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England's best XI would look like this if players were picked based on formStat Attack | Posted on Monday, March 20 2017 by Russell Cane
Burnley's Michael Keane would be handed his England debut this week, if players were selected based on Premier League form, Oulala.com can exclusively reveal.
Since taking charge of his first game against Malta last October, Gareth Southgate's England teams have been littered with an array of familiar faces. The only player to have been handed a senior debut for the Three Lions in Southgate's short tenure as manager was West Ham's Aaron Cresswell.
Last Thursday, Southgate named his England squad for their friendly away to world champions Germany in Dortmund on Wednesday and Sunday's home World Cup qualifier against Lithuania. There were a few surprise inclusions such as West Brom's Jake Livermore, Southampton's James Ward-Prowse and Sunderland's Jermain Defoe.
Oulala's points matrix, which uses 70 different statistics provided by player performance data specialists Opta, is the most advanced scoring system in fantasy football. Based on a player's position and each action they take, the stats are converted into fantasy points in real-time accordingly.
While Southgate is expected to name the usual suspects in his starting eleven, we have formed our very own XI based on Oulala points this season. We have not included Michail Antonio after West Ham announced he had withdrawn from the squad on Sunday evening following a hamstring injury. As Southgate has opted for a 4-2-3-1 in his last three matches, we have followed suit with our own formation.
So what would the England XI look like if players were picked based solely on how they have performed for their clubs this season?
Here's how each player earned their place in our XI...
Goalkeeper: Tom Heaton (Burnley) 493 points
A regular in the England set up since 2015, Burnley's Tom Heaton takes the goalkeeper spot in our XI based on his Premier League form this season. The 30-year-old's performances for his club are underlined by an array of impressive stats. Heaton has recorded the most saves (110) by any keeper in the Premier League, while he also boasts more saves per goal conceded (3.1) than any other English keeper, including Jordan Pickford (3), Lee Grant (2.7) Ben Foster (2.5), Joe Hart (2) and Fraser Forster (1.3). The Burnley captain also tops England's regular number one, Hart (325 points), in a host of key areas.
Right Back: Kyle Walker (Tottenham) 209 points
Starting three out of England's last four games, Kyle Walker appears to be Gareth Southgate's first choice at right-back ahead of Liverpool's Nathaniel Clyne. The Spurs full-back has completed more successful dribbles (32) than any other English defender in the Premier League this season, while he statistically beats his closest challenger for the right-back spot (Clyne), boasting more interceptions (32 to 31), blocks (8 to 0), clearances (84 to 39) and assists (5 to 2).
Centre Back: Gary Cahill (Chelsea) 350 points
Under Antonio Conte's guidance, Gary Cahill's stats show how pivotal the Chelsea vice-captain has been to the Blues' defensive record and Premier League title charge this season. The 31-year-old has completed the third most successful passes (1,252) by any defender in English football's top flight at an accuracy of 89%.
Centre Back: Michael Keane (Burnley) 566 points
After featuring in Frank Lampard's Team of the Season on SkySports' Monday Night Football, Michael Keane also earns a spot in our England XI based on statistics. The Burnley centre-back is the highest rated defender in England's squad and ranks as the number one defender in the Premier League for aerial duels won (108) and blocks (37). He also boasts superior numbers to England regular John Stones in an array of key areas.
Left Back: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) 104 points
As England's weakest position 'statistically' following Danny Rose's injury and James Milner's international retirement, Ryan Bertrand takes the left-back spot for England ahead of Luke Shaw. The Southampton full-back has registered 1,101 more minutes of playing time than the Man United man, while he also beats Shaw in a host of key areas on a per game basis, including interceptions (1.7 to 1.5), tackles won (1 to 0.9), tackle success rate (41% to 37%), blocks (0.4 to 0.1), chances created (1.1 to 0.8) and assists (4 to 0).
Midfield: Eric Dier (Tottenham) 349 points
Despite playing as part of a back three at Spurs for a chunk of season, Eric Dier remains England's best defensively minded midfield option according to statistics. Liverpool's Jordan Henderson would have taken the spot in our XI, however an injury to the Reds captain sees Dier deputise. The 23-year-old boasts an array of excellent stats including 21 successful tackles, 26 interceptions and 1,096 successful passes at an accuracy of 86%.
Midfield: Adam Lallana (Liverpool) 400 points
England's 2016 Player of the Year, Adam Lallana, takes the second midfield spot in our stat-based XI. Lallana's excellent campaign is backed up by an array of impressive stats including 7 goals, 7 assists, 27 successful dribbles and a passing accuracy of 84%.
Right Wing: Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) 430 points
Having taken the lion's share of criticism following England's poor showing at Euro 2016, Raheem Sterling has shown great character to bounce back at Manchester City under Pep Guardiola this season. The 22-year-old's stats show he has thrived under the Spaniard's guidance. Ranked as the Premier League's fourth best dribbler this season, completing a total of 72 successful take-ons, Sterling tops any other player named in the England squad, including Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (51) and Nathan Redmond (50).
Attacking Midfield: Ross Barkley (Everton) 328 points
Back in the England squad following an excellent run of form, Ross Barkley's spot in our England XI is fully justified. Everton's attacking midfielder has been integral to the Toffee's strong campaign. Barkley leads Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in six key areas this season.
Left Wing: Dele Alli (Tottenham) 527 points
As England's most promising youngster over the last 10 years, Dele Alli has cemented his spot in the England team with impressive, consistent performances for Tottenham. The 20-year-old's stats highlight his rapid rise as one of the Premier League's top midfielders, having been involved in 17 league goals for Spurs this season (14 goals and three assists). Alli sits as the the joint second top scoring Englishman in the Premier League, while he has also recorded the joint third most shots (66).
Striker: Jermain Defoe (Sunderland) 343 points
As the top rated English striker in the England squad following Harry Kane's injury, Jermain Defoe stats speak for themselves. When compared to Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford, the Sunderland forward's numbers show he has performed better than the pair in a host of key areas both since the turn of the year and overall, highlighting his both form and consistency.
Do you agree with our stat-based XI? Let us know your own best XI's in the comments box and put your money where your mouth is...
Visuals by Rebecca Zammit
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