Premier League's World Cup stars
Tournament summers are always difficult for managers of club sides. There isn’t as much time to arrange transfers and pre-season training tends to be pushed back for players who advance to the latter stages of international competitions, while there’s also the risk of star men picking up injuries which carry over into the domestic campaign.
Some Premier League bosses have more to worry about than others, though. In this slideshow, we rank all 20 top-flight outfits by how many of their players will be taking part in the 2018 World Cup (there are 101 in total).
18= Bournemouth/Fulham/Watford (0)
Eddie Howe, Slavisa Jokanovic and Javi Gracia will all be watching the World Cup with their feet up this summer given that no Bournemouth, Fulham or Watford players will be taking part.
The Netherlands’ failure to qualify denied Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake his chance to shine on the biggest stage of all, while Fulham forward Ryan Sessegnon was always an outside bet to make Gareth Southgate’s England squad. Watford employ players from over 10 different countries but there will be no Hornets strutting their stuff in Russia in the coming weeks.
14= Cardiff (1)
Cardiff’s promotion to the Premier League last term came as a surprise, with the Bluebirds widely expected to finish in mid-table in the second tier. Neil Warnock did a wonderful job of returning the Welsh outfit to the promised land, and he will be grateful that all but one of his charges have the summer off ahead of 2018/19.
Midfielder Aron Gunnarsson has been nursing a knee injury but should be fit for Iceland’s opening game against Argentina on 16 June, when he will hope to lead his country out as captain.
14= Newcastle (1)
None of those who played a pivotal role in Newcastle’s 10th-place finish last season will be gracing a pitch in Russia this summer. Jamaal Lascelles and Jonjo Shelvey didn’t make the England squad despite finishing the campaign strongly, while Senegalese midfielder Mohamed Diame retired from international football last year.
The Magpies will be represented by Aleksandar Mitrovic, though, the Serbian striker who spent the second half of 2017/18 firing Fulham into the top flight.
14= Wolves (1)
Jorge Mendes’ complex relationship with Wolves has seen the West Midlanders linked with internationals such as Rui Patricio and Andre Silva in recent weeks, but they only have one World Cup participant in their ranks at time of writing – and he isn’t Portuguese.
Roman Saiss made 42 league appearances for Nuno’s side in 2017/18, and the Moroccan midfielder will hope his World Cup campaign is as successful as his domestic one as the Atlas Lions attempt to spring a surprise in Group B.
14= Crystal Palace (1)
Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s performances on loan at Selhurst Park helped him into Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad, but the England international’s registration still belongs to Chelsea. That leaves the Eagles with just one representative in Russia, Serbian midfielder Luka Milivojevic.
The former Olympiacos man was Palace’s most consistent performer last season, and he will be looking to transfer his club form to the international stage when he plays alongside Nemanja Matic in the Serbia engine room.
12= Burnley (2)
You would ordinarily expect a team who have just finished seventh in the Premier League to have more than two World Cup stars in their ranks, but Sean Dyche has built a predominantly British squad at Turf Moor.
Nick Pope forced his way into the England reckoning after a superb season for the Clarets, while Johann Berg Gudmundsson will expect to start for Iceland – the smallest ever World Cup nation – this summer.
12= West Ham (2)
Manuel Lanzini only made his international debut a year ago, but he seemed to have played himself into Jorge Sampaoli’s first-choice Argentina XI until a ruptured cruciate ligament ruled him out of the World Cup.
There are now only two Hammers set to take part in Russia: Senegal midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate and Mexico striker Javier Hernandez. The latter is participating in his third finals and will be aiming to help El Tri reach the quarter-finals on foreign soil for the first time.
9= Brighton (3)
Goalkeeper Mat Ryan proved to be an inspired signing for Brighton, keeping 10 clean sheets as Chris Hughton’s men secured another season of Premier League football. Australia will need him to be at his best if they are to advance to the last 16 from a group containing France, Peru and Denmark.
Winger Jose Izquierdo will be representing Colombia this summer, while Berlin-born defender Leon Balogun – a signing completed by Albion towards the end of May – plays his international football for Nigeria.
9= Everton (3)
Icelandic football fans were deeply concerned when Gylfi Sigurdsson picked up a knee injury while playing for Everton in March, but the attacking midfielder looks set to be fit for the group stage of his country’s maiden World Cup appearance.
Elsewhere, Idrissa Gueye will be dreaming of emulating Senegal’s run to the quarter-finals at the 2002 World Cup, and Jordan Pickford has established himself as England’s No.1 goalkeeper ahead of Nick Pope and Jack Butland.
9= Huddersfield (3)
Huddersfield fans will be focusing on Group C at this summer’s competition, with all three of their representatives found in that segment of the draw.
Danish duo Jonas Lossl and Mathias Jorgensen will no doubt have 21 June circled in their diaries, with Aaron Mooy’s Australia set to provide the opposition in Samara that afternoon. Group C, which also features France and Peru, is one of the most open of the first round, so all three Town players will be targeting a place in the last 16.
8. Southampton (4)
Southampton will be looking to put 2017/18 behind them as quickly as possible, and four of their players have the perfect chance to end the campaign on a high at the World Cup.
Ryan Bertrand missed out on the England squad but fellow full-back Cedric Soares will start for Portugal, as will Dusan Tadic for Serbia and Maya Yoshida for Japan. Poland defender Jan Bednarek may have to be a little more patient for game time.
6= Arsenal (8)
Arsenal’s signing of Switzerland skipper Stephan Lichtsteiner takes their World Cup contingent up to eight. The right-back is now a team-mate of Granit Xhaka at both club and international level, and the pair could potentially face Mesut Ozil and Germany in the last 16.
Elsewhere, Mohamed Elneny and Alex Iwobi are key players for Egypt and Nigeria respectively, while David Ospina remains Colombia’s No.1. Danny Welbeck (England) and Nacho Monreal (Spain) are unlikely to start but could feature at some point in Russia.
6= Liverpool (8)
Even without signing France international Nabil Fekir, Liverpool's tally of World Cup representatives stands at eight. Each member of their exhilarating front three will be involved, although Roberto Firmino (Brazil) may not get as many minutes as Sadio Mane (Senegal) or the sore-shouldered Mohamed Salah (Egypt).
Jordan Henderson looks to be Gareth Southgate’s first choice at the base of England’s midfield, but Trent Alexander-Arnold is a back-up at right wing-back. Simon Mignolet is also a reserve for Belgium, so too Marko Grujic for Serbia, while Dejan Lovren is Croatia’s leading centre-back.
5. Leicester (10)
Leicester have been quick out of the blocks in the summer transfer window, snapping up Jonny Evans and Ricardo Pereira before the start of the World Cup. The latter will play for Portugal alongside new club colleague Adrien Silva, while his fellow defenders Harry Maguire (England) and Yohan Benalouane (Tunisia) have also been called up.
Maguire is joined in the Three Lions’ travelling party by Jamie Vardy, and Nigeria’s Kelechi Iheanacho, Wilfred Ndidi and Ahmed Musa will be flying the Leicester flag as a trio. Kasper Schmeichel is Denmark’s first choice between the posts but Shinji Okazaki seems to have fallen out of favour with Japan.
3= Manchester United (12)
Brazil midfielder Fred makes it a round dozen Red Devils in Russia, the others including England quartet Jesse Lingard, Ashley Young, Marcus Rashford and Phil Jones.
Those four will lock horns with Belgium’s Marouane Fellaini and Romelu Lukaku in the group stage, although Lukaku is perhaps the only one of the six guaranteed a starting spot. David de Gea (Spain), Nemanja Matic (Serbia) and Paul Pogba (France) could be pivotal to their nation’s chances, with defenders Marcos Rojo (Argentina) and Victor Lindelof (Sweden) completing United’s set.
3= Tottenham (12)
Tottenham have supplied England with more players than any other club, with Dele Alli, Harry Kane, Kieran Trippier, Danny Rose and Eric Dier all part of Gareth Southgate’s squad for Russia.
The White Hart quintet will come face to face with team-mates Mousa Dembele, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld when the Three Lions take on Belgium in their final group game, an encounter which could decide who finishes in first place – or goes home in shame. Elsewhere, Son Heung-min is South Korea’s main man, Hugo Lloris captains France, Christian Eriksen is Denmark’s best player and Davinson Sanchez will start for Colombia.
2. Chelsea (14)
Alvaro Morata was a surprise omission from the Spain squad despite his patchy form in 2017/18, but Chelsea still have plenty of employees at the World Cup. Cesar Azpilicueta was included in La Roja’s 23-man group, with fellow defenders Gary Cahill (England), Antonio Rudiger (Germany), Kenneth Omeruo (Nigeria) and Andreas Christensen (Denmark) also named in their respective countries’ travelling parties.
Willian will be part of the Brazilian effort to win the tournament for the sixth time, while Frenchmen N’Golo Kante and Olivier Giroud will also have designs on going all the way. Willy Caballero and Victor Moses will meet when Argentina face Nigeria in Group D, as will Cahill and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (England) and Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois and Michy Batshuayi (Belgium) in Group G.
1. Manchester City (16)
Manchester City coasted to the Premier League title last term and they also comfortably top this ranking with 16 representatives from eight different countries. Their joint-largest contingent is Brazilian, featuring Danilo, Ederson, Fernandinho and Gabriel Jesus, with four players – Kyle Walker, Raheem Sterling, John Stones and Fabian Delph – set to turn out for England too.
Belgian duo Vincent Kompany and Kevin De Bruyne have now been team-mates for both club and country for three years, which is also the case for Argentines Sergio Aguero and Nicolas Otamendi. Bernardo Silva and David Silva will do battle when Portugal face Spain in the group stage, while Benjamin Mendy (France) and Ilkay Gundogan (Germany) will both hope to be world champions in six weeks’ time.
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