England’s Euro 2016 preparations are put on hold from this weekend as the Premier League returns.
Supporters of domestic clubs may still be gushing at how well their boys did for Roy Hodgson over the international break, but which top-flight teams could field the strongest all-English XI?
The amount of foreign players in the Premier League mean that some clubs would be very stretched, but CaughtOffside has done some investigating and come up with what we think are the top six.
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Matt Macey; Carl Jenkinson, Isaac Hayden, Calum Chambers, Kieran Gibbs; Jack Wilshere, Daniel Crowley; Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Danny Welbeck; Chuba Akpom.
Not the strongest spine, with a lightweight midfield, a makeshift defensive pairing and an unproven goalkeeper, although the six teams don’t have a Premier League appearance between them in net.
But that front four has bags of pace and trickery about it, whichever way they line up – there would certainly be a case for Danny Welbeck to play centrally. They might have to win games 4-3, though!
Russell Griffiths; Tyias Browning, John Stones, Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines; Gareth Barry, Leon Osman; Aaron Lennon, Tom Cleverley, Ross Barkley; Courtney Duffus.
Everton have quite the opposite problem. Their all-English team could compete with any other between the two boxes, but would be relying on former Bury loanee Courtney Duffus, 20, to lead the line.
They have a strong defence, three of whom might be in the Euro 2016 squad, experience in midfield and an X-factor supplied by Ross Barkley and Aaron Lennon. But who is going to score the goals?
Ryan Allsop; Simon Francis, Steve Cook, Tommy Elphick, Charlie Daniels; Marc Pugh, Dan Gosling, Andrew Surman, Junior Stanislas; Benik Afobe, Callum Wilson.
This is the majority of the team that has helped Bournemouth consolidate themselves in their first Premier League season – a refreshing reminder that there is homegrown talent in the lower leagues.
The inclusion of Callum Wilson, who has missed most of the season with injury, only strengthens the Bournemouth side. He and Benik Afobe would be a strike partnership capable of hurting any defence.
3. Manchester United
Sam Johnstone; Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw; Michael Carrick, Joe Riley; Ashley Young, Wayne Rooney, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford.
It has been a season to forget for Manchester United, but they still have plenty of young English talent to fall back on – Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Luke Shaw, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford.
This team could be exposed in the middle of the park, but that front four, spearheaded by Three Lions captain Wayne Rooney, is quite exciting, and the defence has three full internationals in it.
2. Tottenham Hotspur
Luke McGee; Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Eric Dier, Danny Rose; Ryan Mason, Tom Carroll, Josh Onomah, Dele Alli, Alex Pritchard; Harry Kane.
It is looking increasingly likely that Spurs players may make up the spine of England’s Euro 2016 starting lineup – with Eric Dier, Dele Alli and Harry Kane all poised to play key roles for Hodgson.
But, to fit the all-English brief, some of their key men have to play out of position, and they do not quite have the homegrown depth around the whole park to pip our winners to the number-one spot.
Ryan Fulton; Nathaniel Clyne, Steven Caulker, Joe Gomez, Jon Flanagan; James Milner, Jordan Henderson, Jordon Ibe, Adam Lallana, Danny Ings, Daniel Sturridge.
Liverpool had as many players – five – as Tottenham in the latest England squad – and we reckon that they have just a tiny bit more proven homegrown quality than the Premier League title chasers.
They have eight full internationals across the field, as well as an excellent young talent in Joe Gomez, and an established Three Lions pair of James Milner and Jordan Henderson – 81 caps between them.
Daniel Sturridge is arguably the most talented English striker around and is well supported by an attacking-midfield trident which comprises of pace, guile and another goal-happy forward.
Basically, what we are saying, is that Liverpool would beat Tottenham to the Premier League title on the final day, if only English players were eligible. Alas for the Reds of Anfield, that is not the case!
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