Rashford, Kane, Maguire: England squad ranked from 'world-class' to 'should be dropped'


England are on cloud nine after defeating Belgium at Wembley Stadium on Sunday night.

The Three Lions weren't fancied to overcome the side ranked number one in the world by FIFA, especially after flattering to deceive against Iceland and Denmark in September.

However, there could be no doubting England's resolve as they secured an upset victory thanks to goals from Marcus Rashford and Mason Mount to top their UEFA Nations League group.

England 2-1 Belgium

It would have looked like a miraculous result if you only watched the first-half with Belgium showing exactly why they overcame Gareth Southgate's men not once but twice at the 2018 World Cup.

Nevertheless, the linesman's flag prevented Yannick Carrasco from scoring an early opener and Romelu Lukaku's penalty was neutralised later in the half by England's own spot kick.

But regardless of the game's minutia, the result will give England plenty of confidence going into the final clash of the international break against Denmark on Wednesday evening.


England's 30-man squad

It will also give Southgate no shortage of faith in his current 30-man squad with the very same arsenal having secured a handsome 3-0 win over Wales with a trio of first-time goal-scorers.

In other words, there's plenty of cause for optimism right now, which got us thinking here at GIVEMESPORT as we decided to interrogate the current England squad from top to bottom.

We've taken on the classic medium of Tiermaker to rank the 30 members of Southgate's current cohort using tiers ranging from 'world-class' to 'should be dropped' with five rungs in between.

It goes without saying that tiers like 'middle of the road' are completely within the context of the standards of international football and anybody making the England should certainly be proud.


Ranking the England squad

Nevertheless, football isn't a world entirely based on niceties, so we had to sharpen our knives and separate the great from the good of this England squad - check it out down below:

Should be dropped 

Jordan Pickford

Joe Gomez

Look, I'll always love Pickford for his incredible displays at the 2018 World Cup and as much as he's only ever a few minutes away from a world-class save, he simply cannot be England's number one anymore.

Pickford has made too many errors in an Everton jersey to justify being picked in the squad at all, never mind the starting XI, so it's time for Southgate to cut the chord and give him some time to plot a comeback.

As for Gomez, this was by far the tougher decision, but there have been some gaping chinks in his armour for Liverpool this season and being dropped could be the kick up the backside he needs to find his best form again.


Making up the numbers

Harvey Barnes

James Ward-Prowse

Conor Coady

Kalvin Phillips

Harry Winks

Tyrone Mings

I'll be the first person to admit that it's always nice seeing underdogs and success stories making their way into the England squad, so good on all these players for earning their stripes for the Three Lions.

But let's be honest, none of these six players are going to strike fear into opponents if they're included in the squad for Euro 2020 or the 2022 World Cup, unless they make major improvements in the mean time.

As things stand, however, it would be a worrying situation for England if the likes of Ward-Prowse, Barnes and Winks in particular were considered anything more than squad players or impact substitutions.


One for the future

Bukayo Saka

Dominic Calvert-Lewin

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Reece James

There's nothing better than seeing young English players thriving if you're a fan of the Three Lions and thus, we had to create a special category for these fledging players finding their feet on the global stage.

The lead man at the moment is certainly Calvert-Lewin, having scored on his England bow and bagged two hat-tricks for Everton this season, but we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves quite yet.

The Toffees hero more than deserves his place in the squad, we'll just have to wait and see whether his advancing age brings with it consistent goalscoring in the Premier League and during his caps for England.


Middle of the road

Michael Keane

Eric Dier

Mason Mount

Tammy Abraham

Declan Rice

So, these are the sorts of players who are certainly deserving of their England call-ups, but neither set the world alight internationally nor have little enough experience to warrant the 'one of the future' tier.

We're yet to see quite why Southgate is so excited about Mount in the England fold, while his Blues teammate, Abraham, will need to show his grit competing with Timo Werner to rise above England's rich striking talent.

As for Keane, Dier and Rice, the moral of the story is that all three players have had solid England careers thus far but - winning penalties against Colombia aside - can we really go any further than 'solid'?



Harry Maguire

Jack Grealish

Nick Pope

Dean Henderson

Kieran Trippier

Danny Ings

Ben Chilwell

This is a compliment, trust me, it just happens that none of these players have done enough for their country to earn 'hero' status nor have they done enough for their clubs to be branded 'world-class'.

Henderson and Pope, for me, are much better goalkeeping options than Pickford and only time will tell which of them will earn the number one jersey more than the other.

I feel like Trippier deserves his place just for that Croatia free-kick, Chilwell has proven a handy left-back for his country, Maguire is a top, top defender on his day and Grealish proved his class during the win over Wales.

In terms of Ings, call it premature when he has less than five England caps, but he's already on the scoreboard internationally and is fresh from challenging for the Premier League Golden Boot.


England hero

Jordan Henderson

Marcus Rashford

Kyle Walker

Like it or not, Henderson is one of the best players in the England squad and has the strongest claim of being world-class after captaining Liverpool to Premier League and Champions League glory.

And how could Rashford finish any lower than 'hero' both for his ever-improving performances for England and United as well as his remarkable efforts to battle child poverty that have justly earned him an MBE?

As for Walker, yes, he does have plenty of off-days in an England shirt, but 'good' just seemed too harsh for one of Pep Guardiola's stalwarts and a proven winner with half a century of caps for his country.



Harry Kane

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Jadon Sancho

I think we can all agree that Kane deserves his place in the highest tier because, shy of Robert Lewandowski, there's hardly a better number nine in the world when he's on top form.

For me, despite his sticky start to the season, Alexander-Arnold remains the best right-back in the world and has frankly revolutionised the position by way of consistently surpassing 10 Premier League assist per season.

And although Sancho has yet to prove himself in an England shirt, the youngster is still deserving of the 'world-class' title after surpassing both 15 assists and 15 goals for Borussia Dortmund in 2019/20.


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GIVEMESPORT's Kobe Tong says

It feels harsh ranking the England squad like this after such an impressive victory, but we're still a long way away from a side that can truly cause damage at Euro 2020.

Regardless of his winner on Sunday, I've got to back Grealish over Mount and it pains me that Southgate, for reasons largely unknown, seems to have an infatuation with the reverse arrangement.

I also feel pretty certain that either Henderson or Pope should start over Pickford because, in spite of a sound Belgium performance, his Everton form shows he's a clanger waiting to happen.


Otherwise, we simply have to build the team around Kane both for his incredible goal-scoring and his seven Premier League assists this season highlighting his creative attributes, too.

My starting XI would be: Pope, Alexander-Arnold, Maguire, Keane, Chilwell, Henderson, Rice, Grealish, Sancho, Kane and Rashford.

Then again, what do I know? Besides, Southgate managed to overhaul the best team in the world by starting three right-backs, so perhaps there's a big tactical secret that I'm missing...

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