With the first international break of the season looming, Gareth Southgate’s final England squad before the World Cup has raised many eyebrows.
The Three Lions are currently in a streak of four games without a win and recorded their biggest home defeat since 1928 when they last suffered an embarrassing 4-0 loss to Hungary.
England, bottom of the Nations League, play their final two games against European champions Italy at the San Siro before welcoming Germany to Wembley for the first time since England’s 2-1 win in the second round of Euro 2020.
These will be the last two games Southgate has before deciding on his final 26-man squad for the World Cup in Qatar by November 13.
Here, Sportsmail takes a look at the top 40 players who will be battling for the last few seats on the plane to Qatar ahead of their final round of play.
England’s best and most important player by far, Harry Kane, is sure to lead the team in their bid for a second World Cup in November.
The Tottenham striker has started the season in fantastic form, with five goals in eight games in all competitions so far, and with 50 goals for his country Kane could well break Wayne Rooney’s record of 53 goals against Italy or Germany.
Rice’s energy and pace of work in the middle of the park make him one of England’s most influential players and has been an almost permanent fixture since Euro 2020, where he played 539 minutes in seven games.
He missed England’s last game – the 4-0 win against Hungary at Molineux – where his absence was painfully felt and his club form has only improved as he became a second name on Southgate’s squad.
Rice, a future England captain who is already filling the void at the London stadium left by Mark Noble, has an experienced head on his shoulders despite being just 23 years old
Raheem Sterling moves up a place behind Kane as England’s most reliable attacking force and is one of Southgate’s leading players with 77 caps for England.
A move to Chelsea hasn’t spoiled the form he’s shown at Manchester City in recent years and with four goals and one assist in eight games at his new club, Sterling has a seat on the plane to Qatar to have his name on it is sewn on.
Sterling’s former City team-mate Phil Foden follows him up the rungs as he adds an established spot in the England lineup to an impressive feat of carving himself a starting role from his club’s litany of stars.
Foden has hugely increased his credit at Southgate due to the creative ineffectiveness of many of his team-mates and with Covid-19 ending his role in recent Nations League games he will be eager to show what he can do this month.
With a glittering array of talent at his disposal, defense is the one weak point that will give Southgate a headache, but John Stones’ consistency at the highest level for City will surely work wonders to ease those pains.
As other English defenders struggle for form, Stones continues to excel at the heart of one of the worst defenses in club football – as things stand there is no English defender ahead of him in the pecking order.
Kyle Walker is the third City player in a row and with good reason as he has proven to be Southgate’s most reliable right-back in ages.
The talent glut on England’s right wing is well documented and the fact that Walker has consistently brushed aside challengers Trent Alexander-Arnold, Reece James and Kieran Trippier proves his importance to the side.
He also played at right-back in England’s 1-0 defeat by Hungary – underscoring his versatility and importance to the Three Lions manager.
One of two big climbers in the rankings is Jude Bellingham, who went from strength to strength at Borussia Dortmund and quickly established himself not only as one of the leading young players but also as one of the best midfielders in Europe.
While he has yet to earn a regular starting spot for the Three Lions, Bellingham is making it harder for Southgate to find reasons not to play him.
An injury to Jordan Henderson and a lack of playing time for Kalvin Phillips give the 18-year-old the perfect opportunity to bring his authority to the No 8 role – although he’s equally good as a No 4 or 10.
Through no fault of his own, Jordan Pickford slips down the ladder to eighth and will miss Nations League games with a hamstring injury he has reportedly been struggling with for some time.
The Everton stopper is England’s No 1 and an impressive performance against Liverpool in early September underlined his credentials, with eight saves to keep his side in contention.