In the Three Lions’ first encounter, they host the USA on home soil on Thursday evening, where England’s leading goalscorer, Wayne Rooney will bow out of international football for the final time. Thereafter, Gareth Southgate’s side will welcome 2018 World Cup runners-up Croatia to Wembley.
Southgate has a plethora of attacking talent to choose from, but which one of Ross Barkley, Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli will the former defender select to be his creative force in the middle of the park?
On the Front Foot…
In terms of minutes on the field this season, all three are not far apart, with Barkley not being selected in the starting XI by Maurizio Sarri from the get-go as Alli and Lingard have both battled minor knocks.
Nonetheless, Chelsea’s January signing leads the way in goals and assists, with three to his name in each category. Alli has netted once in the Premier League this season, whilst Lingard is yet to find the back of the net or provide an assist for his teammates.
On the Offensive…
When analysing the trio’s more detailed offensive stats, you can see that it’s more of a mixed bag, with neither player standing out.
In the illustration above, you can see that Alli leads the way in average shots per game, with the Tottenham man attempting 1.6 shots per game. But it is United’s Lingard who edges ahead of his England teammates when it comes to average key passes per game. Playing under the more defensive-minded Mourinho, Lingard has made 0.8 key passes per game. Moving on, as Barkley is known to be more of a ball carrier among the three, it is, in fact, Alli who edges ahead when it comes to average dribbles per game. The former MK Dons player has attempted 0.7 dribbles per game to Barkley’s 0.4. But as mentioned earlier, it is Barkley who edges the duo in goals and assists so far during this campaign.
On the Ball…
In our final comparison of England’s attack-minded trio, we look at their passing statistics for their respective clubs during this campaign.
Despite playing for the more possession-based Sarri, it is Alli who once again charges the line when it comes to average passes per game. The 22-year-old is making just under 40 passes per game for Mauricio Pochettino, whose side sit inside the top-four alongside Chelsea. Barkley isn’t too far behind with 36.3 passes per game, but Lingard is well behind the London duo with 24.5 passes per match. Saying that, it is Barkley’s passes that are reaching their intended target more often than not. He has a pass success rate of 92% whilst Alli is third on the list with 79.8%.
There is no doubt that Barkley is standing out amongst his peers because he is finding the back of the net more than his national teammates. Not forgetting that he put in a stellar performance against Spain in their own backyard during the previous international break. If Southgate opts to select two of the above players mentioned then it won’t be a surprise to see Barkley and Alli get the nod ahead of Lingard.