To understand that only one Englishman has made it to the final 12 nominees for FIFA’s ‘The Best’ award is a damning indictment of the state of football in the country.
The Three Lions might be getting closer to winning a major title under Gareth Southgate, but it’s clear that the vast majority of their players can’t be considered as world class.
Lionel Messi, of course, is in the list published by BBC, as is his former PSG team-mate, Kylian Mbappe.
The Frenchman can consider himself extremely unlucky having scored a hat-trick in last year’s World Cup final, and still ended up on the losing side, Messi guiding his Argentina to the crown for the first time since 1986.
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Victor Osimhen from Napoli as well as Marcelo Brozovic (formerly of Inter, now Al Nassr) are also on the list which is dominated by treble-winning Man City.
All of Erling Haaland, Julian Alvarez, Kevin de Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan, Rodri and Bernardo Silva will surely fancy their chances of securing the crown, with Haaland and Alvarez perhaps having the biggest shouts.
That won’t stop Arsenal’s record signing, Declan Rice, jostling for position.
The 24-year-old captained West Ham to the Europa Conference League title, their first major trophy of any description since the 1980 FA Cup final win.
It would be a surprise if Rice came away with the title, but perhaps what is more surprising is that none of his countrymen have been considered good enough over the past 12 months to be nominated alongside him.Read on caughtoffside.com