England

England: Fringe players to watch out for ahead of 2022 World Cup

Tom Gott
Southgate has some decisions to make
Southgate has some decisions to make / Danehouse Photography Ltd/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

The 2022 World Cup continues to creep up on us.

England boss Gareth Southgate will already have a pretty good idea of what his squad will look like for the global showpiece in Qatar, but there will be a handful of places still up for grabs. Fortunately for the boss, there are a number of players who look capable of forcing their way into the setup.

Here's a closer look at some of the fringe players worth keeping an eye on.

1. James Maddison (Leicester City)

James Maddison
Maddison looked destined to make the squad / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

Look, nobody at Leicester looks good right now. Southgate is not rocking up to the King Power Stadium looking for talent from the Premier League's bottom club.

That being said, if anyone can break out of the funk, it's probably James Maddison.

He has two goals and an assist in his first five Premier League games this year and ended last season on an incomparable tear. The talent is there, and if Maddison can show it a little bit more, he could be on the plane to Qatar.

2. Ivan Toney

Ivan Toney
Toney is flying this season / Steve Bardens/GettyImages

Yep, the highest-scoring Englishman in the Premier League somehow still counts as a fringe player. In fact, he's still waiting for his first call-up to the England squad.

Ivan Toney has proven his ability to hang at the highest level in English football and just why the Brentford man is yet to make a single international appearance is anyone's guess.

If he keeps scoring goals and bullying defenders, there's no way Southgate will be able to overlook him.

3. Eric Dier

Eric Dier
Dier is figuring himself out / Craig Mercer/MB Media/GettyImages

Antonio Conte has long been adamant that Eric Dier can get back into the England setup. It was a comical suggestion at first but, over time, it has seemed more and more reasonable. Almost as if these expensive Premier League managers know a little something about talent.

The versatile Dier has been a mainstay in Tottenham's defence for over a year now, shining on their push for the top four last season before getting the business done this year as well.

Centre-back is perhaps the most up-in-the-air position in Southgate's squad. Dier has a good a chance as anyone to make it.

4. Ebere Eze

Eberechi Eze
Eze is back to full fitness / Jan Kruger/GettyImages

Patrick Vieira's Crystal Palace can be a lot of fun to watch and a large part of that is the return to fitness of Ebere Eze.

Comfortable in midfield or on the wing, the 24-year-old is a dribbling machine who has already started racking up assists this year. It's a sort of play style that the Three Lions aren't really used to.

Eze has never played for the senior England side but was a regular at youth level. If he can step his performances up a gear, he might get the chance to change that.

5. Callum Hudson-Odoi

Callum Hudson-Odoi
Hudson-Odoi is out in Germany / Frederic Scheidemann/GettyImages

It's about three years too late, but Callum Hudson-Odoi has finally left Chelsea on loan in search of regular minutes.

He's getting them at Bayer Leverkusen in Germany, where he bagged an assist on his debut and has already attracted plenty of praise for his impact on the attack.

With Ghana trying to convince Hudson-Odoi to switch his international allegiance, Southgate may have to act quick if he wants to keep the winger around.

6. Jacob Ramsey

Jacob Ramsey
Ramsey has done his best to stand out / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Jacob Ramsey is another of those players who have been hampered by his team's poor performance.

Aston Villa have been making headlines for all the wrong reasons this year but one of the few positives from Steven Gerrard's side has been midfielder Ramsey.

The 21-year-old threatened to become a real goal threat last season, netting six league goals, but has struggled to match that output this year. If he can get the goals flowing again, Southgate won't be able to say no.

7. Harvey Elliott

Harvey Elliott
Elliott has seen plenty of minutes / Ivan Romano/GettyImages

Liverpool's midfield injury crisis has benefitted Harvey Elliott, who has seen a lot more minutes than perhaps he would have expected.

While the Reds haven't exactly set the world on fire this season, Elliott has stood out at times, making a difference both in midfield and further forward on the wings.

He brings an intriguing level of versatility that just might see him secure a spot in Southgate's squad.

8. Anthony Gordon

Anthony Gordon
Gordon is on Chelsea's radar / Laurence Griffiths/GettyImages

Many laughed at the idea that Anthony Gordon could be worth £60m to Chelsea. While he might not have lived up to that just yet, he's put in a damn good shift so far.

Gordon, as he did last year, has put Everton on his shoulders and done his best to will them to victory. This season, however, he has flashed a scoring streak that was absent from his game in the past.

The standards to make the England squad as a winger are pretty high, but Gordon has set himself up for a good run at Southgate's setup.

9. Ryan Sessegnon

Ryan Sessegnon
Conte has taken a liking to Sessegnon / Warren Little/GettyImages

When Ryan Sessegnon joined Tottenham in 2019, it seemed certain that he would be a part of the 2022 World Cup squad.

While the past few years haven't been particularly kind to the former Fulham man, Sessegnon looks to have finally figured things out under Conte and is thriving in a left wing-back role that Southgate enjoys using as well.

As far as left-sided players go, competition is not as high as in other positions, so a good run of form could make the world of difference for Sessegnon.

10. Marcus Edwards

Marcus Edwards
Edwards is making a real impact for Sporting / PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/GettyImages

It's often claimed (rightly or wrongly) that playing outside of England harms your chances of making the national team squad.

Marcus Edwards, the winger famously compared to Lionel Messi by Mauricio Pochettino, is doing his best to change that out in Portugal with Sporting CP.

The former Spurs youngster has been racking up goals and assists over the past few years and opened his Champions League account earlier this season, suggesting he has stepped his game up at the right time. Are you watching, Mr. Southgate?

facebooktwitterreddit