Spain’s 1-1 draw with Norway last Saturday might well have passed you by. Not to worry, you didn’t miss much.
Aside from Sergio Ramos becoming Spain’s most capped outfield player and, in customary fashion, celebrating with a yellow card, the most exciting part of the night took place before a ball had been kicked.
For the first time in the history of the national team, Spain boss Robert Moreno named an XI featuring 11 players from 11 different teams.
One apiece from Chelsea, Real Madrid, Villarreal, PSG, Sevilla, Napoli, Barcelona, Arsenal, Real Sociedad, Valencia and Atletico Madrid made up Spain’s historic XI.
But what if Gareth Southgate was to take the same approach? What if, for no particular reason, Southgate imposed a one-player-per-club limit upon himself?
Once the outrage at having to call up Nick Powell from Stoke had died down, England’s XI might look a little something like this…
Goalkeeper: Nick Pope (Burnley)
Ideally Jordan #GET THE RAVE ON Pickford would take the gloves.
Instead it comes down to Pope or Dean Henderson, with the former getting the role because of his greater experience and salt of the earth smile.
A shit comedian would say the absence of Pickford is a blessing in disguise for Big Nick. Cue deafening silence.
Right-back: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
Europe’s best right-back dashes Liverpool team-mates Jordan Henderson and Joe Gomez’s chances of pulling on an England shirt.
Alexander-Arnold sees off competition from Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker and Aaron Wan-Bissaka on account of having a right foot moulded in the image of a peak sarong-wearing David Beckham.
Centre-back: Harry Maguire (Man United)
Should Maguire be the world’s most expensive defender? Probably not?
Is Maguire the best centre-back currently available to Southgate? Probably.
Would you hire Maguire to headbutt your walls in and create a light and airy open-plan kitchen? Definitely.
Centre-back: Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa)
England’s already tepid centre-back options are complicated further by the sudden illegibility of John Stones, Michael Keane, Fikayo Tomori and Gomez.
Therefore it comes down to a three-way battle between James Tarkowski, Lewis Dunk and Mings.
Mings’ international debut against Bulgaria was so composed that he’s now sponsored by Mahabis Slippers, so the Aston Villa defender waltzes this one.
Left-back: Ben Chilwell (Leicester)
It’s quite sickening to think about the amount of Brylcreem that goes into Chilwell’s hair, ensuring not a single strand falls out of place during 90 minutes of parading up and down England’s left flank.
But the damage Chilwell is doing to the environment is more than offset by his footballing ability.
His inclusion also gives James Maddison more time to lose money at his local Gentings.
Holding midfielder: Declan Rice (West Ham)
Talk to certain West Ham fans and you’ll discover that Rice is the Second Coming of Bobby Moore.
Talk to certain England fans and you’ll discover that Rice provided the protection of a chocolate teapot against Czech Republic.
The reality is somewhere in the middle, but there are no better options to shield the defence given Harry Winks, Jordan Henderson and Eric Dier are all ineligible.
Central midfielder: Mason Mount (Chelsea)
Frank Lampard’s pet project extraordinaire would probably get in the England team on merit, but the absence of Maddison and Dele Alli solidifies Mount’s place in the XI.
The main competition places also comes from within Stamford Bridge, although Ross Barkley’s indifferent club form and Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s injury troubles leave Mount free to scare Rice any time he catches him napping.
Central midfielder: Fabian Delph (Everton)
No Liverpool, Man United, Aston Villa, Leicester, West Ham, Chelsea, Man City or Spurs midfielders make finding a partner for Mount tricky.
If you were feeling particularly hipster you’d pluck for Norwich’s Todd Cantwell or Arsenal’s Joe Willock, but you’d always just end up back with the dependable Delph, waiting for you at the door with a cup of Yorkshire Tea.
Eeh by gum.
Right winger: Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)
To think that just five years ago Stewart Downing was occupying the England wings with an occasional drop of the left shoulder and exactly zero international goals.
Sancho is the antithesis to Downing, full of tricks that don’t make sense in mere mortals’ minds and guaranteed to break ankles when replicated poorly on 5-a-side pitches across England.
Maguire’s presence at centre-back means Marcus Rashford will have to watch on from Manchester.
Left winger: Raheem Sterling (Man City)
The undisputed star of the current England generation, both on and off the pitch.
Sterling has scored eight goals in eight 2019 appearances, all while buzzing around creating Pep Guardiola-approved chaos.
Given Sterling already has 55 caps to his name at the age of 24, joining England’s greatest in the centurion club appears to be a formality.
Striker: Harry Kane (Spurs)
You get the impression that Kane would have come off the pitch in a sulk after England’s win against Bulgaria had he not netted the sixth goal.
As it was, he’ll be telling the Spurs lads about his 85th minute strike at training all week.
Wayne Rooney’s tally of 53 international goals is well and truly in Kane’s reach. A couple more appearances against Bulgaria and the Spurs striker will have knocked off the 25 goals with ease.