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FIFA FIFPro World XI: only one English player shortlisted

Tuesday 26th September 2017
Should we as a nation be surprised by England having only one representative on the 55-man FIFA FIFPro World XI shortlist? How many world-class players have been developed on the British shores in recent times? It's been five years (and counting) since an English player last made it into FIFA's best XI.

Since then, there's only one player who was even playing for an English club when they made this elite line-up. In the case of Angel Di Maria, it was for his stellar performances in the first half of 2014 that warranted his spot. The Argentine thoroughly deserved his selection with man-of-the-match performances en route to La Decima with Real Madrid, and he was unfortunate to be moved on that summer.

England's sole representative

Harry Kane is a product of patience and an opportunity being presented. The 24-year old signed his first professional contract back in 2009 but did not make his debut for another two years. The Walthamstow-born forward took another two seasons to score his first goal for Tottenham Hotspur - he was loaned out to four clubs in the time between 2011 and 2013. He made his name in the Europa League before Mauricio Pochettino gave him a chance to start as Tottenham's main forward. Kane has certainly not disappointed since.
Kane's gone on to score 79 Premier League goals since then, including 4 in 6 this season. He's also hit the metalwork (the posts haven't been made out of wood for years) on five occasions this season. The Englishman has had a great year, with only Robert Lewandowski & Lionel Messi topping him for goals so far. However, Kane is unlikely to make the FIFA FIFPro World XI as Real Madrid won the Champions League, while Spurs' European exploits finished in early March. It's a guarantee Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will make the team's front three, so the Tottenham striker is fighting with the likes of Edinson Cavani, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Neymar, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and more.

Has England lost its place as one of the world's top teams?

In my opinion, England lost it a few years ago. They have been below-par for a number of years and haven't made the semi-finals of a major competition since Euro '96. To add to that, England have since only won two knockout games in international competitions. In that time, these nations have surprised by reaching the last four of international tournaments:

  • Croatia

  • Czech Republic

  • Greece

  • Russia

  • South Korea

  • Turkey

  • Uruguay

  • Wales

On top of this, England have been eliminated from major tournaments in four penalty shootouts. As a nation, the Three Lions have become the victims of the world's elite. On a regular basis, its players have promised a lot but come up short. So, why should it be a surprise that England is not represented more consistently in the FIFA FIFPro World XI? England's international record on the big stage provides more than enough compelling evidence.

English football: great clubs - no great players

The performances and achievements of English clubs (in most cases) is not down to their homegrown talent. Chelsea would not have won Europe's elite competition without Didier Drogba and Petr Cech. Ferguson's United in 2008 are indebted to the contributions of Edwin van der Sar and Cristiano Ronaldo. In all fairness, Paul Scholes was the difference between Manchester United and Barcelona in the Champions League semis, but Ronaldo top scored in all competitions in his last three years at Old Trafford. The last great English player was Steven Gerrard, who was the driving force behind Liverpool's European triumph in 2005.

English football, as a brand, is unrivaled; however, the English national setup is a joke. Do not expect many more of England's players to make the FIFA FIFPro World XI shortlist anytime soon.
Tyrone Chambers

I know most people either love them or hate them but I a massive fan of Manchester United. I'm not afraid to speak the truth. Writing it as it is, bold enough to say it in the way no manager or player could say in public. I write about all things football but I love music as well, both listening and playing, keen drummer.

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