Out of nowhere, England find themselves with arguably their best squad for a generation – and that strength in depth is no more evident than in the frontline.
Both out wide and through the middle, the Three Lions possess an embarrassment of riches. Such is the profundity of the talent pool, that it has become almost inevitable that manager Gareth Southgate will irk some corners of the internet with questionable call-ups.
Suffice it to say, we don’t envy him. However, while we may not attract the wrath of an entire nation, we at 90min still feel it is our duty to rank the England squad by position for your reading pleasure (or displeasure).
Here are England’s options out wide, ranked.
The last time England Men’s Under-21s won the European Championships, Mark Hateley was crowned the tournament’s best player. Almost four decades later, Anthony Gordon was deemed to be the brightest of a blinding array of young stars as England lifted the junior continental trophy in 2023.
Six months after joining, Gordon has belatedly proven this season why Newcastle United forked out £45m for his services. Boasting blistering pace and an eye for goal, the former Everton forward is on the fast track to the senior side.
A hot-house flower of a player, Marcus Rashford desperately struggles when his surrounding conditions are not suitable. Manchester United’s turmoil this season has weighed heavily on the 26-year-old but – by the same token – he appears unburdened on international duty.
England’s top scorer at the Qatar World Cup – despite starting just one game – is all but guaranteed his place on the plane to Germany. Yet, whether he will be an option from the off remains to be seen.
The first English player to score in a European final since Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge in 2016 is a beacon of consistency in a West Ham United side that is equally capable of brilliance and blunders.
Comfortable across all three forward positions, Bowen endured more than a year away from the national team while West Ham’s league form plummeted during the 2022/23 campaign. Yet, the Conference League winner has forced his way back into Gareth Southgate’s plans this term.
Raheem Sterling, the boy brought up in Wembley’s shadow, went into the World Cup as a nailed-on starter for England. Yet, a burglary at his Surrey home forced him to fly back to see his family after the group stages. Sterling returned to Qatar but has not recovered his starting berth since.
After a turbulent debut season at Chelsea, Sterling’s omission was understandable. However, his resurgence under Mauricio Pochettino, recalling his dribbling days at Liverpool, should push Southgate to reconsider his exile.
Although he’s struggled to consistently demonstrate his class since joining Manchester City in 2021, there is no doubting the game-changing talent Jack Grealish possesses.
Having initially strived in vain to make an impression on Southgate, the attacker is now a regular in the squad and is a very good option to have when matters are on a knife edge in the latter stages of matches.
The best may well be yet to come from young Phil Foden, which is quite scary – for those facing England, anyway.
The issue he has at both club and international level is that his best position is still unclear, and that could become problematic with the quality of those waiting in (or on) the wings.
However, the five-time Premier League champion can also operate a false nine or in midfield, regularly demonstrating that he can be effective anywhere.
A ridiculously consistent performer for Arsenal who shines with the same unflinching frequency on the international stage. In each of the last two seasons, Bukayo Saka has been named his country’s Player of the Year.
Saka is a dazzling winger who seems to have the world at his feet. A fixture of the side since breaking through at Euro 2020, Southgate is in awe of the fleet-footed forward’s skill set. “He’s a totally reliable player,” the England boss gushed, “for a young player it’s an exceptional quality.”