Assessing Each Uncapped England Star's Chances of Becoming a Three Lions Regular

When it came to England squads, there used to be certain rules. Do you pick players from the Championship? No. Do you pick uncapped players if they're in really good form? No. Do you pick English players from abroad? Hahaha don't be stupid, there are no English players playing abroad.


But a man who single-handedly revitalised the waistcoat industry is not one to be held back by the archaic ideas of his predecessors. Gareth Southgate balks at the notion of rules. He picks players from the Championship, he picks uncapped players if they've earned it, and you'd better believe he picks players from abroad. Well, player. Singular.


Through a combination of injuries and experimentation, Southgate has included six uncapped players in his latest squad. Let's check out how each of them can be expected to fare in their England careers - complete with a 'Star of the Future' rating to help gauge their likely level of success.

6. Marcus Bettinelli

Marcus Bettinelli's first England call-up last month was greeted with an overwhelming response of "I thought he was Italian?". Despite conceding 12 goals in four games since then, Bettinelli finds himself back in the England squad, this time to an uproarious reaction of "no but really, I'm sure he's from Italy".


Barring a suspicious bout of food poisoning which lays low his two goalkeeping colleagues, Bettinelli has little chance of making his England debut this week. Or ever. Unfortunately, there are too many other English goalkeepers - most of them better and younger than him - to usurp in the pecking order. Plus, he's definitely Italian.


Star of the Future Rating: Chris Kirkland

5. Lewis Dunk

By contrast, Lewis Dunk is such an unmistakably English name that he could be interchanged with a character from Only Fools & Horses and nobody would notice, at least until he started speaking. The Brighton defender has an unfortunate habit of scoring a lot of own goals, but as Jamie Carragher will attest, that needn't be an obstacle to an international career.


I actually really like Dunk, but the idea of him playing without Shane Duffy makes me sad as the two are so tight-knit that they are basically married (in fact, did anyone check the small print of those new contracts they signed last week?). At the age of 26, Dunk's time has probably come too late - John Stones and Harry Maguire are only 24 and 25 respectively. 


Star of the Future Rating: Stephen Warnock

4. Nathaniel Chalobah

Gareth Southgate's reason for leaving in-form Liverpool star Daniel Sturridge out of his squad was that he "has not had a lot of football". So the four minutes of Premier League football Nathaniel Chalobah played against Tottenham last month must have been Maradona-esque to earn his first call-up.


Chalobah has plenty of experience at youth level - only James Milner has made more England U21 appearances than him. But if he's not starting for Watford at the age of 23, I think we can rule out a sparkling career. When Sturridge was 23, he won the Champions League. Just saying.


Star of the Future Rating: Leon Osman

3. Mason Mount

With Mason Mount and Harvey Barnes both ripping up the Championship this season during loan spells from Premier League clubs, questions over which would get an England call-up first were inevitable. On the one hand, Barnes has more goals, more assists, and his team are higher in the league. On the other hand, Mount plays for Chelsea. No contest.


It's fantastic to see a lower league player in the England squad, as it offers hope to Adebayo Akinfenwa that his elusive first cap might be just around the corner. Mount looks like a real talent and could be an England regular in the years to come, as long as he doesn't get caught in the cogs of Chelsea's inscrutable youth system.


Star of the Future Rating: Michael Carrick

2. James Maddison

Dynamic, aggressive and capable of scoring from any situation - James Maddison is the attacking midfielder England have been looking for since Steven Gerrard retired. Now he just needs an equally talented midfielder who he can't play with and we're halfway towards recreating the golden generation.


A few years on from their Premier League title win, Leicester are now providing the backbone for the future of the national team. Maddison, Harry Maguire, Ben Chilwell, Demarai Gray and Harvey Barnes all have a part to play in spearheading the next generation. And yes, I am going to keep banging the Harvey Barnes drum until he gets a call-up.


Star of the Future Rating: Steven Gerrard

1. Jadon Sancho

In a stark prophecy for the future which awaits us all after Brexit, Jadon Sancho realised that there were no opportunities available in England and decided that he would be better off in Europe. He moved to Germany and found that his talents were put to much better use in a league which properly appreciates young players rather than farming them out on loan. Imagine that.


With seven league assists so far this season at a rate of one every 30 minutes, Sancho is exactly the sort of player England will need if they are to build on this year's World Cup semi final. And, if the life cycle of the average English winger is anything to go by, he's only a few good performances away from a Sun article about how much he spent on a car.

 

Star of the Future Rating: Michael Owen