Since the United States is missing from the 2018 World Cup, set to kick off in less than 50 days, a lot of people are picking England as their rooting interest.
That makes sense. England's as likely to let you down as the United States are when it comes to international soccer. They're known for bad food, worse weather and overhyped soccer teams. But, no matter what their world cup odds are, their performance is something that is going to be talked about. So let's look at how they might line up in this year's World Cup.
Attack: Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling
So England start strong. Harry Kane has been almost as good as it gets this year for Tottenham. He's got 38 goals in 45 appearances because he's this otherworldly combination of fast and tall and coordinated with his feet. You don't usually get those three things together. You should be in awe of him for his talents. However, you don't need to be in awe of his face, which has been deemed extremely punchable in the TSFJ electronic offices.
Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling would feed on defenses preoccupied with facing Kane. Rashford has been used primarily in a substitute's role at Manchester United, scoring 12 goals in 48 appearances and forcing Jose Mourinho to start him more frequently. If you're good enough to start at Manchester United, you're more than good enough to start for England. Sterling fits in perfectly on either side of Kane in a front three, with his speed allowing him to slither in behind Kane or down the sidelines.
Midfield: Dele Alli, Eric Dyer, Jordan Henderson
England loses a bit of its luster in the midfield. This was a position of strength for England not too long ago, with the likes of Steve Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Paul Scholes. But they've lost a bit of quality in their replacements. To be honest, the starting midfielders could include anyone from Danny Drinkwater, an excellent British name, to Jonjo Shelvey (if you sorta don't care about soccer and just want some wild sh** to happen during a game, you want Jonjo Shelvey out there). Because there's nobody really great, you go with Dele Alli, who's the closest, and two dudes who make life hell for the other midfield in Eric Dyer and Jordan Henderson.
Defense: Ashley Young, Gary Cahill, Not John Stones, Kyle Walker
This is a case of not knowing who the best player is, but rather, knowing who it's not. John Stones was so, so good before he moved to Manchester City. I hope that he's good again someday. But you can't go fishing for form at the World Cup and Stones has played sparingly for Manchester City lately. Ashley Young is a bit of a surprise at left back but he hemmed up Mohamed Salah better than anyone else in the world this year. Gary Cahill is the solid center back you want and England has like six good right backs so the most expensive one, Kyle Walker, gets to play.
The options are not pretty between the sticks for England, as they look something like this:
- Joe Hart: Lost his starting gig on a bad West Ham team
- Jordan Pickford: Still somewhat green, possibly the most potential
- Fraser Forster: Probably the currently most talented, not playing for a relegated team
- Jack Butland: I guess?
If England could get this right, they might cause some problems. But they're hilariously short on talent at keeper for an established European power. But you might as well put Gunnersaurus in goal.
Who do you think England will select as their starting XI for the 2018 World Cup? Let us know in the comments section if we got the picks right or wrong!
"Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very
disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more
important than that."
Follow me on Twitter @cheedelt for more me.