As many as 13 Three Lions featured on FFT’s first annual countdown of the game’s finest footballers back in 2007, but that figure had fallen to a record low of three in 2014 as only Wayne Rooney, Sterling and his then-Liverpool team-mate Daniel Sturridge were deemed worthy of inclusion in the list.
Sturridge’s injury setbacks have seen him miss out on a second successive appearance in the FFT100, but four England internationals have still made the cut, matching 2013’s edition which featured striker Wayne Rooney, midfielder Michael Carrick and left-backs Ashley Cole and Leighton Baines.
One of England’s few standout performers at the 2014 World Cup, Sterling is the youngest player in the top 50 after being involved in 14 Premier League goals last season and starting his Manchester City career with eight goals in 22 games.
Sterling is joined in this year’s FFT100 by Etihad Stadium team-mate and England No.1 Joe Hart, whose 14 clean sheets last term ensured he won the Premier League Golden Glove for a fourth time in just six seasons.
Rooney retains a place among the elite group but only just, falling 42 places despite becoming his country’s all-time top scorer ahead of Sir Bobby Charlton.
And the Manchester United skipper’s disappointing club form has seen him usurped by rising Spurs star Harry Kane. Twenty-four Premier League goals and three international strikes in the calendar year were enough to see the Chingford-born frontman make a first appearance in the FFT100.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1