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England’s forgotten XI of stars who couldn’t remember played for Three Lions including Jack Cork and Lewis Cook

ONE THOUSAND, two hundred and seventy-one players have turned out for England… some will be remembered for a life time while others easily slip the mind.

England teams have largely been picked based on reputation, but on the odd occasion, form and a player’s projected future can also influence a call-up.

An England XI of ‘forgotten’ stars
Southgate has tried to balance out his selections based on reputation and form

Under current Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate, he has picked his teams based on a mixture of reputation and merit.

For example, England midfield mainstay Kalvin Phillips made his England debut before turning out for the first time in the Premier League.

The now Manchester City ace joined a small club of players to play for their country while playing below the top flight.

But such risks haven’t always paid off, with a number of footie stars failing to make an impact on the international stage.

Some England aces have a handful of caps, or less, to their name.

That shouldn’t take away from their tremendous achievement, though.

Nonetheless, they fall into the category of England players you may have forgot turned out for their country.

SunSport takes a look at an XI of forgotten Three Lions stars with the World Cup around the corner.


Alex McCarthy

The Southampton goalkeeper has always been regarded as one of the Prem’s consistent shot-stoppers.

And it was at the South Coast club where McCarthy earned his first England cap.

McCarthy’s debut came in 2018 in the 3-0 win over the USA, playing 45 minutes.

However, his chances of claiming more caps are slim with the likes of Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale, Nick Pope and Dean Henderson all ahead of him in the pecking order.

McCarthy played just once for England

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Utility man Ainsley Maitland-Niles played for England five times.

The ex-Arsenal, now Southampton ace, made his Three Lions debut in 2020 in the Nations League against Denmark.

England lost the game and Maitland-Niles played just 36 minutes.

Maitland-Niles coming on as a sub against Denmark, replacing Trent Alexander-Arnold

Lewis Dunk

Brighton’s Lewis Dunk is the only man on this list who’s close to a return to the England set-up.

The centre-back is a mainstay in the Seagulls team and is in Southgate’s 55-man pool of players to choose from for the upcoming Qatar World Cup.

Dunk’s one and only cap for his country came in 2018 against the USA, where he started and kept a clean sheet in the 3-0 win.

Dunk turned out for England against USA

Steven Caulker

Not many can say they scored on their England debut. Steven Caulker can.

The ex-Tottenham, QPR, Southampton and Liverpool defender made his debut in 2012.

He scored in the 4-2 loss to Sweden – a game which saw icon Zlatan Ibrahimovic score all four goals, including an outrageous overhead-kick from distance.

Caulker never played for England again.

Caulker scored on his debut in a 4-2 loss to Sweden

Jon Flanagan

Another player who played for England just once.

Jon Flanagan rose through the ranks at Liverpool and gained international recognition in 2014.

The now-retired star could play at both right-back and left-back.

He played against Ecuador in a 2-2 draw, playing 27 minutes in total.

Flanagan played for Liverpool while turning out for England

Jack Cork

Midfield lynchpin Jack Cork earned his first cap after switching from Swansea to Burnley.

Cork played four minutes in the 0-0 draw with Germany in 2017.

He now plays in the Championship and is still turning out for Burnley, where he is the club captain.

Burnley regular Cork played against Germany

Lewis Cook

A once up-and-coming midfielder.

Lewis Cook’s career got off to a flyer at Leeds before earning a big money move to AFC Bournemouth.

It was at the South Coast club where he made his debut for England.

He played 20 minutes in a 1-1 draw with Italy in 2018.

Cook, now 25, is a regular for Bournemouth in the top flight.

Cook took on Italy in his only Three Lions appearance

Nathaniel Chalobah

Chelsea had high hopes for Nathaniel Chalobah.

But the midfielder failed to live up to expectations and spent most of his professional career on loan in England and in Italy.

Chalobah did manage to earn an England call-up while playing for Watford, though.

His only senior cap came in the 3-2 win against Spain in 2018.

However, he only managed a minute on the pitch.

Younger brother Trevoh is enjoying greater success at Chelsea.

Although, he is yet to play for England.

Chalobah managed one minute in a 3-2 win over Spain

Matt Jarvis

Known for his blistering speed, Matt Jarvis earned rave reviews at Gillingham before tearing it up at Wolves.

It was at the Midlands club where he was handed his England debut against Ghana in 2011.

He then went on to join West Ham in 2012, but he struggled to live up to price tags.

Jarvis then had a number of loan spells before dropping down the divisions and retiring in 2021.

Jarvis earned international recognition at Wolves

Andros Townsend

The most accomplished of the “forgotten” team.

Andros Townsend made his England debut in 2013, where he scored in the 4-1 win over Montenegro.

Ex-Tottenham ace Townsend went on to play a further 12 times for the Three Lions, adding another two goals to the one he scored on his debut.

He is at Everton, however, his contract is due to expire next summer.

Townsend scored three in 13 games for England

Dominic Solanke

Dominic Solanke won’t have given up on an England career, to be clear.

The striker is still just 25 years old.

Solanke was handed an England debut in 2017 in a draw with Brazil.

He was called up after switching Chelsea for Liverpool.

A call-up which could be put down to his predicted carer trajectory.

A young Solanke was called up following a move to Liverpool from Chelsea

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