Who’s better… club or country?Analysts reveal why Gareth Southgate’s England would come SECOND to Man City in the Premier League but are marginally better than Man United, Liverpool and Chelsea
- Analysts at the Twenty First Group, which advises top clubs in Europe, have created models to predict how players will combine and perform
- Analysis is used routinely in recruitment to target players that will be a good fit
- Data scientists have run the numbers on England to reveal top flight chances
- England would beat most clubs, except the champions, Manchester City
It is finally a debate worth having… would the current England team win the Premier League?
For years, Three Lions’ fans have been frustrated by the national side that has been consistently less than the sum of its parts.
Fragmented dressing rooms, disaffected players, muddled coaching, distractions and negativity have played their part in blunting the potential of native talent, tarnishing ‘golden’ generations.
Throw in the foreign superstars that illuminate the Premier League and it has long been accepted that the national side would have little chance of turning over the country’s best clubs.
England have combined good players and strong spirit to become a force in world football
But this England team is different. It has the focus and cohesion of a club side and excellent players from back to front, who are among the stars of the top flight.
So, could Gareth Southgate’s men, who play a crucial World Cup qualifier against Poland in Warsaw tonight, conquer the Premier League?
Sportsmail asked leading analysts, the Twenty First Group, to run the numbers and estimate the current England team’s chances against league opposition.
Analysts have calculated that England would be competitive in the Premier League
‘Assuming you could ‘clone’ players, our models suggest that the England national team would most likely finish second in the Premier League, behind Manchester City,’ said Omar Chaudhuri, chief intelligence officer at the Twenty First Group, which advises leading sides across Europe on all aspects of their strategic development
‘We rate the England team – on paper – marginally better than Manchester United, Liverpool, and Chelsea.’
The analysts look at every aspect of a player’s contribution to their team and what impact they make on the outcome of matches. Crunching vast amounts of data allows scientists to model a individual player’s influence if they were to move teams, and to calculate how they will combine with their colleagues.
Manchester City would be favourite to beat the England team if then played at a neutral venue
‘At a neutral venue, Man City would be 48% favourites against England, with a 24% chance of a draw and 28% chance of an England win,’ added Chaudhuri.
‘By contrast, England would be 41% favourites against Manchester United, with a 23% chance of a draw and a 36% chance of a defeat.’
The fact that England would be in the mix at all, and with a good chance of beating clubs that boast players of the calibre of N’Golo Kante, Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah is surely a massive step forward.
England’s new competitiveness undoubtedly begins with the world class talent the country now has at its disposal. Some of the Premier League’s top performers cannot secure a start in the Three Lions’ line-up.
England would be favourite to beat top sides like Liverpool, despite players like Mo Salah and Virgil van Dijk (l). Three Lions would also be expected to beat Chelsea despite the challenge posed by N’Golo Kante
Liverpool’s talisman and captain Jordan Henderson has been edged out of midfield; Chelsea’s wing backs Reece James and Ben Chilwell are currently playing second fiddle to Manchester City’s Kyle Walker and Manchester United’s Luke Shaw.
Up front, Jack Grealish, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling is a forward line any top flight manager, Pep Guardiola in particular, would pay for handsomely.
And which Premier League club would turn down an opportunity to put West Ham’s Declan Rice or Leeds’ Kalvin Phillips to work in their engine room? While Mason Mount is a certain starter for one of the world’s best club managers, Thomas Tuchel.
That’s just the first eleven. The ‘B’ team is stuffed with gems, too.
Atletico Madrid’s Kieran Trippier, who won La Liga last season, Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham, Mason Greenwood, Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden and of course, Henderson, are pushing for their chance.
England manager Gareth Southgate has moulded a talented England group into a united team and the statistics suggest Southgate’s players would beat Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men
As in England’s finest club sides, the competition is fierce, the decisions finely balanced, the desire to get the nod, huge. But the collective spirit and common purpose is intact.
And therein lies the secret of success for this England generation, because unrivalled talent is no guarantee of glory. It has to be harnessed and given laser-like focus on the objective of winning.
The managers, staff and players at Manchester City and Chelsea are expected to, and expect to win.
This England squad are beginning to show similar qualities. They have not been defeated in open play in 15 matches, albeit they succumbed to Italy on penalties in the Euro 2020 final.
In that time, they have taken some notable scalps, beating Croatia, Germany and overcoming an accomplished Denmark team. They recorded a hugely impressive 4-0 win over Ukraine in Rome in the quarter-final of the Euros.
England showed an impressive togetherness in a hostile atmosphere in Hungary
The togetherness they have displayed in the face of racism and abuse, their thoroughbred performance in Budapest in a hostile atmosphere and their overall response to the disappointment of defeat in the Euro 2020 final, bodes well for the future, too.
And like in the best clubs, the tone is dictated by the manager.
Southgate said it felt like his ‘stomach has been ripped out’ after the penalty shootout defeat at Wembley.
For him, only a World Cup win can heal the pain of that missed opportunity.
Gareth Southgate has been clear – his aim is now to win the World Cup for England
‘We probably need to win a World Cup final, because nothing else is really going to compare to the level of the game we were involved in and the unique circumstance that being in a final brings,’ said the England boss.
And where the manager goes, these England players enthusiastically follow.
‘It hurts and it always will hurt,’ added Manchester United’s Harry Maguire, last week. ‘Will you ever get over losing a penalty shootout to become European champions? Probably only if you win one of these major tournaments.’
The Three Lions want more than the Premier League title. They want the World Cup.
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