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The countdown to Qatar is on and the current England crop is one of the best in years. Jason Pettigrove looks at those who might not make the plane unless they can turn their form around.

There are less than nine months left to go before England (7/1) will attempt to end 56 years of hurt and bring the World Cup back to ‘Ol Blighty.

Qatar 2022 will be another difficult tournament to negotiate, however, if Gareth Southgate’s selections turn on the style once again, the Three Lions can expect to be there or thereabouts when the business end of the competition comes around just before Christmas.

There are a few players that might well be looking over their shoulders in the lead-up to the tournament, as a lack of form could see them cut from the final 23-man squad.

Jordan Pickford

The Everton custodian has become something of a liability for club and country, and has been a contributory factor in the Toffees’ plummet down the table.

He certainly has experience of big games at major tournaments, however, if Southgate is going to be true to the stated aim at the beginning of his tenure that he would pick players who are in form, then he certainly can’t look any further than Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale.

The keeper has been sensational all season and deserves his time in the spotlight. Dean Henderson will want to have something to say about that too but he hasn’t been utilised enough for Manchester United to genuinely be considered as anything other than a reserve.

Harry Maguire

The chickens have really come home to roost for the United centre-back.

Judging by his antics on a football pitch throughout the 2021/22 campaign, and well before if we’re honest, it’s anyone’s guess how the Red Devils were conned out of a world-record fee for the defender.

Slow across the ground and with his decision-making, being a decent aerial presence isn’t going to be enough to see him on the plane.

Particularly when you have the likes of Marc Guehi (11/4), Tyrone Mings (11/8), Conor Coady (5/2), John Stones and others playing brilliantly week in and week out, and who offer Southgate a multitude of central defensive options depending on the opposition.

Jude Bellingham

A player who has everything in his locker but who, ultimately, could lose out on a place because of the emergence of Conor Gallagher (2/1).

The young Chelsea star who is currently on loan at Crystal Palace is ripping the rule book up in South London.

He has been a delight to watch for Patrick Vieira’s side and has really put himself front and centre for when the selectors make their minds up.

Bellingham’s correct decision to move to Dortmund may actually be the thing that holds him back on this occasion.

Out of sight shouldn’t mean out of mind, similar to Fikayo Tomori (5/2), but when you have a talent such as Gallagher really making a name for himself, Southgate doesn’t have any need to look elsewhere.

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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