Billy Beane, the man behind ‘Moneyball’, famously picked his baseball team using purely statistics. The technique isn't fully transferable to football, as identifying key performance indicators (KPI), adjusting for teammates’ influence and other external factors all pose problems.
However, below I have selected an England XI based on this season’s statistics in three KPI per position, and have put myself in Beane’s shoes.
Rob Green (Goalkeeper)
The highest saves per goal (2.07) and distribution accuracy (64%). The Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper comes out top in two of three KPI.
Glen Johnson (Right-back)
Boasting highest pass success won (41.24) compared to Nathaniel Clyne and Jon Flanagan and coming second in both chances created (0.97) and tackles won (1.79). The spot would be Kyle Walkers if he were not injured.
Caulker would get the nod for his clearances (8.89) and blocks (1.55), whereas Phil Jones tops the list with highest interceptions (2.12) and tackles won (1.69)
Leighton Baines (Left-Back)
A clear winner with higher successful passes and tackles won, and no errors leading to goals. Only losing out to Ashley Cole on assists (0.13)
Steven Gerrard (Central midfield)
The Liverpool captain trumps all as he is the most creative with higher assists (0.38), key passes (1.59), goals scored (0.38) and successful tackles (2.09).
Lallana has the most goals scored (0.14) and key passes (1.66), whereas Henderson has highest assists (0.20) and successful passes (50.09). Sterling shines with take-ons (2.79).
Sturridge gets the nod for his goals scored (0.79) and Rooney for his assists (0.34).
Note: Green, Caulker and Jones are not in England's World Cup squad.