Let’s not pretend that picking an England team using Dream Team points is the optimum method.
The very nature of the methodology means we’re likely to end up with an imbalanced XI because, let’s be honest, fantasy football is very different to the real thing.
Saying that, Dream Team points do generally correlate with individual performances so let’s pick a team anyway and see who makes the cut.
GOALKEEPER: Nick Pope (£3.7m)
Not only is the Newcastle custodian the best goalkeeper among his compatriots at this stage of the season, he’s Dream Team outright best asset in his position among all his peers.
Pope has amassed 39 points, a tally built on a foundation of three Star Man awards which is the joint-most after seven Game Weeks.
It terms of pure shot-stopping, the ex-Burnley keeper is probably the best of the options available to Gareth Southgate but his distribution isn’t up to the same standard as Jordan Pickford (£2.5m) or Aaron Ramsdale (£3.1m), how much that matters is up for debate.
His place on the plan to Qatar is guaranteed if he avoids injury.
DEFENDERS: Kieran Trippier (£3.9m), John Stones (£5.2m), Eric Dier (£4.3m), James Tarkowski (£3.5m)
Trippier’s success goes hand-in-hand with Pope’s as Eddie Howe’s side have conceded just seven goals this season, which is a great effort considering they’ve already played Man City and Liverpool.
The 32-year-old full-back is a favourite of Southgate’s and continues to make England squads despite stiff competition for places in his preferred positon.
If Dream Team points are anything to go by then Trippier is actually the best option out of himself, Reece James (£5.3m), Trent Alexander-Arnold (£5.6m) and Kyle Walker (£4m) but whether that aligns with reality is another question.
Stones has been a regular starter for the Three Lions in recent years and his tally of 29 points is only marginally bettered by Eric Dier’s (£4.3m) total of 30 this term.
Given Harry Maguire’s (£2.6m) club form in recent times, many supporters on these shores believe that this combination is most-equipped to start against Iran come late November.
But here’s a spanner in the works: Tarkowski is Dream Team’s outright best English centre-back in 2022/23.
The Everton man’s tally of 37 points (same as Trippier’s) is only dwarfed by Joao Cancelo’s (£7.6m) among all defenders in the game – the Portuguese full-back has racked up 54 points.
Tarkowski earned two caps for England in 2018 but hasn’t featured since – time for a recall?
MIDFIELDERS: Phil Foden (£5.7m), Raheem Sterling (£5m), Jadon Sancho (£3.5m)
This midfield would never work in reality as all three are almost exclusively deployed in attacking positions.
But perhaps the fact that Foden (39 points) and Sterling (35 points) are both among the top four midfield assets indicates that they’re the two players who deserve to start in the wide positions in Southgate’s set-up?
Sancho just edges out Jack Harrison (£3.5m) to claim third spot – 29 points to 28 – which is interesting because neither winger is included in the current squad.
Man United’s No25 has scored three goals at the start of this season and may be able to force himself on the plane to Qatar if he continues to show a marked improvement on last term.
FORWARDS: Harry Kane (£7.5m), Ivan Toney (£4.9m), Marcus Rashford (£4m)
Captain Kane is an automatic selection for Southgate but the issue of who should be first reserve at centre-forward is widely debated.
It’s early days but Toney is actually outperforming Spurs’ No10 in Dream Team this season, having amassed 52 points thanks predominantly to his impressive hat-trick against Leeds.
Kane’s tally of 47 points is very healthy too – he’s sixth in the overall rankings at this juncture.
Two thirds of our hypothetical forward line aligns with Southgate’s most recent squad selection but the 52-year-old omitted Rashford, who fell out of favour on the international scene after Euro 2020.
Man United’s homegrown hero desperately struggled for from last season but he’s set about correcting that well so far in 2022/23 with 35 points from six outings.
Three goals and two assists in 523 minutes of Premier League action is much more encouraging, reminiscent of the Rashford who was a Dream Team gem in 2020/21.
Like Sancho, the 24-year-old has a chance of making the World Cup squad if he continues to score goals under Erik ten Hag – the fact he’s previously been involved under Southgate will help his case.