Picked on form or reputation? How the England squad have started their domestic campaigns

A misfiring captain, an unsettled winger and a young star at centre-back - who are England’s in-form players heading into the international break?

Gareth Southgate has named a 23-man squad for England's latest set of World Cup qualifiers but who's hot and who's not?

And, does it really matter anyway, with Andorra and Hungary the opponents?

Planet Sport takes a look at how the Three Lions have started the season for their clubs, and it's fair to say it's a pretty mixed bag.

Jordan Pickford

Following his penalty save in the summer that came so close to crowning England champions of Europe, Jordan Pickford has settled in well to life under Rafa Benitez.

Everton have managed to claim fifth in the Premier League standings, and salvaged a draw against Manchester United last weekend.

With two clean sheets to his name, Pickford has performed well and managed to avoid any howlers that have so often tarnished his game.

Plus, he kept Cristiano Ronaldo quiet, so there's that.

Sam Johnstone

The West Brom shot-stopper has conceded just nine goals this season, but it's in the Championship so take that with a pinch of salt

The harsh truth is that he's there to make up numbers.

Aaron Ramsdale

After back-to-back relegations with Bournemouth and Sheffield United, eyebrows were raised when Ramsdale completed a £24million move to north London.

But, to much surprise, the 23-year-old has nailed down a starting position under Mikel Arteta, and has been part of a new-look defence that has turned around Arsenal's nightmarish start to the season.

Since taking over from Bernd Leno, Ramsdale has kept three clean sheets, and only conceded one goal, in the 3-1 win over Tottenham.

A surprise performer at the start of the season, expect to see him involved this week.

Conor Coady

Wolves have endured a strange start to the season under Bruno Lage. They've only found the opposition's net five times, but have also only shipped six - much to the credit of Conor Coady.

As captain of his club, Coady assumes a role in the heart of Wolves' defence, and has continued to be a vocal leader under Lage.

He's not been a standout performer, but continuing his steady and reliable performances have earned him a deserved call-up.

Reece James

A goal, a red card and then a subsequent injury has meant Reece James has experienced an action-packed start to the season.

However, the 21-year-old full-back hasn't been as present on Thomas Tuchel's team sheet as he was last season, only making four appearances, including one from the bench.

Needing to get a run of games under his belt, a couple of easy internationals might do him some good.

Tyrone Mings

Mings has also had a mixed return to the Premier League with three wins and three losses this campaign.

Losses to Chelsea and Tottenham are to be expected for Villa, but an opening weekend loss to Watford proved a shocking start, and Mings did himself no favours with his defending.

However, a recent win over Manchester United at Old Trafford will do his confidence some good. As will an England start, even if it's only to deputise for the injured Harry Maguire.

Luke Shaw

After a summer of heroics, including that goal against Italy in the final, Luke Shaw is suffering from a European hangover, and hasn't quite reached the same heights in a red jersey.

United sit fourth in the table, but have struggled at the back despite the arrival of Raphael Varane.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have kept only one clean sheet, and look shaky when put under pressure. Shaw was lucky to escape criticism after nearly costing the Red Devils with a last-gasp penalty against West Ham.

Hopefully an England trip will restore the confidence we all saw during the summer.

John Stones

It says a lot about Manchester City's defensive depth that John Stones is yet to make an appearance this season, yet is almost nailed on to start for the Three Lions this week.

Kieran Trippier

After winning La Liga with Atletico Madrid last season, Trippier and co. have made a strong start in the league again, and are keeping pace with Real Madrid.

Trippier has also been heavily involved in the action, featuring in all eight games - three times as a substitute.

And, in typical Diego Simeone style, Atletico have conceded just six goals, keeping four clean sheets in the process.

With both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Reece James struggling with injury, Trippier will be well in contention for a starting spot.

Kyle Walker

But also vying for a start at right-back is Manchester City's Kyle Walker, who has started in all games bar the loss to Tottenham on the opening weekend.

Walker has kept five clean sheets in City's backline, only conceding to Liverpool in their recent 2-2 draw.

Walker is a man in form, and he'll be keen to carry his momentum to the England squad this week.

Fikayo Tomori

AC Milan's Tomori returns to the England squad two years after making his debut in the Euro 2020 qualifying matches.

And, it must be said that the call-up is deserved. The 23-year-old centre-back enjoyed a prolific loan spell in Milan last season, and did enough to encourage the club to exercise his £25million buy option.

The fee has not unsettled the young star, and he's been crucial to Milan's unbeaten start in Serie A this season.

Jordan Henderson

Liverpool's captain has recovered from the injury that made him sit out most of England's Euros campaign in the summer, and suddenly his side look like title contenders once more.

Okay, so that likely has more to do with the return of stalwart centre-back Virgil van Dijk than it does Henderson, but the 31-year-old has also impressed in Jurgen Klopp's side this season.

In his six appearances, Henderson has racked up one assist and has helped Liverpool to remain unbeaten in the Premier League despite visits from both Chelsea and Manchester City.

Jesse Lingard

Despite his emphatic loan spell at West Ham last season, Lingard opted to stay in Manchester and try his luck once more with the Red Devils.

It seemed like the wrong decision to many, but Lingard has shown his worth to Solskjaer at the start of the season, scoring twice in three appearances.

His late winner against his former loan side has been his standout moment, but he'll be equally happy to learn that he's retained his place in the England set-up.

Mason Mount

Hampered by injury, Mount returned just in time to get a call-up to the Three Lions.

The 22-year-old has failed to set the league on fire with just one assist to his name, but he continues to be paramount to Tuchel's plans at Stamford Bridge and the Blues missed him hugely during their clash with Manchester City.

Mount provides more than just goals and assists through his work rate and tireless running. Southgate knows this, and he'll likely resume his place in midfield this week.

Kalvin Phillips

Recently named England's Player of the Year for 2021, Phillips has settled in well with the England squad and was a standout performer in the summer.

But things haven't gone exactly to plan for his club Leeds United this season. A 5-1 drubbing to rivals Manchester United set the tone, and the Yorkshire side had to wait until this weekend to register their first win, against Watford.

However, his partnership with Declan Rice has worked well for Southgate and regardless of his club form, Phillips has quickly become one of the first names on the England teamsheet.

Declan Rice

The same can be said for Rice. He's crucial to Southgate's midfield plans alongside Phillips, and with West Ham also starting well, he was never going to be left out.

Phil Foden

The 'joint' man of the match against Liverpool this weekend. Foden has recovered from his summer injury and reasserted himself as England's star boy.

No bleached hair this time though, Phil.

Jack Grealish

Manchester City's £100million man is yet to justify his price tag, but he's shown his talent in glimpses in sky blue.

Still, along with Foden he's a loved figure by the England fans and the Three Lions are still yet to see the best of him.

With Andorra and Hungary up next, Grealish's guile will be needed to unlock the packed defences.

Harry Kane

Where did it all go wrong for Harry Kane?

Yet to open his account in the Premier League, he looks a shadow of his former self - and not even a hat-trick against minnows NS Mura can disquise the fact.

Still, he's the England captain so he's in, starting and no doubt scoring.

Bukayo Saka

With his nightmarish penalty miss now behind him, Saka will just be looking forward to putting on the England shirt again and moving forward.

He's been Arsenal's main creative threat in recent weeks, and shone in the north London derby, but realistically he was never going to be left out.

Jadon Sancho

Gareth Southgate hit the nail on the head. Sancho's form since joining Manchester United has been hollow, but it's impossible to deny he has talent.

He's an investment worth making and will be hoping he can rediscover his Dortmund form in the white of England.

Raheem Sterling

Left out for City, undroppable for England. Raheem Sterling will play this week and, like Kane, will be back among the goals.

Ollie Watkins

Watkins and Patrick Bamford seem to take it in turns in the England squad. And, with the Leeds man injured for the foreseeable future, it's now his go.

With England pitted against weaker opposition he'll likely get a kick, and with just one goal in the league, he could do with the confidence boost.

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