very likely to go on and start in Qatar.

He scored in the Euro 2020 final and netted against Switzerland but his recent form for Manchester United has been mixed so that’ll be something for Southgate to monitor over the next couple of weeks. 

11. Jordan Henderson

The Liverpool captain is just as much of a strong influence off the pitch as he is on it nowadays. Although he’s not guaranteed to start for England, Henderson is nailed on to make the plane if fit.

His experience of winning major trophies in recent seasons is priceless for Southgate and those leadership qualities that he has in abundance will be vital to England’s state of mind at a tournament. 

Jordan Henderson is not a guaranteed starter but his leadership and experience make him key

12. Conor Coady

You may think having Coady as 12th in this list is too high but the esteem in which the Wolves skipper is held in and around the England camp is second to none.

Assistant manager Steve Holland named the Wolves centre half his player of the Euros last summer and Coady’s professionalism, communication skills and dedication sets the standard for those around him.

13. Bukayo Saka

Saka may have missed his penalty in the Euro 2020 final but the winger has bounced back superbly with Arsenal this season and is leading their push for a top-four finish.

The 20-year-old’s enthusiasm and attitude is infectious and Southgate loves having him around, as do his team-mates. Saka’s versatility is also priceless at a tournament.

14. Jack Grealish

Grealish captured the attention of the nation at Euro 2020, whether you were a football fan or not, but Man City’s £100million man is yet to really shine on the big stage.

Southgate does harbour doubts about his work rate and ability out of possession but it would be an almighty shock if his game-changing ability was overlooked for Qatar.

Jack Grealish should take a place in Qatar but he needs to do more to land a starting role

15. Ben Chilwell

Chilwell’s form at Chelsea since Thomas Tuchel arrived over a year ago has been impressive and the fact he plays on the left of a back five would surely make him No 1 choice for Southgate.

But his long-term injury may leave him vulnerable for the World Cup, particularly with the emergence of Tyrick Mitchell as another alternative to Shaw at left back.

16. Kalvin Phillips

The Leeds man has endured a frustrating campaign. A hamstring issue has meant he has not played in the Premier League since December 5 and Leeds have paid the price with relegation looming.

Phillips was crucial for England alongside Rice in a two-man midfield at Euro 2020 and will surely be included in Qatar, although he does have ground to make up over the course of the rest of the season.


John Stones 3/10

Harry Maguire 4/9

Luke Shaw 4/5

Trent Alexander-Arnold Evens

Reece James 5/4

Ben White 9/4

Kyle Walker 5/2

Ben Chilwell 11/4 

Tyrick Mitchell 7/1 

Kieran Trippier 15/2

Tyrone Mings 10/1

Conor Coady 12/1

Marc Guehi 12/1

Fikayo Tomori 14/1

Dan Burn 16/1

Eric Dier 20/1 

Odds supplied by Betfair 

17. Jude Bellingham

If there was one player who basically sealed his place in Qatar in this month’s pair of fixtures then it was the Borussia Dortmund starlet.

Bellingham offers something different to England’s other midfield options with his attacking link-up play and ability to arrive in the box. Southgate is yet to fully trust him but he could be a game-changer. 

Jude Bellingham was sublime against the Ivory Coast and is a different midfield option

18. Trent Alexander-Arnold

Southgate took six full backs (plus Alexander-Arnold until he got injured) in his Euro 2020 squad but surely he won’t do that again. With Walker an automatic pick and Shaw and Chilwell on the left it looks like a battle between Alexander-Arnold, Reece James and Kieran Trippier for the other two spots.

Alexander-Arnold is a unique talent and has completely changed the role of the modern full-back. The defensive side of his game is improving and his delivery could be key to unlocking defences in those nail-biting tournament matches. 

19. Reece James

James must surely be included and therefore complete the cohort of full backs going to Qatar. He was arguably Chelsea’s player of the season before a hamstring injury stunted his progress.

James’ power and pace and his comfort on the ball makes him ideal for international football and Southgate is known to be a huge fan of the 22-year-old.

20. James Ward-Prowse

Ward-Prowse was unlucky to miss out on a place at Euro 2020 but his fine form at club level has finally been recognised by Southgate in recent international windows.

The Southampton captain is a set-piece specialist and that sort of skillset is priceless at tournaments. He’s also a regular penalty taker. It could come down to Ward-Prowse or Conor Gallagher for the final midfield spot.

James Ward-Prowse is liked by Southgate and his talent at set pieces and penalties is unique

21. Aaron Ramsdale

The Arsenal goalkeeper was in line to play for England during this international window before having to pull out with injury.

His performances under Mikel Arteta has been superb since joining from Sheffield United and it will be interesting to see just how much pressure he can put on Pickford’s No 1 spot in the coming weeks. 

22. Jadon Sancho 

Sancho’s first season at Old Trafford has not been what anyone expected but it’s hardly been a happy hunting ground for anyone associated with Man United in recent years.

Having said that, the winger’s performances have improved under Ralf Rangnick so if he can maintain that in the coming weeks, and under a new manager at the start of next season, he should be able to win his place back. 

23. Ben White 

After a tough start to life at Arsenal, White has formed a rock solid partnership with Gabriel and they are proving to be the foundation of the Gunners’ resurgence.

White was around the squad at Euro 2020 but didn’t play. However, his ability on the ball and versatility (he can also play at right back or in midfield) means he probably just edges Marc Guehi. 

24. Ollie Watkins 

Deputising for Kane is arguably the toughest role in the England squad. You know minutes are going to be few and far between and you have huge shoes to fill when the captain is missing.

But Watkins impressed on Tuesday night and his excellent movement and predatory instincts brought him the first goal of the night. Competition for that back-up role is fierce but it looks like advantage to the Aston Villa man for now.

Ollie Watkins impressed on Tuesday night and his excellent movement brought the first goal

25. Tammy Abraham 

Another striking option included in this month’s squad before he pulled out was Roma’s Tammy Abraham, who is enjoying a career renaissance under Jose Mourinho in Serie A.

With 23 goals in 40 appearances, Abraham is in red-hot form and he was going to get an opportunity to establish his position as Kane’s understudy this month.


Declan Rice 3/10

Mason Mount 4/7

Jude Bellingham 11/10

Kalvin Phillips 6/5

Emile Smith Rowe 4/1

Conor Gallagher 5/1

James Ward-Prowse 14/1

Jesse Lingard 16/1 

Harvey Elliott 20/1

Oliver Skipp 25/1

Curtis Jones 25/1

James Maddison 25/1

Joe Willock 33/1

Harry Winks 40/1

Dwight McNeil 40/1

Dele Alli 50/1 

Odds supplied by Betfair 

26. Sam Johnstone     

Although Nick Pope seems the logical choice, it’s known that Southgate and his goalkeeping coach Martyn Margetson are big fans of Johnstone, even though he is currently playing in the Championship.

Johnstone is likely to leave West Brom this summer and will surely earn a Premier League move. If he is playing regularly in the top-flight, he will go to Qatar.

27. Dominic Calvert-Lewin

Six months ago Calvert-Lewin was the guaranteed back-up to talisman Kane after an impressive campaign for the Toffees last year and a good start to the season this time around.

But an injury-ravaged season has produced just 11 Everton appearances and three goals and now he looks to be behind Watkins and Abraham in the pecking order. A quick return to goal-scoring form is needed.

28. Tyrone Mings 

Mings has not necessarily done anything wrong in an England shirt but with Walker, James, Shaw, Chilwell and Alexander-Arnold all picked, it seems unlikely Southgate takes five centre backs too.

Although being left-footed is a bonus, it feels like Coady and White are ahead of the Aston Villa man in the pecking order, although overlooking him would be harsh. 

Tyrone Mings has been a fixture of recent England squads but could lose his place for Qatar

29. Conor Gallagher 

There was jubilation when Gallagher’s exceptional form for Crystal Palace was rewarded with another call-up this month and he did his World Cup chances no harm with a fine performance against Switzerland.

It feels like the final position in midfield is between Gallagher and Ward-Prowse so don’t be surprised if the Chelsea loanee can overtake his rival with strong displays in the coming weeks. 

30. Marc Guehi

Similarly to Mings, Guehi’s omission is simply just a case of there being too many defenders ahead of him in the pecking order.

You’d think, based on his performance against Switzerland, that Guehi had been playing international football for years but this World Cup may come too soon for him. The future is bright, however.

31. Kieran Trippier 

Trippier returned to English football in January and had a transformative impact on Newcastle before he sustained a broken foot in February, although he is expected to play against this season.

The former Atletico Madrid defender has been a key component under Southgate at the last two major tournaments but it feels like he has been surpassed by James and Alexander-Arnold now. 

Kieran Trippier has been key for Gareth Southgate but it feels like he’s been left behind for now

32. Marcus Rashford 

The Man United forward’s career is in limbo. He’s desperately struggling for form at Old Trafford and that was the reason why he was left out of Southgate’s squad this month.

But if anybody could benefit from having more time to impress (or signing for a new club) then it is Rashford. We know Southgate is an admirer and it would not be a shock to see him in the squad for Qatar if he can turn things around. 


Harry Kane 2/9

Phil Foden 8/11

Raheem Sterling 4/5

Jack Grealish 6/4

Bukayo Saka 9/4

Jadon Sancho 13/2

Jarrod Bowen 13/2

Marcus Rashford 9/1

Ollie Watkins 12/1

Tammy Abraham 20/1

Dominic Calvert-Lewin 20/1

Callum Hudson-Odoi 20/1

Harvey Barnes 25/1

Patrick Bamford 33/1 

Odds supplied by Betfair 

33. Emile Smith Rowe

The 21-year-old continues to impress at Arsenal with 10 goals in all appearances this season and a late run of form that helps the Gunners seal a top-four place could win him a spot in Qatar.

But the other players in his position – Foden, Grealish, Saka, Sterling – are all currently ahead of Smith Rowe in Southgate’s plans and it would take a big swing for that to change. 

34. Fikayo Tomori

The former Chelsea defender has been a revelation since joining AC Milan and was unlucky not to be called up for England this month after catching the eye in Serie A.

It seems odd that Tomori hasn’t been included, given how well he is playing, so surely now Southgate has decided that even Mings and Guehi are ahead of him among his defensive options. 

35. Tyrick Mitchell 

Very few Premier League defenders deserved an England call-up more than Mitchell going into this month’s internationals, given how good he’s been for Crystal Palace in recent months.

Mitchell did well at left back against the Ivory Coast and one assumes the main candidate to replace either Shaw or Chilwell in the squad, should one of them not be able to go.

Tyrick Mitchell seems the main candidate to replace either Shaw or Chilwell in the squad

36. Jarrod Bowen

Five or six years ago, Bowen’s incredible form for West Ham would not have only won him a place in the England squad but made him a nailed-on started for the Three Lions.

The winger has scored 12 goals and provided 11 assists in 39 appearances this season and works hard off the ball. But competition is so fierce among England’s attack that there’s just no place for him at present. 

37. Patrick Bamford

Bamford’s form for Leeds was so good last season that he was unlucky not to make the Euros squad before getting a chance to impress in the September international window.

But his injury woes have completely derailed his season and it will need an astonishing run of form from here to see him book his place on the flight to Qatar. 

38. Eric Dier

One of the more realistic chances of a radical pick, Dier has been solid for Tottenham this season and Antonio Conte loves him among Tottenham’s three centre backs.

He was key in the run to the final of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, scoring that decisive penalty against Colombia, and Dier could be an option if Southgate finds himself short of defenders come November. 

39. Jacob Ramsey

The 20-year-old has been one of the breakthrough stars of the Premier League season and his form under Steven Gerrard in recent months has been superb.

The Aston Villa midfielder was very close to being called up this time and will remain on England’s radar, should he continue to impress in the closing weeks of the season.

Jacob Ramsey impressed for England’s under-21s and was very close to winning a senior call

40. Harvey Elliott

Although this one is extremely unlikely, given he is struggling for first-team minutes under Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool but Elliott could be a wildcard pick like Theo Walcott was at the 2006 World Cup.

The winger has just returned from a nasty dislocated ankle and has a big future ahead but this World Cup will most likely come too early for him. 

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