When an England manager picks his squad for the upcoming games, he’s basically picking his fantasy team, right?
Well, there’s probably more thought put into it than that. But as it’s the international break, for our weekly look the form of Premier League footballers through the lens of comprehensive fantasy football game FanDuel, we thought we’d have a look at what the England starting XI would look like if it were based on FanDuel points. FanDuel will match your first deposit all the way up to £400, so have a look at the performances this weekend and then sign up after the international break!
With the way the game is set up, goalkeepers and defenders who face lots of shots and are thus forced to make a lot of tackles and blocks tend to win the most points, whilst creative attackers who score and set up goals are also credited points.
In this side – we’ve gone with a standard 4-4-2 to give us a nice balance of both attacking and defensive options – the most surprising inclusions are probably made in the defence.
22 year-old Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford may be at the bottom of the league, but he is quite clearly not to blame for his side’s relegation form, as the youngster finds himself top of the pile in terms of English goalkeepers.
Although Scott Dann and Curtis Davies make for an interesting England centre back pairing, both of their inclusions can be explained by their central roles in teams who have to defend quite a bit – Dann has also popped up with two goals in his five games so far. But perhaps the biggest surprise inclusion is that of Calum Chambers.
His first game of the season was with Arsenal at home to Liverpool – where he scored – before being shipped off on loan to Middlesbrough where he is working his way into the first team. It seemed like the very minute he moved to Arsenal in 2014 was the minute he was considered for England selection in some sort of big club bias. This time, with his form soaring, rather than see an inclusion in the main squad he finds himself only in the U21 side.
That inclusion might well aid his development and keep criticism and pressure off his young shoulders, but probably does confirm that there’s something in that big club bias.
As Harry Kane is injured and Gareth Barry and James Milner have both retired from international duty, it’s a shame for England that some of the most in-form English players are not available for selection. On the other hand, after being left out of England’s Euro 2016 squad, Theo Walcott’s form has seen him selected for the national team again, and you can see why. He is England’s best performing attacker so far this season, and one of their best performing players overall.
It’s always true that an international team selection is based on who will be part of the setup for the next two years, as all the games between now and the summer of 2018 will just be building up to a World Cup campaign, but in terms of form, England will be hoping that the younger guns like Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley start performing better, because they are the ones England will be relying on over the next two years – not James Milner and Gareth Barry.
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