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Most saves? Assists king? England's World Cup options in numbers

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On Wednesday, England boss Gareth Southgate will name the 23 players who will travel with him to Russia for the World Cup.

Southgate will have to shed 12 names from the 35-man long list, which was submitted to Fifa on Monday.

And while the England manager will have a good idea who will comprise the bulk of his squad, he will have big decisions to make around fringe players.

So who is in form and who has stood out in the Premier League this season?

BBC Sport has taken the key statistics from each position to see if there are any standout options.

Goalkeepers

Goalkeeper statistics

Is there any position in the England starting XI surrounded by more uncertainty than the goalkeeper?

Southgate not only has to decide who starts between the posts but also which three keepers he takes to Russia, with the final selection likely to come from Jack Butland, Nick Pope, Joe Hart and Jordan Pickford.

Pope looks like the outsider, but the Burnley man has had a superb season, leading the way in three of our four categories – clean sheets, shots saved percentage and goals conceded.

Hart has played just 19 Premier League games during his loan spell at West Ham and has the worst save percentage of the quartet.

Pickford’s 10 clean sheets in goal for Everton is impressive but Butland, unsurprisingly, has been the busiest keeper, making 144 saves for relegated Stoke.

Central defenders

England defender statistics

Southgate looks likely to play with three central defenders in Russia, meaning there are more slots to vie for in the line-up.

Manchester City’s John Stones – the most accurate passer of the candidates – looks certain to start, but Southgate has experimented with other centre-halves in recent friendlies.

No England World Cup prospect has made more tackles than Leicester’s Harry Maguire; Manchester United defender Chris Smalling leads the way in successful tackles and Burnley’s James Tarkowski has made a remarkable 43 blocks this term.

Smalling’s club partner Phil Jones has struggled with injuries, but has shown his composure on the ball with a pass accuracy of 91.3%, which could show he will fit into Southgate’s system.

There is, of course, the strong possibility that Kyle Walker could line up in the central three, but he features in our wing-backs section as he usually plays at right-back for Manchester City.

Wing-backs

England wing-back statistics

Should Walker move to centre-back, that is likely to open up the right wing-back position for Tottenham’s Kieran Trippier, who has covered more ground per game in the Premier League than any of his rivals this season and also fares well when it comes to crosses made.

The left side throws up more options, though, with Manchester City’s Fabian Delph registering the best pass completion rate and highest number of completed dribbles.

Spurs’ Danny Rose has barely featured this term, leaving Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand and Manchester United’s Ashley Young as the other likely contenders.

Bertrand has made 100 crosses this season, the highest on the list, but Young also ranks high for crosses, as well as when it comes to completed dribbles.

Midfielders

England mifielder statistics

Dele Alli has been accused of “going missing” at times this season but the numbers don’t lie – he has been one of the most influential English midfielders, creating 64 chances for team-mates and providing 10 assists. You can add nine goals to that, too.

When looking at other creative options, Liverpool’s Adam Lallana, Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere and Crystal Palace loanee Ruben Loftus-Cheek have not been able to string together enough appearances to challenge Alli’s figures.

But Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey has the statistics to back up calls for him to go to Russia, with 41 chances created and three assists – only Alli has better numbers in those areas.

Perhaps surprisingly, Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson has registered just one assist this term but features quite high up the list when it comes to tackles made.

That will be a key statistic for whoever gets chosen to play the holding midfield role, and while Spurs’ Eric Dier has made an impressive 61 tackles, he misses out on top spot to West Brom’s Jake Livermore with 72.

Livermore may be held back by his ball distribution, however, with his 78.60% pass accuracy one of the lowest on the list.

Away from the Premier League, it is worth noting the 15 goals scored in the Championship this season by Fulham’s 17-year-old winger Ryan Sessegnon, who can also play at wing-back.

Forwards

England forward statistics

When assessing England’s forward options, the first striker on the teamsheet is, quite obviously, Tottenham’s Harry Kane.

With the most goals (30) and best goals-per-minutes ratio (one every 103 minutes) of any Englishman in this season’s Premier League, he is top of the pile – but who can make a claim to play alongside him?

Raheem Sterling’s brilliant season with champions Manchester City is backed up with big numbers – 18 goals and 11 assists.

And when it comes purely to goals, Leicester’s Jamie Vardy is second to Kane with 20.

But Vardy has made fewer assists – just one – compared to the lower scoring but more creative Manchester United duo of Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard, who have five assists each.

If Southgate decides he only needs one of Rashford and Lingard, it will be a difficult choice – the pair are neck and neck in all four areas we’ve measured, even down to shooting accuracy.

Outside the Premier League, there is the wildcard of Ademola Lookman, with the Everton forward having scored five goals in 11 games during his loan spell at German side RB Leipzig.

Pick the XI you think should start for England at the World Cup and share it with your friends.

My England starting XI

Gareth Southgate's England are running out of games before the World Cup in 2018. Choose who you would pick in their starting XI in Russia – and then share it with your friends using our team selector.

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