England manager Gareth Southgate has decided on his 23-man squad for the World Cup in Russia.
The former Middlesbrough boss, who guided England’s Under-21’s to glory at the Toulon Tournament two summers ago, will hope to exceed expectations and take England to the business end of the competition. And he’ll do so with a contingent that suggests he has prioritised form over experience.
Southgate had said that his squad for Russia would not contain any surprises, but according to the Goal Pressure Index, presented by Sure and powered by Opta, a few rather left-field names should have found themselves on the plane to Russia.
Bournemouth’s Jordon Ibe earned a score of 60 after improving on a drab first season on the south coast, while West Ham’s Mark Noble has also performed under pressure as his side recovered from a worrying start to avoid the drop.
Their inclusions come at the expense of Jack Wilshere and Adam Lallana, who have suffered injury-blighted campaigns.
In defence, Crystal Palace’s James Tomkins’ score of 73 made him one of the best performing defenders in the Premier League, while the often-overlooked Ben Mee also made the cut after flourishing further under Sean Dyche at Burnley.
Newcastle skipper Jamaal Lascelles bettered the aforementioned duo with a score of 75.8, but John Stones, Kieran Trippier and Gary Cahill all failed to make the grade.
The usual suspects were included in attack and between the sticks, but Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope’s score of 71.3, almost 12 points better than the perceived number one Jordan Pickford (59.7), certainly provides food for thought. Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane unsurprisingly scored the best out of England’s attackers, with scores of 79.2 and 72 respectively, with Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and Jamie Vardy providing able support.
Overall, the 174 English players in the Premier League averaged a 55.3 Pressure Index Rating this season, a score bettered immensely by players from Brazil and Germany, the leading favourites to win the World Cup in Moscow in July.
Germany’s 14-strong Premier League contingent averaged a score of 62.2, with Brazil’s 12-man party just behind with an overall rating of 61.2. Their respective scores blow England’s out of the water, though it is worth taking into account the number of players representing the respective nations in England’s top tier.
The Goal Pressure Index is presented by Sure, Official Partner of Chelsea FC, Everton FC and Southampton FC. Join the conversation on Twitter @Sure.