It would be a remarkable story if Jamaal Lascelles did make the plane to Russia.
He has had an excellent season with his own form and inspiring those around him.
A little bit bizarre to look back and think Newcastle kicked off the season with Lascelles on the bench, with Clark and Lejeune having impressed in pre-season.
Jamaal Lascelles is rapidly improving but has still only got 34 Premier League career starts to his name.
Yet to get a call, on Thursday Gareth Southgate names his latest squad for the friendlies against Italy and Holland, so can this be the breakthrough moment for the Newcastle Captain?
Sky Sports have been analysing the possibilities for the final England squad to Russia and yesterday they covered goalkeepers, today it is defenders.
As part of their analysis they have used this stats table:
As you can see, according to these Sky Sports stats, Jamaal Lascelles has been the seventh best performing English defender, with five centre-backs amongst those scoring highest.
I think the most striking thing, is that these stats back up the popular view that there are no stand out performers at centre-back in the Premier League who you would say deserve to be nailed on.
Apart from Smalling, all of those ahead of Lascelles in these stats play for clubs outside the usual top six that provide most of the players for the England squad.
The Burnley pair Mee and Tarkowski have been outstanding this season in an outstanding effort by Burnley overall – but do they give a better case than Jamaal Lascelles?
The 2018 World Cup Finals are now only three months away and this is the last squad to be named before the end of the league season.
Excellent once again against Southampton on Saturday, you have to feel that on form Lascelles definitely deserves to be considered.
Sky Sports analysis on the England defenders vying for Russia:
Southgate called up no fewer than 12 defenders (Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Michael Keane, Joe Gomez, John Stones, Ryan Bertrand, Fabian Delph, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young, Kieran Trippier) for England’s games with Germany and Brazil in November. It was a new-look squad, with Manchester United’s Chris Smalling the most high-profile omission.
Southgate said Smalling was not good enough on the ball for the style of play he intended to implement and gave Gomez his first call-up instead. The Liverpool man has been used at right-back by his club, but Southgate insisted he primarily sees him as a centre-back.
Reports suggest Southgate could call on James Tarkowski. The 25-year-old has helped Burnley keep one of the best defensive records in the Premier League this season. According to the Sky Sports Power Rankings, he is the second-best performing English defender in the division after Walker.
His Burnley team-mate Ben Mee, Brighton’s Lewis Dunk and Newcastle’s Jamaal Lascelles also feature highly in those rankings.
The centre-backs most likely (according to the bookies) to get called up are Stones (1/8), Cahill (1/5), Maguire (5/9) and Jones (8/13). Smalling’s chances are rated at 10/11, with Keane at 15/8, Tarkowski at 7/2 and Lascelles at 9/1.