It was a good weekend for Jack Grealish and Conor Gallagher but Trent Alexander-Arnold’s slide continues. The Sky Sports England World Cup squad ladder returns as we chart the latest risers and fallers!
Gareth Southgate is expected to announce his 26-man squad for Qatar 2022 on October 20 and there are a host of players hoping to catch his eye and secure their place on the plane.
Jack Grealish’s excellent performance in the Manchester derby has put him in that group, joining team-mate and hat-trick hero Phil Foden, and he is not the only player on the move.
Here, we run through the players on the plane, those sitting in the departure lounge with their boarding passes in hand, and those jumping in a taxi to the airport and hoping for the best. Remember, we will be updating our ladder every week ahead of Southgate’s announcement.
Grealish now on the plane
Jack Grealish endured a difficult first season at Manchester City following his £100m switch from Aston Villa last summer but his eye-catching display at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday provided further evidence that he is hitting top form.
Grealish did not register any goals or assists in the 6-3 win, but he was involved in many of City’s best moments and caused Manchester United huge problems, his performance moving him up from 14th to 12th in our ladder and taking him from departure lounge to the plane.
Southgate has always been a big supporter of the 27-year-old and a strong run for City, for whom he has just started four consecutive games for the first time since December, could help him nail down his place in the England team to face Iran on November 21.
Grealish’s team-mate Phil Foden (5th) also climbed a couple of places following his sensational hat-trick against United, while Bukayo Saka (8th) moved above Mason Mount (9th) after helping Arsenal beat Tottenham 3-1 on Saturday.
Harry Kane (1st) continues to lead the pack having scored his seventh goal of the season in Tottenham’s defeat to Arsenal, while Manchester United duo Luke Shaw (13th) and Harry Maguire (14th) remain on the plane for now due to their importance to Southgate.
John Stones, another Southgate favourite, remains 10th given he is only expected to be sidelined for a couple of weeks with the hamstring injury that kept him out of the Manchester derby.
Gallagher enters the departure lounge
He was only on the pitch for 14 minutes against Crystal Palace but Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher’s brilliant winner at Selhurst Park has seen him climb seven places to 26th, putting him in the departure lounge and boosting his World Cup prospects.
The 22-year-old will need to build on that contribution in the weeks ahead if he is to stay there but there is uncertainty in England’s midfield and he could capitalise. Kalvin Phillips (22nd) remains a doubt due to injury, while James Ward-Prowse’s (25th) form has been middling for Southampton.
Gallagher has various factors in his favour.
He is already known to Southgate having been picked in two of his last three squads. His stamina and industry could be useful in the condensed schedule of a major tournament. Gallagher can also slot into different roles in midfield. He played as a No 8 for Palace last season but came on at No 10 for Chelsea on Saturday.
After a slow start to the season under Thomas Tuchel, he now has the chance to establish himself in the Chelsea team under Graham Potter. If he does, Southgate is sure to take notice.
Elsewhere in the departure lounge, Jarrod Bowen (24th) has climbed a couple of places after scoring his first goal of the season in West Ham’s 2-0 win over Wolves on Saturday, while Kieran Trippier (15th) has jumped above Jordan Henderson (16th) and Kyle Walker (17th) following another assured display for Newcastle in their 4-1 win at Fulham.
Rashford, TAA drop; Wilson a new entry
Marcus Rashford looked to be in the ascendency before this weekend but a poor showing in the Manchester derby has seen him drop two places to 27th, taking him from the departure lounge to a taxi hoping to arrive at the airport on time.
There is a new entry hot on his heels in Callum Wilson. The Newcastle striker has entered the ladder in position 28 having marked his return from injury with a goal against Fulham on Saturday.
The 30-year-old must prove his sharpness in the weeks ahead but he has already won four caps under Southgate and, with 11 goals in 22 Premier League appearances since the start of last season, he is averaging a goal every 155 minutes.
It is a better strike-rate than Harry Kane, who has averaged a goal every 164 minutes in the same timeframe, and it underlines a level of efficiency that is sure to make him appealing to Southgate.
Wilson is still behind Tammy Abraham (23rd) in the ladder, but the Roma striker has only scored twice in eight games for the Serie A side this season and could be at risk if Wilson continues to impress between now and the squad announcement.
Wilson already looks a more likely pick than Brentford’s Ivan Toney (33rd), who did not make it on the pitch following his England call-up during the recent international break. He has dropped three places in our ladder after failing to find the net against Bournemouth.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (31st) is another player whose hopes are diminishing.
The right-back was publicly backed by Jurgen Klopp last week but another poor defensive display in Liverpool’s 3-3 draw with Brighton, during which he was at fault for two goals, will have done little to boost his prospects. In fact, he has dropped a further four places in our ladder.
Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe is the man to have dropped out of the 40, the 22-year-old expected to be unavailable for World Cup selection having undergone surgery on a groin problem.
Check back next week to see which players have boosted their chances of a World Cup call-up – and which players are drifting out of contention.