Playing for England should be a meritocracy, not a closed shop for Gareth Southgate to indulge favoured pupils in the playground.
If performance and consistency are serious criteria for making the Three Lions’ Euros squad, Brighton captain Lewis Dunk, West Brom keeper Sam Johnstone and Everton defender Ben Godfrey will make the cut.
And Jesse Lingard’s hot streak of form on loan at West Ham will be enough for him to squeeze into the 26-man squad.
Dunk has had an impressive season, helping Brighton to keep the fifth-best defensive record in the Premier League (going into the penultimate round of fixtures) as well as adding five goals from set-pieces.
The whisper is that Dunk does not train as impressively as he plays. Pah!
Using that yardstick, the likes of Paul McGrath and Ledley King would never have had any sort of international careers for their countries, so don’t fall for that one.
Johnstone has been the Premier League’s most prolific shot-stopper this season, and the Baggies would have been relegated in March without him. But for me he starts the tournament behind Nick Pope and Jordan Pickford (in that order).
And although Michael Keane can count himself a shade unlucky to miss out, his team-mate Godfrey has been Everton’s most reliable player in another season of wasted opportunities – and he is a decent left-sided option in a back three if necessary.
Who should be in the England squad? Who should miss out? Tell us in the comment section below
Good luck to Southgate finding room for only four out of Kane, Sterling, Foden, Grealish, Mount, Rashford and Saka in the final third.
Above all, the key this summer will be dynamism and energy, not grizzled old sweats raging against the fading light of youth.
My full 26-man squad:
Nick Pope, Jordan Pickford, Sam Johnstone
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Reece James, John Stones, Lewis Dunk, Harry Maguire, Ben Godfrey, Luke Shaw, Ben Chilwell
Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Mason Mount, Declan Rice, Kalvin Phillips, Jude Bellingham, Jordan Henderson
Bukayo Saka, Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Jadon Sancho, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Jesse Lingard
Now choose your 26-man England squad here:
And don’t forget to register with the Mirror and tell us who would be in your England squad for Euro 2020.
Sign up to the Mirror Football email here for the latest news and transfer gossip.