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Harry Maguire error-strewn but still on the plane for Gareth Southgate; Trent Alexander-Arnold set to miss out – England World Cup squad ladder

The Sky Sports England World Cup squad ladder ranks the top 40 players in contention for a place in Gareth Southgate's 26-man squad for Qatar 2022; Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold is on the slide having been overlooked against Italy and Germany

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Sky Sports' Peter Smith and Nick Wright run through the latest England World Cup squad ladder as Harry Maguire clings on but Trent Alexander-Arnold slides

Harry Maguire received Gareth Southgate's backing despite his error-strewn display against Germany, but Trent Alexander-Arnold is on the slide. The latest England World Cup squad ladder is here!

The Three Lions contested their final fixture before the tournament on Monday night, playing out a thrilling 3-3 draw with Germany in the Nations League at Wembley.

It was another opportunity for Southgate's players to strengthen their claim for a World Cup spot following Friday's 1-0 loss to Italy at the San Siro, but who has boosted their prospects over the two games and who is sliding down the ladder?

Here, we run through the players who are already on the plane, those sitting in the departure lounge with their boarding passes in hand, and those jumping in a taxi to the airport and hoping for the best.

Remember, we will be updating our ladder every week from now until Southgate names his squad on October 20 ahead of the tournament start date on November 20.

Dier, Shaw climb; Maguire clinging on


Harry Kane remains top of the ladder, with Declan Rice (2nd), Jordan Pickford (3rd) and Raheem Sterling (4th) occupying the three places beneath him, but there's a change below that with Jude Bellingham climbing four places to fifth following his excellent performances against Italy and Germany.

Bellingham looks likely to partner Rice in the absence of Kalvin Phillips, who was struggling for playing time at Manchester City even before his injury. The Borussia Dortmund teenager leapfrogs Reece James (6th), Phil Foden (7th), Mason Mount (8th), Bukayo Saka (9th) and John Stones (10th) in the ladder.

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The biggest movers, though, are Eric Dier (11th) and Luke Shaw (12th), who have climbed 10 and 16 places respectively having come back into the squad and seized their chance.

Suddenly, they look certain picks for Qatar and, quite possibly, for Southgate's starting line-up too.

Southgate will feel his faith in Dier and Shaw has been vindicated but it's a different story for Harry Maguire. The 24-year-old remains a deeply unpopular pick among supporters due to his poor form for club and country, but Southgate's faith is unwavering.

Even after his dismal showing at Wembley on Monday night, when he was responsible for Germany's opening goal and partly at fault for their second too, Southgate came out and backed him, a clear indication that he still has a place on the plane to Qatar - however angry that might make many supporters.

Pope misses chance; Rashford climbs


From those on the plane to those waiting nervously in the departure lounge.

Jack Grealish (14th), Jordan Henderson (15th), Kyle Walker (16th), Kieran Trippier (17th) and Ben Chilwell (18th) will all be confident of taking their places on the plane despite getting little playing time between them against Italy and Germany.

Phillips (19th) will hope to be there too, providing he can win his race to be fit following shoulder surgery, but the goalkeeper debate remains interesting. Nick Pope (20th) has moved above Aaron Ramsdale (21st) in our ladder by virtue of having started both games, but his performances suggest Pickford has little reason to worry about the No 1 shirt.

Pope endured a poor evening against Germany, his handling error allowing Kai Havertz to net their late equaliser, and there were numerous moments across the two games which showed he is ill-suited to playing out from the back.

Ramsdale will hope to usurp Pope in the pecking order over the next few weeks with Arsenal, and he is not the only one who will be hoping to catch Southgate's eye with his club.

Conor Coady (22nd) will hope to cement his status as the next centre-back in line, while Tammy Abraham (23rd) will feel confident of keeping his place in the 26 ahead of Ivan Toney, who did not make the squad against Italy and did not make it off the bench against Germany.

Meanwhile, Marcus Rashford (25th) might just have boosted his prospects without kicking a ball.

The 24-year-old, unavailable against Italy and Germany due to a muscular injury, has been outstanding for Manchester United lately and could provide firepower and flexibility in a squad struggling badly for goals. It helps that he is of course well-known to Southgate too.

Jarrod Bowen is clinging on to his place in the top 26 of the ladder right now, but the West Ham man will need to find form for his club if he is to stay there. Rashford looks a better option.

Trent looks like dropping out


It looks increasingly likely that Trent Alexander-Arnold will miss out on selection for Qatar.

The Liverpool right-back has dropped seven places in our ladder to 27th, having not made it off the bench against Italy and not even made the squad against Germany.

James appears to have the right wing-back spot nailed down, having started both games, while Southgate clearly has more trust in Walker and Trippier than he does Alexander-Arnold.

Alexander-Arnold's prospects look even bleaker given Southgate is wedded to a back three, rather than a back four. The 23-year-old does not offer the same level of flexibility as Walker and Trippier, who can slot into different positions in England's defence.

It all adds up to a grim picture for Alexander-Arnold.

It will not be a popular decision among supporters - understandably so, given all he offers in an offensive sense - but the latest international break has only served to reinforce suspicions that Southgate might choose to overlook him when he makes his picks for Qatar.

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