World Cup watch: Harry Maguire has another day to forget, inspired Nick Pope ups his chances and Ben Chilwell faces new competition at Chelsea… as Ollie Watkins and Reece James stake their claim and Aaron Ramsdale makes a mistake
- Who’s going to the Qatar World Cup in November? Sports post keep an eye on
- Nick Pope and Aaron Ramsdale are hoping to be one of the goalkeepers
- Reece James and Ollie Watkins are in impressive form at Chelsea and Aston Villa
- Harry Maguire was part of Man United’s latest catastrophic defensive display
- Click here for all the latest 2022 World Cup news and updates
With time ticking on for England manager Gareth Southgate announcing his squad for the World Cup in Qatar, it is now time for a breaking point for some candidates hoping to be on the plane.
Players who have started the season in flying form are doing so in the knowledge that they are increasing their chances of being at the showpiece when now is not the time for hopeful Three Lions to make mistakes or have shockers.
Sportsmail is keeping an eye on who is likely to make the roster when the tournament kicks off in November.
Players still have time to secure places up for grabs in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad
Will option number three win the two-horse race to become England’s number 1? All the talk in the last 12 months has been about Jordan Pickford v Aaron Ramsdale, but Pope has quietly moved to the front of the line, leaving it two clean sheets of two after his £10m bargain to Newcastle.
The 30-year-old won just eight caps for his country, but England won all eight and conceded once.
The Villa striker’s team-mate – and rival for a place in the Qatar Express – Danny Ings scored a goal, but it was Watkins who made it, his first of two assists against Everton on Saturday.
His combination play and running to create space for runners from midfield will serve him well, giving Gareth Southgate the opportunity to play him in a front two with Harry Kane.
Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope made some important saves in his team’s draw at Brighton
Forget if James is on the team as Southgate don’t like Trent Alexander-Arnold, at the moment the Chelsea man is simply the best right-back we have.
Another majestic display against Spurs yesterday, capped off with a goal, tightens his grip on a starting spot.
How long can Maguire’s United form continue before it costs him his place in England? For Brentford’s fourth goal on Saturday, Maguire started on the edge of the host’s penalty area, giving Ivan Toney a 20-yard lead in a race the striker could have won at half speed.
Fortunately for Maguire, the centre-back is in a troubled position, with only AC Milan’s Fikayo Tomori and Tottenham’s Eric Dier in anything close to good club form.
Harry Maguire (second from right) was part of a disastrous 4-0 defeat for Man United at Brentford
The 24-year-old’s excellent first season at Arsenal was notable for a lack of ‘give away’ goals that he should have done better.
James Maddison’s shot on Saturday was hit hard and low but straight at Ramsdale. Now is not the time for him to let shots – and doubt creep into Southgate’s mind.
England are not blessed with left-backs, to the extent that Kieran Trippier has spent a lot of time there over the past four years.
But even as the best conventional option, Chilwell will be concerned about the arrival of £52.5million Marc Cucurella, who replaced him yesterday in Chelsea’s starting squad and posed a threat everywhere, along with Raheem Sterling.