England appear to be embarking on a new era following Gareth Southgate’s latest squad announcement.

Jadon Sancho, Mason Mount and James Maddison have all been called up following their blistering starts to the season, and each offers a uniquely creative outlet for Southgate to utilise.

His three-at-the-back system proved a coup de maître during the World Cup, but there was an obvious missing link: a competent No.10. Raheem Sterling was tried and tested, but to no great avail, while Dele Alli proved more effective in a deeper role.

And so, we move on to a new breed of future stars, with Sancho, Mount and Maddison all emerging as the potential missing piece to England’s playmaker puzzle.

The trident have flourished at their respective clubs this term, and all don the No.10 in their Twitter handles, but which player is truly worthy of being the remedy to Southgate’s creative conundrum, and cementing a No.10 starting berth with England?

Well, we’ve analysed each player in the league and in Europe since the start of last season to work out who perhaps has the greatest claim of making their Twitter name a reality.


Age: Maddison (21), Mount (19), Sancho (18)
Minutes: 4,289 – 3,862 – 1,052
Appearances: 52 – 50 – 21
Starts: 50 – 41 – 10

Each player has enjoyed a different taste of first-team action during their nascent careers. Maddison, despite playing more minutes and making more appearances than his attacking counterparts, only plied his trade in England’s second-tier last term and has never been exposed to European football.

Mount on the other hand made a significant impact in both domestic and continental competitions during his time with Vitesse in the Eredivisie last campaign. Vitas were unable make it out of the Europa League group stages, but Mount was given room to pit his wits against the likes of Lazio and Nice.

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Meanwhile, Sancho has been experiencing the fiercely competitive nature of Germany’s Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund, while also featuring in club football’s premier knockout tournament: the Champions League. He may have played significantly less minutes, but he his showcasing his worth among the very best in the business, though he has only played two matches to date in Europe, and they were hardly against elite opposition: Club Brugge and a struggling Monaco.

Verdict: Mount 


Chances created: Maddison (139), Mount (119), Sancho (36)
Chances created from open play: 128 – 107 – 36
Assists: 10 – 11 – 11

Of the 49 goals Norwich City netted last season, Maddison was involved in 22 of them, meaning the Canaries’ former talisman played a part in 44.9% of the club’s scoring – he also created more than double the amount of chances than any of his team-mates (124 at 3.1 per 90). And already this season, the 21-year-old is making similar noise at the King Power Stadium, with no Foxes player creating more chances than Maddison (15 at 2.1 per 90 minutes).

Mount was by far Vitesse’s top architect last campaign, with no player creating more chances in the league (79 at 2.9 per 90) than him, and he has now carried that scintillating form over to Pride Park, with no Derby County player coming close to creating more chances than Mount (28 at 2.4 per 90).

Looking at Sancho, the talented tyro is making serious waves in the creativity department. He is already the top assist-maker across Europe’s top five divisions this season despite making just one start in the Bundesliga; and he has also created more league chances than any Dortmund player this season (13 at 5.4 per 90), again despite playing fewer minutes than any of the club’s attacking midfielders.

Predominantly utilised on the wing, Sancho uses his rapid acceleration and close control to glide past players with a unwavering ease, but given his innate footballing intelligence and exceptional technique, Sancho’s best game could yet be through the middle.

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Verdict: Sancho

Goal Threat

Total Shots: Maddison (132), Mount (123), Sancho (12)  
Shot Accuracy: 28% – 34% – 42%
Conversion Rate: 13% – 14% – 17%
Goals: 17 – 17 – 2  

Maddison was the only player to reach double digits for Norwich last season (14), and he forged a formidable reputation in the Championship for his dead-ball expertise; already this season, the Coventry-born midfielder has demonstrated his polished free-kick taking ability.

The 21-year-old is Leicester’s joint-top goalscorer this term with three goals, and he has also taken on the joint-most shots as well, with 17 at 2.4 per 90 minutes.

Mount fired home 14 league goals last season for Vitesse, and much like Maddison, he is also his current club’s joint-top goalscorer with three goals this campaign. The teenager further tops Derby’s chart for most shots taken (38 at 3.2 per 90).

Meanwhile Sancho only offers 0.2 shots per 90 minutes, taking just two this season, which shows the incisive winger is far more a provider rather than a goalscorer.

Mount and Maddison are very similar in this department, but when we look closer at the details, differences emerge. Of Mount’s 38 shots this season, 19 have come from outside the box, and 19 within the penalty area, while Maddison has taken just four inside the box.

This shows that Mount has a propensity to surge into the area with a poacher’s instinct, while also being able to unleash thunderbolts from outside the area; very Lampard-esque, and how apt, given his current mentor.

It is, however, hard to look past Maddison who has started the season like a house on fire, and given the opposition he has faced, and his Championship track record, the Leicester City man will likely shine in the goalscoring department this term.

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Verdict: Maddison

Final verdict

These are three undoubtedly talented youngsters who all have exceptionally bright futures in the game, and England fans should be brimming with excitement at the possibility of having some real attacking venom and impetus injected into the side for years to come.

All three clearly have a deep affiliation with the No.10, but considering age, gametime and current division, there is only one player who stands out as a tailor-made playmaker capable of fluidly slotting into Southgate’s starting XI: Maddison.

He is already indispensable to his Premier League club and plays the role exceptionally well for Leicester City; there is no reason why he should not be able to replicate his club form at international level.

Having said that, Sancho could eclipse Maddison for the No.10 role should Southgate look to convert the winger as he has done in the past a la Sterling, and given his age, he will only keep improving.

The post Maddison vs Mount vs Sancho: how do England’s trio of wannabe No.10s compare? appeared first on Squawka News.

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