Ranked! England’s 10 best players right now
Having qualified for the 2018 World Cup, England now have the luxury of playing prestige friendlies. Two of those coming up are against Germany and Brazil, and they should be decent tests of England’s progress so far under Gareth Southgate. But they won’t be, because the England boss is without so many of his his best players.
Rotating your squad is sensible as it helps to avoid fatigue, but it does deprive England fans of the chance to see England’s finest talents; players who may lack the reputation of the “golden generation” that preceded them but have it in them to scale greater heights.
Just who are these players, though? These are the 10 most talented Englishmen playing the game today.
10. Phil Jones
Ability has never been Phil Jones’s problem; the Manchester United man has plenty of that. His ceaseless talent has always been held back by a physique that is as fragile as it is imposing. Jones is a brilliant machine not built for the rigour of biweekly football, hence the injuries. But when he’s fit, as he is now, he’s one hell of a defender.
9. Eric Dier
For so long Dier appeared to be a player without a true role. A jack of all trades but a master of none. An English John O’Shea, if you will. This season, however, the arrival of Davinson Sanchez at Spurs has allowed Dier extended minutes as a defensive midfielder and he’s now reaping the rewards, putting in a series of great displays including against Real Madrid.
8. Adam Lallana
Lallana’s qualities were never a secret but many people assumed he simply wasn’t that good. However witnessing Liverpool desperately floundering about in midfield without the former Saint’s cool, composed and creative play, it’s clear his quality needs to be reassessed.
7. Danny Rose
Danny Rose has been injured a lot this season and Ben Davies and Ryan Bertrand (for club and country) have been so admirable in his absence that Rose is at risk of becoming a forgotten man. A ridiculous prospect given the consistent quality the left-back has displayed over the last two seasons.
6. Marcus Rashford
Marvellous Marcus is the most fearless player on any pitch he plays. Less than a month out of his teenage years, Rashford plays with a coolness and composure that has to be seen to be believed.
Full of pace and penetration, he’s developing a second position out on the left as a dynamic wing-forward. The kind of player who can pick up the ball and drive towards either byline or goal. A multi-threat talent who, with just a little polish, could become a world great.