What would England’s starting XI be if it was picked on market value alone?

Forget the players in form or Gareth Southgate’s favourites, who would be starting for England if the team was selected purely on how expensive each player is.

Gareth Southgate's critics claim he is too conservative. And that's definitely with a small c. No bring your own booze parties and blaring Abba for Gareth in lockdown, with the England manager probably even refusing to put his bins out for fear of breaking the strict Covid guidelines.

It's a trait which has served England well, getting them to the latter stages of the World Cup, Nations League and Euro 2020. However, he has been unable to find that little bit of stardust that is needed to transform the Three Lions from nearly men to tournament winners.

So what if rather than sticking to his safety-first approach to his starting XI, Southgate instead chose the players with the highest market values in each position? Would England be any worse off?

Adopting a fluid 4-2-3-1 formation, we look at the most valuable England line-up he could put out.

Goalkeeper - Jordan Pickford (£22.5m)

Jordan Pickford of England

No change here, with Pickford getting the nod ahead of Aaron Ramsdale despite the two players being valued the same by Transfermarkt.

That could be set to change soon, however, with Ramsdale's value having already doubled since he made the move from Sheffield United to Arsenal and only going one way.

Right-back - Trent Alexander-Arnold (£72m)

The right-back has his detractors but on market value alone he is the best England have got in the position by some way. One goal and four assists have come from his 17 international appearances which doesn't seem so bad.

However, three of those assists came against San Marino and he doesn't seem to have the full trust of Southgate.

Centre-back - Harry Maguire (£36m)

Harry Maguire

Another player with his fair share of critics but one who has never let England down.

Heads it clear, kicks it clear, comes up for corners. The perfect Southgate defender. He's got other players to do the fancy stuff (not too many, mind).

Centre-back - Ben White (£36m)

The 24-year-old Arsenal centre-back was robbed of a fifth cap after pulling out of the squad ahead of the Nations League with a hamstring injury.

However, on value alone he would be in the starting XI ahead of Conor Coady (£22.5m), John Stones (£25.2m) and Tyrone Mings whose £28.8million rating seems to employ the same kind of mathematical gymnastics which now price a Freddo at 35p.

Left-back - Luke Shaw (£37.8m)

Also currently on the sidelines, a fate which has befallen several England left-back options in recent months, Shaw seems to have been around for years despite only being 26.

Struggling to replicate the form which saw him shine at Euro 2020, Shaw would nevertheless be a first choice for Southgate if fit.

Defensive midfield - Declan Rice (£67m)

Declan Rice, England injury

With a market value of £67million and value to David Moyes of more than twice that, Rice is going to be a mainstay for the Three Lions for many years to come.

Whether that is at West Ham, though, remains to be seen.

Central midfield - Phil Foden (£81m)

Sorry Gareth, the formation doesn't allow for a sitting midfielder, with Foden in alongside Rice at the base of the England midfield.

Foden missed the opening two Nations League encounters due to Covid, a timely reminder that it remains a debilitating illness and not a convenient way to avoid bringing shame on your family.

Central midfield - Mason Mount (£67.5m)

Operating just behind the striker, Mount struggled against Hungary and Germany. But who wouldn't after the glamour of the Premier League and a game against Watford just two weeks previously?

Has picked up 28 caps for England without anyone, Southgate included, knowing what his best position is.

Right wing - Bukayo Saka (£58.5m)

Bukayo Saka goal vs Austria Jun21

"He was quite impressive actually, Saka, when he came on," former England striker Michael Owen told Channel 4 following the defeat to Hungary.

So there you have it Gareth, Saka is quite impressive…provided he comes on.

Left wing - Raheem Sterling (£76.5m)

Less impressive was Sterling who didn't come on. The Manchester City winger had been struggling with illness but did start against Germany. Despite failing to find the net, he has 17 goals in his last 30 appearances for his country and is another who is almost guaranteed a start under Southgate when fit.

Striker - Harry Kane (£90m)

England's Harry Kane celebrates scoring his side's second goal from the penalty spot during the Alzheimer's Society international match at Wembley Stadium, London.

The skipper's penalty against Germany took his tally to 50 goals in 70 games for the Three Lions and he is another who is guaranteed to start whether it be based on market value or statistical records.

Despite his decent record he is heavily reliant on those around him and often left isolated when things aren't going England's way. Is the embodiment of Southgate's England. Is the embodiment of England.

READ MORE: Six players Manchester United could sign to replace Paul Pogba, including De Jong and Rice

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