England need four points from their last two qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup to secure their place in next year’s tournament in Qatar.
Gareth Southgate’s side beat Andorra 5-0 but failed against Hungary at Wembley and failed to win a home qualifier for the first time in nine years.
With Albania and San Marino still to play, the beaten Euro 2020 finalists will still be preferred in Group I and will secure their place in the finals.
However, who Southgate would add to its 23-man roster is far less certain. Who can trust in a place as long as England gets there? Who is at odds? Who has to do and who has to be observed?
The international break in October is drawing to a close. The independent one goes through the candidates …
Kane’s wait for a Premier League goal could be all year long before his English place is threatened in any way. Even then, Southgate would almost certainly stand by his captain, given how consistent he was internationally.
Sterling’s options continue to be limited by Pep Guardiola’s rotation policy at Manchester City, but that was the case towards the end of last season. Southgate trusted him back then, was rewarded with profitable performances and will continue to stand by him.
Missed the camp in October due to an injury. Maguire would be the first to admit his recent form for United was mixed at best, but a quietly outstanding campaign last year was followed by a formidable Euro. Still England’s best central defender by far.
One of England’s best summer artists. Pickford’s place had previously been questioned just for Southgate to correctly point out that it never abandoned his country. Today it is the undisputed first choice.
Only 22-year-old Rice is one of the first names on the team roster but can appear as part of a couple. Struggled to control Hungary’s counterattacks as a lone player and missed the support of his criminal partner Phillips.
Southgate’s first choice on left-back. Shaw has taken a remarkable turnaround internationally last year, proving that he has the mental strength to recover from the costly mistake of awarding a penalty for Hungary’s goal.
Probably the naturally gifted millennium generation in England, but not yet a special role in Southgate’s line-up. Foden is destined to be a mainstay on this site, although it’s unclear when and where this regular spot comes from.
Mount is a regular under Southgate and has played practically every time he’s available this year but has rarely been featured in the broad position he excelled in at Chelsea under Thomas Tuchel. Another one who needs to nail a role.
He turned the equalizer against Hungary and was clearly one of England’s top two center-backs, but it is worrying that all four of his appearances so far this season have been international rather than club-level.
Walker is no longer the marauding offensive full-back he used to be, but much more cautious and often plays as the third central defender, regardless of Southgate’s system. His pace of recovery is invaluable and allows England to play with more adventure.
Grealish has been promoted to the first XI since the summer and has yet to fully consolidate his place. Dragged away against Hungary despite being one of the few sparks. Minutes at Manchester City could be harder to come by in the next few months.