What England XI would look like if 'Big Six' players were banned from international football

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Luke Edwards
·3 min read
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Dominic Calvert-Lewin (left), Jadon Sancho (top right) and Jack Grealish (bottom right) would all be available - GETTY IMAGES / REUTERS
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (left), Jadon Sancho (top right) and Jack Grealish (bottom right) would all be available - GETTY IMAGES / REUTERS

News of the breakaway European Super League has provoked a fierce backlash from Uefa and various national leagues and associations.

World governing body Fifa has also expressed its "disapproval to a 'closed European breakaway league' outside of the international football structures".

Uefa, along with the Football Associations of England, Spain and Italy, plus the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A, said they would use all available means to stop the "cynical project" that involves Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham, plus six other European clubs.

There has even been talk of banning players who play for these teams from representing their countries at international level. And so, with that in mind, we examine what an England team without players from the Premier League's so-called 'Big Six' would look like.

Watch: European Super League ignores the 'spirit of the game'

England without big six players in a 4-2-3-1 formation

Jordan Pickford (Everton)

He is under pressure from Burnley’s Nick Pope, but the fact that England’s two best goalkeepers play for teams not invited to join the Super League means they are well equipped to cope.

Tariq Lamptey (Brighton)

The England Under-21 international has been in scintillating form since leaving Chelsea for more regular first-team opportunities, despite injury problems.

Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa)

Has become an established member of the squad over the last couple of seasons and even threatened to become first choice alongside Harry Maguire before John Stones’ rehabilitation.

Conor Coady (Wolves)

Hugely-popular member of the England squad already and has been described as a natural leader. The former Liverpool player would be most people’s first choice to partner Mings. Brighton's Ben White, Villa's Ezri Konsa and Everton's Michael Keane are also knocking on the door.

Matt Targett (Aston Villa)

One of the best full-backs in the Premier League who may not have made the same impact as those picked before him by Gareth Southgate, but has plenty of admirers still. Leeds' Jack Harrison and West Ham's Aaron Creswell would also be in the reckoning.

Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United)

A huge success story at Leeds as a homegrown player who has gone on to international honours. If Jordan Henderson failed to recover in time to make the Euros, he would start in his absence anyway. Jude Bellingham is also a contender.

Declan Rice (West Ham)

Probably already the best English defensive midfield player and has been integral to West Ham’s success this season. Almost certainly first choice in this position already.

Jack Grealish (Aston Villa)

Already assured to be part of the squad for the Euros and is perhaps the most naturally-gifted player of his generation. No longer on the fringes of Southgate’s Euro plans

James-Ward Prowse (Southampton)

The Southampton captain said before the FA Cup semi-final defeat to Leicester City that he is happy to have gained international honours without needing to join one of the Big Six. Jesse Lingard would be an option, too, if he leaves Manchester United and joins West Ham on a permanent basis.

Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)

The German club are thought to have been courted by the new breakaway league but for now remain unmoved. Sancho edges out Leicester pair James Maddison and Harvey Barnes and Burnley's Dwight McNeil.

Dominic Calvet-Lewin (Everton)

Would be most people’s first choice to come into the team if Harry Kane was injured or suspended and has enjoyed a fine season for his club. Danny Ings and Patrick Bamford would provide competition for places.

Watch: James Corden says he is 'heartbroken' by future plans of the European Super League