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England Squad Selection Qatar 2022


With the Qatar 2022 World Cup on the horizon, players will have the opportunity over the Summer in both International and Club fixtures to play for their place in the squad. With much debate over who should be in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad, here at Freebets we have taken a leaf out of the Moneyball handbook and decided to let the stats do the talking. Freebets have considered all of England’s Qatar hopefuls and taken a deep dive into their last season’s domestic league performances, breaking down each player’s performances from tackle success rates to the number of key passes per game.

Freebets have run the stats and have managed to create a squad ready for the World Cup based entirely on the statistics. From Goalkeepers to Strikers, we let the numbers do the talking and can present a squad that Gareth Southgate could take to Qatar to finally bring football home.

Goalkeepers

In the Goalkeeping department, the criteria for the squad were set out to include parameters such as the number of clean sheets, saves, high claims, accurate long balls, and errors leading to goals. The three ‘keepers to make up the top-3 and book themselves a spot on the plane to Qatar were unsurprisingly Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale, Burnley’s Nick Pope, and Everton’s Jordan Pickford.

Ramsdale topped the clean sheet rankings with an impressive 12 clean sheets in 34 appearances as he was an ever-present in goal for the Gunners as they narrowly missed out on top-4 following a resurgence in form. Pope and Pickford both found themselves in the midst of the Premier League relegation battle, however, it was the relegated man Nick Pope who kept more clean sheets of the pair. Nine clean sheets in 36 appearances put the Clarets ‘keeper two ahead of Pickford with Seven.

Pope leads the way with the most saves and high claims, significantly outperforming his competition in the latter in particular. Pickford finished an expected second place for saves made as both Burnley and Everton faced continued defensive problems this season, with Ramsdale in third. However, Ramsdale takes second place for high claims with more control of the aerial threat in his penalty box.

Accurate passes, a factor key so far in Gareth Southgate’s selection process between the sticks, were surprisingly led by Nick Pope, with Pickford in second. Pope leads the way with 331 completed long balls, to Pickford’s 286. Whilst Ramsdale slacks behind on 159, although Arsenal’s style of play remains in progress.

Ramsdale had the only season involving zero errors leading to goal whilst between the sticks, whereas Pickford and Pope shared second place on just one each with all goalkeepers enjoying a strong season.

Defenders

Defensively, the squad selection was based upon factors including tackle success %, clearances, fouls, interceptions, blocked shots, and errors leading to goals. Whilst full-backs had some variation in factors including cross accuracy and assists.

At Centre Back, the four players that lead the rankings and have made the squad consist of Everton’s Michael Keane, Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings, Burnley’s Marc Guehi, and Crystal Palace’s Marc Guehi.

Tyrone Mings and James Tarkowski lead the way in clearances, whilst Michael Keane is well in front when it comes to defensive interceptions. Crystal Palace’s breakthrough star Marc Guehi leads the blocked shots rankings with the other three contenders closely behind with only Tarkowski just narrowly outside the top five. All four players can boast a season without an error leading to a goal.

At Full Back, Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold and Manchester United’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka provide options on the right side of the defence, with West Ham’s Aaron Cresswell and a surprise inclusion for Crystal Palace’s Tyrick Mitchell come in on the left.

Wan-Bissaka narrowly misses out on topping the tackle success rankings, with a very impressive 73% success rate, whilst there was strong performances in defensive clearances as Cresswell and Mitchell sit in the top five in the league. All bar Tyrick Mitchell make the top five in relation to fouls made, with Mitchell himself in sixth anyway.

Where modern-day Full Backs are required to play with more risk and involvement in attack, cross accuracy rankings see’s all four of our top-performing players in the top five, with Mitchell and Alexander-Arnold in places one and two. Meanwhile, Alexander-Arnold is clear by a distance topping the assist rankings with 12 to his name.

Midfielders

In the centre of midfield, a mixture of defensive and attacking traits were considered, from tackling to goals and chance creation.

Five central midfielders were selected with Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse, Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson, West Ham’s Declan Rice, Aston Villa’s Jacob Ramsey and Leicester’s James Maddison making up the five.

Maddison and Ward-Prowse both hit double figures to lead the rankings for goals scored, with just Ramsey (6th) not to make the top five for assists with all players performing strongly in goal contributions. Ward-Prowse also follows Maddison in the top two for chance creation, as Henderson and Rice lead the way in passing statistics keeping their teams in control of possession.

Rice and Ward-Prowse are again strong performers in interception rankings with Ramsey and Henderson also in the top 10. In tackle success % though, it is Ramsey that leads the way in midfield with a very impressive 66% success rate.

Forwards

In attack, players were split across dedicated strikers and more creative wingers and ranked across goal contributions, key passes and dribbles per game, and bad controls per game.

Up top Roma’s Tammy Abraham, Tottenham’s Harry Kane, and Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins make the side, whilst Manchester City duo Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden are accompanied by Chelsea’s Mason Mount and West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen.

Kane leads the way in goal contributions across the strikers, with Tammy Abraham narrowly behind him. Watkins tops both dribbles and key passes per game with Abraham tied in key passes and in second place for dribbles.

Across the wingers shortlisted, Bowen, Sterling, and Mount took the top three spots for goal contributions this season with impressive returns, whilst Foden just misses out on a top-five spot. Sterling also ranks a high second place for shot accuracy and leads the way in goals per game with Mount, Bowen, and Foden rounding up second to fourth.

Mount and Foden rank strongly in the top five for key passes per game, and Sterling and Bowen return impressive numbers for successful dribbles per game. Meanwhile, the ranking for the quality of touches per game (measured by the number of bad touches) was led by Mount and Sterling.

The Starting XI

Not only do the stats orchestrate the ideal squad selection for Gareth Southgate’s England team that will be flying to Qatar, but we can also see the ideal starting XI that will be ready for the first game of the tournament.

In between the sticks, it is Burnley’s Nick Pope who comes out on top and earns himself the no.1 jersey with strong saves, claims, and passing statistics.

In defence, Michael Keane and Tyrone Mings make the team after strong seasons for their domestic clubs, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Aaron Cresswell earning their place either side of the defence at full-back.

In midfield, perhaps a surprise inclusion as James Ward-Prowse hammers down control of the midfield with impressive returns across goal contributions and passing statistics. Jordan Henderson and Declan Rice provide more defensive balance to the midfield with both returning well across the board including interceptions won in the middle of the park.

On either wing, Sterling and Mount see their numbers in front of goal speak for themselves with creative statistics such as key passes and dribbles per game earning them a starting spot in the side.

Finally, Tammy Abraham’s superb resurgence to form in Rome sees him edge out Harry Kane to take top spot and earn the no.9 shirt. Goal contributions and more creative technical statistics see Abraham play his way into the side.

Craig Jones

Craig Jones

US Sports lover and watcher of the EFL, Craig will guide you through the NFL, NHL and English football