Like plenty of other national team managers, Roy Hodgson has often espoused that he picks players for the national team on account of form rather than reputation, but a quick look at the data from this season reveals that to only be partially true.
Taking into account some of the base statistics players in each position tend to be concerned with (i.e. gk with most saves, defender with most tackles etc), we put together the best English team according to the Premier League form supplied by Opta, something that inevitably had some interesting suggestions on who Hodgson should be keeping an eye on in 2015, even if it is a very one dimensional assessment.
Goalkeeper - Rob Green:
|Position||Team||Saves||Goals Conceded||Appearances||Mins Played|
|Ben Foster||GK||West Brom||33||15||11||990|
It's no surprise to find that the team with the worst goals against record should provide the goalkeeper with the most successful saves. Rob Green missed the 3-2 loss to Liverpool, but has still made 10 saves more than his closest English counterpart, and has been one of QPR's best defensive players this season. An alternative would be Ben Foster, who had a storming game against Chelsea last weekend, and who has conceded fewer goals but also made plenty of saves.
Defence - Nathaniel Clyne / Martin Kelly / Calum Chambers / Joel Ward:
|Position||Team||Won Tackle||Goals Conceded||Passing Accuracy||Goals||Goal Assist||Appearances||Mins Played|
|Martin Kelly||DF||C. Palace||26||20||66.82%||0||1||10||900|
|Joel Ward||DF||C. Palace||25||21||72.11%||0||0||12||1080|
The defence sees a selection of young English players, with all but one having been capped by Hodgson at some point or another. Nathaniel Clyne is the obvious stand out talent, and one of the few in this list who would fancy himself as being an England regular after his recent impressive performances for his country. Crystal Palace duo Martin Kelly, and the uncapped Joal Ward, also squeeze in despite featuring for a side that has had its defensive struggles, while Arsenal's Calum Chambers is another player who is already part of the England setup.
Midfield - Gareth Barry / Jordan Henderson / Stewart Downing / Raheem Sterling:
|Position||Team||Accurate Pass||Passing Accuracy||Goals||Goal Assist||Appearances||Mins Played|
|Stewart Downing||MF||West Ham||365||84.10%||2||4||11||989|
Earlier this month, Roberto Martinez claimed that Gareth Barry is the Premier League's best defensive midfielder, and he has certainly shown that he is England's most successful pass master, with no English midfielder above the former Manchester City man when it comes to accurate passes, even if he is uncapped by Hodgson since 2012. Alongside him would have been Steven Gerrard had he not retired this summer, giving room for the former England captain's Anfield teammate Jordan Henderson, who also boasts an impressive 3 assists and 1 goal despite having what some would say to be a disappointing season compared to the highs of last year.
For the final two spots, we considered contribution to goals (goals & assists) made by midfielders, which led to Steward Downing and Raheem Sterling both being selected, having each been involved in 6 goals for their club side this season. Hodgson of course called up 3 of these 4 players, having recalled Downing for the games against Slovenia and Scotland.
Attack - Saido Berahino / Charlie Austin:
|Position||Team||Goals||Goal Assist||Appearances||Mins Played|
|Saido Berahino||FW||West Brom||7||0||12||1065|
|Wayne Rooney||FW||Man Utd||4||2||9||779|
Up top sees two uncapped talents who have really come to life this season. Saido Berahino is the topscoring Englishman in the Premier League this season with 7 goals, while QPR's Charlie Austin is just one behind despite playing in a struggling team. England captain Wayne Rooney sneaks onto the reserve list with 4 goals and 2 assists. What this table shows is that there is a limited number of capable English forwards playing in the Premier League right now, given that aside from these three, no one else has scored more than three goals.