The England national football team is in the healthiest state it’s been in for years.
Manager Gareth Southgate has a wealth of talent at his disposal, which means the Three Lions will be contenders to win both Euro 2020 and the 2022 World Cup.
Football may come home sooner rather than later and the exciting prospect of England finally lifting a major trophy got us thinking; which players to hail from the country have performed best in the Premier League this season?
With so many Englishmen thriving in the division, it’s hard to pick just 11 players, but that’s exactly what we’ve done below and it’s made us realise how tough Southgate has got it – although we still wouldn’t mind having his job…
We’ve gone for a classic Manchester City-esque formation for our XI, with two attacking central midfielders in front of an enforcer and two wingers either side of the centre-forward.
GK – Nick Pope (Burnley)
It’s simply really, Pope is England’s best goalkeeper and should be the country’s number one ahead of Jordan Pickford.
The Burnley man has excelled once again in 2020/21, keeping eight clean sheets during what’s been a tough season for Sean Dyche’s side overall.
RB – Matty Cash (Aston Villa)
The £10.8m-rated full-back is a contender to be labelled the ‘signing of the season’. Cash has made the right-hand side of Villa’s defence his own, combining no-nonsense defending with penetrative attacking play.
If you’d have predicted Cash would feature in this XI ahead of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kyle Walker at the start of the season, people would have questioned your judgement – to say the least. But that’s football for you!
CB – Ezri Konsa (Aston Villa)
It was tough picking between Konsa and his teammate Tyrone Mings, but we’ve bravely opted for Konsa, a call most will probably disagree with.
The former Brentford man has been a revelation for Dean Smith’s side in 2020/21 and Harry Maguire could certainly learn a thing or two from the £10.8m-rated man about the art of defending.
CB – John Stones (Manchester City)
Stones is well and truly back. The man we all thought would one day be England’s finest defender is finally fulfilling all of his enormous potential and it’s glorious to see.
Unless he picks up a serious injury, the silky City centre-back will be one of the first names on Southgate’s team sheet this summer.
LB – Luke Shaw (Manchester United)
James Justin and Matt Targett were both strong candidates for the left-back spot, however, we just couldn’t look past a revitalised Shaw.
He’s thrived in defence and the 25-year-old has also been a hub of creativity during his United renaissance in 2020/21, contributing five assists in the Premier League. An England recall beckons for the former Southampton man.
CDM – Declan Rice (West Ham)
With Jordan Henderson way below his best this season, we had to opt for Rice at CDM, as his pragmatic excellence has been a key factor behind the Hammers enjoying their best campaign in years.
He’s a top player and at the age of just 22, Rice is only going to get better and it’ll be a shock if he’s not signed up by a European giant sooner rather than later.
RM – Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)
Where would the Gunners be this season without their 19-year-old sensation? Probably lingering tantalisingly close to the relegation zone. That’s how good the Hale End graduate has been.
The versatile teenager has been devastatingly effective since being shifted out to the right-wing by Mikel Arteta, so much so that he’s almost certain to be part of England’s squad for Euro 2020 this summer.
CAM – Phil Foden (Manchester City)
Omitting Mason Mount and James Maddison was a hard call to make, but how could we possibly leave out City’s very own English midfield genius, eh?
The ‘Stockport Iniesta’ just oozes class and when a 20-year-old is a key component in a high-quality Pep Guardiola team, they simply cannot be ignored. The word ‘generational’ instantly springs to mind whenever Foden’s name is brought up.
CAM – Jack Grealish (Aston Villa)
Grealish is now unquestionably one of the best playmakers in world football, as the £45m-rated maestro is the primary reason why Villa are hopeful of playing European football in 2021/22.
To highlight just how good he has been, Grealish – who’s scored six goals and contributed 10 assists in the Premier League – is the fifth-highest rated player in Europe this season over on WhoScored.
LM – Harvey Barnes (Leicester City)
Raheem Sterling (8G, 5A) and Marcus Rashford (8G, 6A) have both contributed to more goals this season, but what Barnes (8G, 3A) has done at Leicester has caught our eye more.
The 23-year-old has blossomed into a world beater in 2020/21 and without him, Brendan Rodgers’ side wouldn’t be in the mix for the top four. Barnes has to go to Euro 2020 in a few months’ time, it’s as simple as that.
ST – Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
England’s captain has been his usual brilliant self this season. The Tottenham striker has netted 13 goals and delivered 11 assists in Premier League action, the most involvements of any player in the division.
Patrick Bamford, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Jamie Vardy have all been fairly prolific as well, but even their efforts pale in comparison to Kane’s. What a footballer he is.