England Euro 2024 squad power rankings: Bukayo Saka on fire as Three Lions make perfect qualifying start

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With Gareth Southgate's side now setting their sights on glory in Germany, GOAL looks at the players fighting for a key role in the squad

The fallout from the 2022 World Cup is well and truly over for England, who managed to win more admirers in Qatar despite a disappointing quarter-final loss to France.

The Three Lions proved beyond all doubt that they are an elite-level outfit with their performance in the 2-1 loss to Les Bleus – arguably the best of Gareth Southgate's reign so far – but they remain the perennial bridesmaids of international football.

Southgate, who also guided England to fourth place at the 2018 World Cup and the Euro 2020 final, took the decision to extend his contract after falling short in Qatar. He still believes he can deliver his country's first major title since 1966, but the jury is still out over whether he is ruthless enough to get them over the line.

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The England boss tends to stick with his favourites, as the likes of Harry Maguire, Mason Mount and Jordan Henderson continue to earn regular minutes despite their inconsistency at club level.

That is unlikely to change, but competition for places will only ramp up heading into next year's European Championship in Germany. New heroes have already emerged in the form of Bukayo Saka, Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden, while players such as Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish are now in the prime years of their careers.

GOAL is here to track the progress of the latest England generation tasked with bringing football back to its spiritual home – all the way through to the Euro 2024 finals. Check out our power rankings below...

  1. Bukayo Saka
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    #1 Bukayo Saka

    Saka is one of the top wingers in world football right now, and he proved that beyond all doubt with his latest performance in an England shirt.

    The 21-year-old followed up a steady display in the Three Lions' opening Euro 2024 qualification win against Italy by running the show against Ukraine at Wembley.

    Harry Kane benefitted from a beautifully flighted Saka cross to break the deadlock before the Arsenal man found the net himself with an exquisite 20-yard strike after turning away from his marker.

    Saka will now return to his club as they bid to continue their march towards a first Premier League title since 2003-04, which seems a formality as long as he remains in Mikel Arteta's starting XI.

  2. Harry Kane

    #2 Harry Kane

    Some eight years on from Wayne Rooney's coronation, England have a new all-time record goalscorer.

    Harry Kane moved ahead of the former Manchester United star by bagging his 54th international goal against Italy from the penalty spot, sealing a 2-1 victory for Gareth Southgate's side.

    The Tottenham captain was rewarded with a special golden boot award before the subsequent clash with Ukraine as a result of his exploits in the final third, and he marked the occasion with another trademark goal.

    Kane averages 0.65 goals per game for England – a better rate than Rooney (0.44), Sir Bobby Charlton (0.46), Gary Lineker (0.60) and Michael Owen (0.45) – and thoroughly deserves his place in the history books.

  3. Jude Bellingham

    #3 Jude Bellingham

    Bellingham's status as a world-class player is undeniable, and the 19-year-old showcased his special talent once again on the international stage in Naples.

    Italy couldn't cope with Bellingham's strength and skill in the middle of the park as he drove England forward and protected the back four with unerring composure.

    An injury scare ultimately cut his night short, but he recovered in time to start against Ukraine, and declared his ambition to one day captain his country after another assured display.

    Bellingham has already worn the armband for Borussia Dortmund this season and looks like the natural heir to Kane if he continues on his current trajectory.

  4. Kyle Walker

    #4 Kyle Walker

    Walker retained his place in Southgate's first Euro 2024 qualifying squad despite a difficult few weeks at Manchester City that saw him subjected to a police investigation for an unsavoury incident away from the pitch.

    The 32-year-old couldn't have given a better response to his critics, as he produced a rock-solid turn against Italy before dominating Mykahilo Mudryk at Wembley.

    On this form, Walker is the standout pick for Southgate at right-back. The City star has no weaknesses in his game and looks set to add more silverware to his stellar CV at the Etihad Stadium before the end of the season.

  5. Declan Rice
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    #5 Declan Rice

    The likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United all reportedly want to sign Rice this summer, and it's not hard to see why.

    The West Ham man has nailed down a holding role in England's line-up in recent years, proving he can handle the demands of football at the very highest level, and a step up to a bigger club is now inevitable for the 24-year-old.

    Rice bossed proceedings in the middle of the park against Italy – and even grabbed himself a rare goal – with the creativity of Marco Verratti and Jorginho stifled thanks to his exceptional work rate.

    He is quite simply the glue that keeps this England side together.

  6. John Stones

    #6 John Stones

    Perhaps England's most underrated player at the 2022 World Cup; Stones deserves more credit than he gets.

    The Manchester City star was at his best once again in the March qualifying wins over Italy and Ukraine, playing out from the back in typically confident fashion at every opportunity.

    At 28, Stones is now one of the more senior members of the England squad, and his cool head and experience in the biggest matches make him untouchable.

  7. Marcus Rashford

    #7 Marcus Rashford

    Only one of Rashford's five appearances for England at Qatar 2022 came as a starter, but he still managed to make a huge impact with three goals.

    It will only get harder for Southgate to justify leaving the 25-year-old on the bench once he is fit enough to next play for England, as he has taken his game to new heights since returning to action at Manchester United, scoring 19 goals in 24 appearances.

    Rashford has added end-product to his game under Erik ten Hag at Old Trafford, and the best is still yet to come, with United now looking destined for a return to the very top of the game.

  8. Jordan Pickford

    #8 Jordan Pickford

    Next up is England's No.1 shot-stopper, the lionhearted Jordan Pickford, who is now up to 52 caps at international level.

    The Everton keeper can be prone to the occasional error for his club, but is almost always faultless for the Three Lions and continues to fend off stellar competition from Nick Pope and Aaron Ramsdale.

    Pickford is once again doing his best to keep Everton afloat in the Premier League this season, and ended any speculation over his long-term future in February when penning a new contract through to 2027.

  9. Harry Maguire

    #9 Harry Maguire

    Southgate's Mr Dependable would have been much higher up in any other year, but Maguire has fallen out of favour during Ten Hag's first season in charge at Manchester United.

    He has clung onto the captain's armband at Old Trafford despite seeing Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez form a strong partnership ahead of him, and his long-term future at the club is now very much up in the air.

    Maguire's uncertain position at United hasn't affected his position in the England squad, but he showed signs of rust against Italy as his poor error gifted the hosts a way back into the contest.

    The question is: Can the 30-year-old deliver the highest standard for his country if he continues to see so little game time for his club?

  10. Kieran Trippier

    #10 Kieran Trippier

    Trippier is one of the most reliable players in Southgate's ranks, and has been throughout his six-year tenure.

    The Newcastle star, who has played a key role in the club's push for a top-four Premier League finish, had to be content with a bench role in the latest international break, but he is currently the biggest challenger for Walker's spot in the defence.

    Southgate knows exactly what he will get from Trippier every time he takes to the pitch, and he remains a big threat from set-pieces due to his technical ability.

  11. Jack Grealish

    #11 Jack Grealish

    Grealish finally got the nod in Southgate's line-up against Italy, but missed the chance to seal a regular attacking berth after a surprisingly ineffective performance.

    The 27-year-old also produced one of the misses of the season, which left England holding on for three points instead of cruising to the finish line, and he was straight back on the bench against Ukraine as a result.

    Manchester City have seen the best of Grealish on a more consistent basis in 2022-23, which suggests he will continue to force his way into England's set-up for a long while yet.

    However, Grealish has enough talent to be the ultimate difference-maker for his country, and supporters will grow restless if he is unable to deliver on his full potential soon.

  12. Luke Shaw

    #12 Luke Shaw

    Shaw is finally fulfilling his immense potential in 2022-23, putting his past struggles for consistency and fitness firmly in the rear-view mirror.

    Manchester United's revival has been underpinned by a huge improvement at the back, with Shaw impressing in both his usual role on the left and in the centre of defence on route to success in the Carabao Cup and progression to the latter stages of both the Europa League and FA Cup.

    Shaw transferred that form onto the international stage last year, but he endured a nightmare evening against Italy at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium on March 23.

    The 27-year-old was sent off for a second bookable offence late on, which capped a generally miserable showing, and his place in the team now might not be quite as secure as it was on the back of the World Cup.

  13. Ben Chilwell

    #13 Ben Chilwell

    Chilwell is another Chelsea man to have been ravaged by injury in recent seasons, with a torn hamstring keeping him out of England's latest World Cup bid.

    The 26-year-old is now slowly getting back up to full speed under Graham Potter, and will have his sights set on Shaw's left-back berth in the England line-up.

    Southgate drafted Chilwell in to face Ukraine after Shaw's red card against Italy, and the Chelsea full-back shone in both attack and defence to help the Three Lions secure a comfortable win.

    Chilwell now needs to build on that performance and prove he is physically ready to deliver the goods for both club and country over the course of a full season.

  14. Phil Foden

    #14 Phil Foden

    It's easy to forget that Foden is still just 22 years old. It feels like the Manchester City midfielder has been around forever, as reflected by his record of 205 appearances for Pep Guardiola's side and 22 outings in an England shirt.

    Regular minutes have been harder to come by for Foden at City in recent months, but he still has 13 goals and eight assists to his name this season, and there are very few better players to watch in full flow in English football.

    The last international break was one to forget for Foden, though, as he came on against Italy only to be substituted off as Southgate shuffled his pack to cope with Shaw's dismissal.

    The City star was then struck down with appendicitis and forced to undergo emergency surgery, meaning he now faces another unwanted spell on the sidelines.

  15. Reece James

    #15 Reece James

    The 2022-23 campaign has been a miserable one for James, who was left "devastated" after being left out of Southgate's final World Cup squad due to a knee injury.

    His fitness woes have continued at Chelsea since the turn of the year, with his latest knock coming after returning to the England fold against Italy.

    James made a late cameo in Naples but had to pull out of the Three Lions squad ahead of the Ukraine game due to a fresh injury, which raises more question marks over his physical conditioning.

    Southgate simply can not rely on the 23-year-old right now, which is why Walker and Trippier remain his go-to men at right-back.

  16. James Maddison

    #16 James Maddison

    After almost four years, Maddison finally grabbed his second England cap against Ukraine, and showed exactly why he deserves more international recognition with a classy turn in attack.

    The Leicester City man started on the left but drifted infield to influence proceedings with his superb passing range and ball-carrying ability, and created a grand total of five chances – the highest total for any England player in their first start since Theo Walcott back in 2008.

    Maddison could be in line for a dream transfer this summer as he continues to stand out as a big fish in a small pond at Leicester, and regular minutes for his country could naturally follow – especially if Mount's fall from grace continues.

  17. Ivan Toney

    #17 Ivan Toney

    Brentford striker Toney may have thought his chance to make his England bow was gone after he was charged for allegedly breaching over 200 betting rules.

    An FA investigation remains ongoing, but Southgate is adamant that Toney is innocent until proven guilty, and drafted him into the England squad for the second time ahead of the start of their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign.

    Toney, who has scored 16 goals in 25 games for Brentford this term, finally made his international debut on March 26 as he came on as a late substitute against Ukraine – replacing Kane.

    England need a strong backup for Kane to carry them through their qualifying campaign, and Toney has all the attributes needed to fill that position.

  18. Raheem Sterling

    #18 Raheem Sterling

    There is no question that Sterling has been England's best player during Southgate's time at the helm.

    Twenty goals and 27 assists in 80 games tells its own story, but the 28-year-old now finds himself in uncharted territory, with his position in the squad no longer assured.

    Sterling's first season at Chelsea following his move from Manchester City last summer hasn't gone as smoothly as he'd hoped, and injury kept him out of England's first set of 2023 fixtures.

    Southgate still retains full trust in the winger, but he could have a big job on his hands to get back into the starting XI given the form of Saka and Rashford.

  19. Nick Pope
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    #19 Nick Pope

    Pope forced his way into the England set up during his eight-year stint at Burnley, and now has his eye on Pickford's spot following a 2022 move to Newcastle.

    The Magpies have the best defensive record in the Premier League since Pope's arrival, and he could well be playing Champions League football next season if Eddie Howe's side can hold their nerve in the home straight.

    Pope's imposing physical stature and ability to command his box naturally inspires confidence in the defenders in front of him, while he also boasts outstanding reflexes that make him much more than just a worthy backup for Pickford.

  20. Mason Mount

    #20 Mason Mount

    Mount has been branded 'teacher's pet' by some England supporters due to the favour he has enjoyed under Southgate despite not always delivering the goods in the attacking third.

    Grealish and Foden have both played second fiddle to Mount, who had been the model of consistency for Chelsea prior to this season, but the pecking order may need to be revised.

    Mount has endured his most difficult campaign yet with the Blues as they've fallen to mid-table in the Premier League, and it has been suggested that the club will look to cash in on the academy graduate in the summer window.

  21. Ben White
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    #21 Ben White

    Arsenal defender White did manage to make the plane for Qatar but left the England camp after the group stage due to "personal reasons".

    White has settled straight back into the fold at Emirates Stadium since then, playing a vital role in the Gunners' pursuit of a first domestic crown since 2003-04, but was omitted from Southgate's first squad of 2023.

    The England boss has suggested that White may need to move back into a central role in order to return, given the plethora of options he has at right-back, but it will be impossible to continue leaving the 25-year-old out if he keeps up his current level of performance at club level.

  22. Jadon Sancho
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    #22 Jadon Sancho

    It's been four years since Sancho made his senior bow for England, and the fact that he has only appeared in 22 more games for his country since then speaks volumes.

    Sancho secured a dream £72m move to Manchester United from Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2021, but his development has stalled at Old Trafford as he's struggled to cope with the weight of expectation.

    Ten Hag exiled the 22-year-old from his United squad before the World Cup break as he insisted that the winger wasn't in the right physical or mental state, but he has worked his way back into the team.

    The challenge now is for Sancho to show exactly why the club paid so much for him, and an England recall will be a formality if he can get back to his scintillating best.

  23. Jordan Henderson

    #23 Jordan Henderson

    Henderson is a seasoned performer at international level with 72 caps, and has been a mainstay in Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool team for the best part of seven years.

    The veteran rolled back the years for England in Qatar, most notably producing a Man-of-the-Match display in their last-16 win over Senegal, but it has been suggested that his presence next to Rice in a holding midfield role is hindering the team's attacking output.

    If Southgate were to experiment with a more forward-thinking formation then Henderson will almost certainly see his role reduced, especially since he has been part of a Liverpool midfield that has drastically underperformed in 2022-23.

  24. Aaron Ramsdale
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    #24 Aaron Ramsdale

    England arguably boast the best goalkeeper talent pool in international football right now, with Arsenal's Ramsdale serving as third choice behind Pickford and Pope.

    The 24-year-old has been nothing short of sensational during Arsenal's title run, proving himself as a top-class keeper, but he still can't get a sniff for England.

    Ramsdale has age on his side when it comes to achieving his international ambitions, though, and Southgate may have to bump him up the order if he becomes a Premier League champion in May.

  25. Conor Gallagher

    #25 Conor Gallagher

    Gallagher earned a place in the England squad while at Palace, but he has been unable to kick onto the next level since returning to Chelsea at the end of his loan to Selhurst Park last summer.

    The 23-year-old has been on the fringes of the Blues' line-up under Potter, largely failing to impress when given the chance, but he still made the latest England squad and justified his inclusion with two strong performances off the bench.

  26. Kalvin Phillips

    #26 Kalvin Phillips

    Rice and Phillips were England's dream duo at Euro 2020 as they forged a telepathic relationship in the middle of the park that carried the team all the way through to the final.

    A year later, Phillips was snapped up from Leeds by Man City, but his maiden season at the Etihad Stadium has been a nightmare as fitness issues have prevented him from making an impact.

    The 27-year-old has yet to make a Premier League start for the reigning champions, and although that didn't stop Southgate from including him in his latest 25-man group and starting him against Italy, he cannot expect to remain in his plans if his situation at club level doesn't improve soon.

  27. Fikayo Tomori
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    #27 Fikayo Tomori

    Of all the players left out of England's squad for Qatar 2022, none had more reason to feel aggrieved than Tomori, who has built a sterling reputation for himself in Serie A since swapping Chelsea for AC Milan in 2021.

    The centre-back became a Scudetto winner in his first season at San Siro and is a talismanic player for head coach Stefano Pioli, but Southgate just doesn't seem to fancy him.

    The England boss said Tomori has been guilty of "quite a few errors" for Milan during the current campaign when explaining his absence from the latest national team squad, and it remains to be seen whether he can convince Southgate he deserves a chance while playing in a division that is undoubtedly inferior to the Premier League.

  28. Trent Alexander-Arnold

    #28 Trent Alexander-Arnold

    Alexander-Arnold's international career seems to be in ruins right now, with the Liverpool star overlooked consistently by Southgate due to his defensive struggles at Anfield.

    The 24-year-old is among the elite full-backs of his generation going forward, and can conjure up an assist from anywhere on the pitch with his wand of a right foot, but he's a liability going the other way.

    With Walker, Trippier and James all ahead of Alexander-Arnold in Southgate's playbook, it seems that only a change in manager can give him a clean slate for England, which won't happen for some time yet.

  29. Marc Guehi

    #29 Marc Guehi

    England's centre-back options are limited beyond first-choice pairing Maguire and Stones, which is good news for Crystal Palace star Guehi, who continues to find himself in contention for international minutes.

    The former Chelsea academy star is enjoying another fine campaign at Palace, and although he didn't grab his fourth England cap against Italy or Ukraine, the 22-year-old will surely get plenty more opportunities on the road to Euro 2024.

  30. Eric Dier

    #30 Eric Dier

    Dier's continued inclusion in the England set-up has been a source of frustration for a large section of supporters, with the Tottenham man seemingly immune to the axe despite underwhelming for his club.

    The 29-year-old has looked more lethargic than ever this term as Spurs have failed to build on last season's top-four finish, and players like Tomori will be rightly frustrated not to be getting a look-in ahead of him.

  31. Callum Wilson
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    #31 Callum Wilson

    Wilson went to the World Cup on the back of an impressive first half of the season at Newcastle, but has allowed his standards to slip since returning to St James' Park.

    Only one of Wilson's seven goals in 2022-23 have come post-Qatar, and he will need to rediscover his best form quickly if he is to get back into the England reckoning before next year's European Championship.

  32. James Ward-Prowse
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    #32 James Ward-Prowse

    Ward-Prowse made his England bow way back in 2017 but, six years on, he only has 11 international appearances to his name and appears to be considered as merely a reserve option by Southgate.

    The Southampton captain is in danger of dropping into the Championship at club level, but he is still the best free-kick taker in English football and a useful option if a midfield injury crisis crops up.

  33. Ollie Watkins

    #33 Ollie Watkins

    Aston Villa forward Watkins deservedly broke into the England squad in March 2021 after a stellar first year with the West Midlands club.

    A year later, he made his first start for the Three Lions in a friendly clash against the Ivory Coast, and marked the occasion with a goal, but hasn't featured since.

    Watkins remains a consistent performer for Villa, with nine goals in 26 Premier League appearances so far this season, but he will need to up those numbers drastically in order to force his way back into the mix alongside the likes of Kane, Rashford, Saka and Toney.

  34. Lewis Dunk

    #34 Lewis Dunk

    Dunk is now very much a veteran of English football at the age of 31, but has only played for his country once over the course of his 13-year career.

    His solitary outing for the Three Lions came in 2018 as he became only the fourth Brighton player in history to be capped by England, but hasn't been a contender for minutes since.

    That might change if Brighton's superb 2022-23 campaign ends with Champions League or Europa League qualification, with Dunk playing a prominent role in Roberto De Zerbi's high-flying outfit.

  35. Conor Coady

    #35 Conor Coady

    Coady has been a part of the England squad for quite some time now, making the final cut for both Euro 2020 and World Cup 2022.

    However, Guehi was selected ahead of the 30-year-old for the March European Championship qualifiers, and he now has a real task on his hand to regain favour with Southgate.

    Coady, currently on loan at Everton from Wolves, has been dropped from the Toffees' line-up following Sean Dyche's arrival as manager, and it is looking unlikely that the club will take up their option to buy him outright in the summer.