By 90Min
February 10, 2018

International football is seen as the pinnacle, from established professionals representing the senior side to emerging talents playing at the various age restricted junior teams. But where England is concerned, is getting into the national team set up a little too easy?

There are currently just 30 players in the Premier League - minimum five Premier League appearances - who have never represented England at senior or junior level.

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RIght now, there are 513 players in first-team squads, 164 of them English*. And the vast majority of those have played at least one game for an England team at some point in their career, whether it be Under-16, Under-17, Under-18, Under-19, Under-20, Under-21 or the full national side. (*Data sourced from Transfermarkt)


Given the identity of most of the uncapped-at-any-level players, it would appear there is a trend.

Generally speaking, those who have been overlooked by England at junior level and who haven't since managed to play their way into the senior squad started their careers at a lower level and might perhaps be considered 'late bloomers'.

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That is certainly the case for a number of Bournemouth (Steve Cook, Marc Pugh), Brighton (Dale Stephens, Lewis Dunk), Burnley (Ashley Barnes, who actually played a single Under-20 game for Austria) and Huddersfield (Tommy Smith, Jonathan Hogg) players - naming select examples.

There are still odd exceptions within that, though. For instance, Bournemouth's Charlie Daniels started his career at Tottenham. And even though he didn't play for Spurs at first-team level, playing in a top academy would normally put teenagers on U16, U17, U18 radars.

Tyrone Mings was playing regular Championship football for Ipswich from the age of 20, but surprisingly never played for England at Under-21 level, or indeed or any other level.

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Southampton striker Charlie Austin fits the 'late bloomer' profile. He was already 21 by the time he started making a name for himself at Swindon in League One. Austin was later called up by England at senior level in 2015, but didn't make it onto the pitch.

West Ham forward Michail Antonio came from a similar non-league background. He is another to have actually been called up by England later on after impressing in the Premier League when he finally got there, but never actually made it on the pitch for a cap.

Newcastle's Dwight Gayle was almost 23 before he played league football for the first time, explaining why he was never on the radar at junior level.

Troy Deeney has no international experience as he only hit his stride in his mid 20s, while Watford teammate Andre Gray has actually played for 'England C', a national selection from players at non-league clubs. The same can be said of Swansea midfielder Sam Clucas.

As alluded to with Daniels, sometimes just being at a big club as a young player will result in at least a couple of games with an England junior side. In that sense, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and Everton are big suppliers of players.

(You may also be interested in '6 Surprising Clubs With Better Attendances Than the Premier League Average')

But as with anything, there are curious exceptions to the norm as already alluded to with Daniels. Despite being a United youngster, Danny Simpson was overlooked by England at junior level and didn't play his way into the senior squad during Leicester's title winning season.

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Scott McTominay, currently a new favourite of Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford, has never played international football of any kind. The 20-year-old is eligible for Scotland and has so far rejected Scottish advances to concentrate on his club career, but no England junior call-ups either.

But with less than 20% of current eligible Premier League players - minimum five Premier League appearances - not playing for England at any level, it does make you wonder if getting called up is actually a bit too easy.

Club English Players Uncapped at Any Level**
Arsenal none
Bournemouth Steve Cook, Marc Pugh, Charlie Daniels
Brighton Lewis Dunk, Dale Stephens, Glenn Murray
Burnley Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ashley Barnes, Ashley Westwood, Nick Pope
Chelsea none
Crystal Palace Joel Ward, Jason Puncheon
Everton none
Huddersfield Tommy Smith, Dean Whitehead, Jonathan Hogg
Leicester Danny Simpson, Ben Hamer
Liverpool none
Man City none
Man Utd Scott McTominay
Newcastle Dwight Gayle, Karl Darlow
Southampton Charlie Austin
Stoke Tom Edwards
Swansea Nathan Dyer, Sam Clucas***
Tottenham none
Watford Troy Deeney, Andre Gray***
West Brom none
West Ham Sam Byram, Michail Antonio

**minimum five Premier League appearances

***made appearances for England C - a national selection for non-league players only

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