Jordan Pickford

At just 26, Pickford seems to be suffering from a considerable bout of Joe Hart-itis, but there was a chance that this summer’s tournament would arrive before it was too late.

Southgate has often lent on international form just as much as club form – see his loyalty to John Stones and Fabian Delph – and will have noted ahead of this summer that Pickford has never let the Three Lions down.

He has won his team two penalty shoot-outs in the last two years and is the poster boy for Southgate’s commitment to playing out from the back. Twisting, with three months to go, could easily have caused as many problems as sticking.

But if the deterioration of Pickford’s form continues, the choice will become unavoidable, like with Hart in the build-up to the 2018 World Cup.

Dean Henderson and Nick Pope seem certainties, and any number of other goalkeepers could take the third spot in Southgate’s 23 in the next 12 months.

Danny Rose

The sudden and unexpected improvement made by Luke Shaw in 2020 meant that Rose’s position in the squad was already under pressure.

He probably would have held onto it, though. He has started two of England’s last six matches, despite being clear second-choice to Ben Chilwell, and said this week that Southgate know that he “brings a lot to the camps.”

But there can be no doubt that a move to Newcastle from Tottenham signals the end of his career at the top level.

Steve Bruce’s side set up in an entirely different way to the Three Lions, largely playing five at the back and one up front, so Rose will have little chance to prove that he retains the athleticism and ability to race up and down the left-hand side like he once did for Spurs.

Southgate culled ever-present Ryan Bertrand for the 2018 World Cup, and staying at St James’ Park next season would surely see Rose chopped for Shaw or another rival.

Danny Ings

Despite not being in possession of a place in the squad, Ings must reflect on a missed opportunity that may never come around again.

For one, the stars are unlikely to align for him in 12 months like they had now.

Injuries to Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford seemed sure to present Ings with an opportunity to impress in the March friendlies. A goal or two in those games would have seen him take the lead in the race for the third striker position, even if Kane and Rashford had made the tournament.

But he had put himself on the verge of selection for March after a season of goalscoring that he is surely unlikely to replicate.

Only Jamie Vardy and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have overshot their xG tally by as much as Ings this season, suggesting that he will struggle to sustain a tally of 15 goals in 29 games next season.


Reece James

Considering that – assuming Southgate sticks to a 4-3-3 system – you can only field one of them, England’s strength in depth at right-back is about as impressive as any position for any team in world football.

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker and Aaron Wan-Bissaka would all have been shoo-ins in previous regimes.

And, given that Jamie Carragher, Phil Jones and Martin Kelly were selected as back-up to Glen Johnson at the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, we can assume that Sheffield United’s George Baldock and Norwich’s Max Aarons would have been looked at in the not too distant past, too.

Such a surplus of options means that when somebody truly outstanding comes along, it takes time for them to break clear of the pack.

James’ excellent efforts for Chelsea may have gone under the radar this season, but he has the potential to at least muscle his way in as Alexander-Arnold’s understudy in the next 12 months.

Phil Foden

Death, taxes and ‘Foden for England!’.

Foden has only started six Premier League matches, but he has been wished into the England team for over two years, since leading the Three Lions to the Under-17 World Cup in October 2017.

With smore breathing space afforded by the abandonment of the Euros, though, his long-touted ascension must now be imminent.

Starts in the EFL Cup final and Manchester derby in the last month seem to symbolise a new level of trust for Foden from Pep Guardiola. He is now above David Silva in the pecking order and not far behind Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez.

In which case, the next 12 months should see him accrue the match experience that Southgate has been waiting for.

It would be a surprise were he not knocking on the door of the first XI by the time the tournament rolls around.

Dele Alli

Dele Alli will surely be back.

He burst onto the scene as the long-term midfield heir to Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard when he scored against France at Wembley in 2015, and has been a first-choice selection in both subsequent tournaments.

He scored 46 goals in his first 150 Tottenham matches, by which time he had only just turned 22. He is still only 23.

Sure, things don’t look rosy for him at Tottenham at the moment. He is surely frustrated by the way he is being asked to play – both as a result of injuries to Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, and Jose Mourinho’s rigid tactics.

But, though those circumstances may mean that he would have missed out on selection this summer, they shouldn’t be too much for him to overcome eventually.

The potential that he has shown is surely overwhelming evidence that he will come good again – perhaps in 12 months’ time.

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