The 2022 Qatar World Cup will see the very best players from across the planet compete for the ultimate footballing prize. Most of the big stars from top leagues, such as La Liga, Ligue 1, the Bundesliga, Serie A and, of course, the Premier League, will all be involved as they swap their club shirts for their national shirt.
As is normal for any modern World Cup, there will be a particularly strong Premier League contingent present, with 134 players from England’s top division having been called up to represent their country.
Premier League Teams with Most Players at the World Cup
We will first focus on the five Premier League teams that have the largest presence at the World Cup before giving a quick look at the rest of the pack.
Manchester City – 16
Rather unsurprisingly, it is reigning champions Manchester City who boast the largest Premier League representation at the World Cup. In total, there are 16 Citizens that have made their way to Qatar and most are likely to get some decent minutes on the pitch. One interesting point about City’s list is how several of their players have been selected, despite a lack of playing time at club level this season.
Kyle Walker, who has not played since early October due to injury, was called up by Gareth Southgate, as was Kalvin Phillips who has played just 53 minutes of club football this season. A few other names from Pep Guardiola’s side, such as Julian Alvarez and Jack Grealish, have been far from first-choice options too with other teammates preferred ahead of them. If nothing else, this merely demonstrates how much talent there is in the City squad, even their rotational options from big nations still get called up for international duty.
Sadly, there will be no Erling Haaland featuring in Qatar. Having scored an incredible 23 goals in 18 appearances for City it would have been very entertaining to see how he could perform on the biggest stage possible. With their star absent for four of the 10 qualifying matches, Norway could only finish third in the qualification group, largely due to a lack of goals (with only seven goals scored in the eight matches played not involving Gibraltar).
|England||Kyle Walker, John Stones, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Kalvin Phillips|
|Portugal||Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva|
|Spain||Rodri, Aymeric Laporte|
|Belgium||Kevin De Bruyne|
Manchester United – 14
Local rivals, Manchester United, are next in line with a very large contingent of 14 players having been brought along to Qatar, although Cristiano Ronaldo may find he is not a United player upon his return. Only four clubs in world football have a higher total than this, City as mentioned above plus Bayern (17 if including the injured Sadio Mane who was called up then withdrew due to injury), Barcelona (16) and Juventus (16). Raphael Varane was a major doubt having picked up an injury against Chelsea in October, one that saw him leave the pitch in tears.
Presumably, the tears were because he thought his World Cup involvement was over but the 87-time capped man has a real chance of featuring, even if he has to miss the first match. Varane has largely been keeping teammate Harry Maguire out of the Man United starting line-up but this did not stop the Sheffield-born defender getting his England call-up. Due to a lack of club minutes, and poor form before that which saw him dropped, there have been some calls for Southgate to drop him from the England line-up too.
There were no major surprises in the United call ups although Marcus Rashford was one man few would have predicted would go to Qatar a few months ago. His quick turnaround in form under Erik Ten Hag could see the 25 year old play in his first England game since the Euro 2020 final. He may return to Manchester a hero, unlike Cristiano Ronaldo who will very much be a villain should he be allowed to come back following his highly critical interview with Piers Morgan. You do have to wonder what his teammates Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Dalot feel about the whole incident.
|Brazil||Casemiro, Fred, Antony|
|England||Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Marcus Rashford|
|Portugal||Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Diogo Dalot|
Chelsea – 12
Even with Conor Gallagher’s surprise call-up to the England side, Chelsea could have easily had more players going to the World Cup than the 12 they have. Ben Chilwell was definitively ruled out a couple of weeks before the squads were finalised with a hamstring injury collected during a Champions League encounter. Fellow full-back, Reece James, picked up an injury the following week but there was some faint hope he might recover in time. Despite willing to push his body through the pain barrier to play, Gareth Southgate said he could not pick a player that would, in the very best case scenario, only be fit for the knockout stages.
There is also former World Cup winner N’Golo Kante who had his hopes of claiming another medal dashed back in October when having to undergo surgery on his hamstring. Had it not been for this, you would have to think the 53-time capped workhorse would have been one of the names in Didier Deschamps’ side. It is was not all bad news for the Chelsea players though. Despite being 38 years old now, there was still a place for Thiago Silva in the Brazil team and he’ll likely start for the Selecao too. There are seven players at the World Cup even older than him, Mexico’s Alfredo Talavera (40) being the oldest.
Chelsea may be providing the World Cup with a top veteran defender but they are not supplying the competition with any in-form attackers. As with last season, the Blues’ strikeforce have struggled for goals even following the mid-season change of manager. Raheem Sterling has a very modest five goals in all competitions and even this total is more than the likes of Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic have managed.
|England||Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling, Conor Gallagher|
|Senegal||Edouard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly|
Tottenham – 11
Narrowly trailing Chelsea are one of their London rivals and fellow ‘Big Six’ side, Tottenham. The bulk of the Spurs contingent are very likely starters for their country so there might be lots of tired legs heading back to north London in November. The only player that would be surprised not to feature much is Eric Dier but even he has a genuine shot of starting if Southgate opts for five at the back. Elsewhere, all the Tottenham internationals are important players to the team, if not absolutely integral.
As well as supplying England with their second highest all-time top goalscorer and current captain Harry Kane, French skipper Hugo Lloris and national icon Son Heung-Min are both Tottenham stars. There was some danger Son would have to miss this tournament due to a recent facial injury but successful surgery combined with a mask means he can be involved. It would not be unfair to say that what little hopes South Korea do have in Qatar would have vanished in their captain was not able to take part.
Richarlison was another hit with a World Cup injury scare but he was able to recover in sufficient time to play the final two Tottenham fixtures before the international break. Despite struggling to find the net at club level, the ex-Everton man has been in tremendous form for his country of late. One name many of you are unlikely to recognise below is Pape Matar Sarr. The young midfielder is yet to play a single minute for Spurs but he did enjoy a very successful year at Metz last season.
|England||Harry Kane, Eric Dier|
|Senegal||Pape Matar Sarr|
|South Korea||Heung Min Son|
Arsenal – 10
The only remaining Premier League side with a double-digit World Cup contingent is another London outfit, this time in the form of Arsenal. They had a trio of contenders to feature in the Brazil squad, the three Gabriels but only Jesus and Martinelli made it with Magalhaes, missing out. There was no such disappointment for fellow centre back, William Saliba who has been in outstanding form this season, a huge reason why the Gunners sit top of the table as things stand. While he has been deservedly called up, he is far from a guaranteed starter despite the injury to Presnel Kimpembe, such is the talent in the France squad.
Aaron Ramsdale is unlikely to get the nod in goal for England but the versatile Ben White could well be involved in some capacity. Bukayo Saka is the most likely Arsenal man to get minutes for the Three Lions though as he has been such a consistent perform under Gareth Southgate. Matt Turner, Thomas Parety, Granit Xhaka and Takehiro Tomiyasu are all also likely to enjoy plenty of time on the pitch in Qatar.
This only leaves Gabriel Jesus who has definitely thrived since swapping the blue of Man City for the Red of Arsenal. While his build-up play and movement has been excellent, his finishing ability remains his big weakness. That lack of a clinical touch upfront means he will likely watch most of the action from the bench.
|England||Aaron Ramsdale, Bukayo Saka, Ben White|
|Brazil||Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli|
Despite four consecutive top-three league finishes, Liverpool have a surprisingly low number of players at the 2022 World Cup. They have just the seven involved, of which four feature in very few predicted stating elevens. Jordan Henderson, Trent-Alexander Arnold, Ibrahima Konate and Fabinho are all just squad options rather than regulars for the national team. This leaves the Reds with just Alisson, Virgil van Dijk and Darwin Nunez likely to play lots of the action in Qatar.
Jurgen Klopp certainly will not mind this one bit as his it means his struggling Reds will be much fresher than their rivals when the Premier League season resumes on Boxing Day. Brighton have more to worry about than the Reds with eight players involved although they are likely to avoid too many issues. Some of their players are merely back-ups while others play for countries that may struggle to advance from the group stages.
At the very bottom end of the bottom, Southampton, Crystal Palace and Bournemouth only have two names each at the World Cup. Both players from the latter two are likely to feature but the same cannot be said for Southampton as Armel Bella-Kotchap is very much a back-up option for Germany. Mohammed Salisu, only has one more international cap (3) but he only recently changed allegiances to Ghana and is a genuine contender to start in the heart of defence.
|Brighton||8||Alexis Mac Allister (Argentina), Leandro Trossard (Belgium), Moises Caicedo, Pervis Estupinan, Jeremy Sarmiento (Ecuador), Tariq Lamptey (Ghana), Kaoru Mitoma (Japan), Robert Sanchez (Spain)|
|Leicester||7||James Maddison (England), Youri Tielemans, Timothy Castagne, Wout Faes (Belgium), Danny Ward (Wales), Nampalys Mendy (Senegal), Danny Ward (Wales)|
|Liverpool||7||Alisson, Fabinho (Brazil), Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold (England), Ibrahima Konate (France), Virgil Van Dijk (Netherlands), Darwin Nunez (Uruguay)|
|Brentford||6||Bryan Mbeumo (Cameroon), Mathias Jensen, Mikkel Damsgaard, Christian Norgaard (Denmark), Saman Ghoddos (Iran), David Raya (Spain)|
|Fulham||6||Joao Palhinha (Portugal), Aleksandar Mitrovic (Serbia), Antonee Robinson, Tim Ream (USA), Harry Wilson, Dan James (Wales)|
|Newcastle||5||Bruno Guimaraes (Brazil), Nick Pope, Kieran Trippier, Callum Wilson (England), Fabian Schar (Switzerland)|
|Nottingham Forest||5||Cheikhou Koyate (Senegal), Remo Freuler (Switzerland), Wayne Hennessey, Neco Williams, Brennan Johnson (Wales)|
|West Ham||5||Lucas Paqueta (Brazil), Declan Rice (England), Alphonse Areola (France), Thilo Kehrer (Germany), Nayef Aguerd (Morocco)|
|Wolves||5||Raul Jimenez (Mexico), Ruben Neves, Matheus Nunes, Jose Sa (Portugal), Hwang Hee-chan (South Korea)|
|Aston Villa||4||Emiliano Martinez (Argentina), Leander Dendoncker (Belgium), Jan Bednarek, Matty Cash (Poland)|
|Everton||4||Amadou Onana (Belgium), Jordan Pickford, Conor Coady (England), Idrissa Gueye (Senegal)|
|Leeds||3||Rasmus Kristensen (Denmark), Brenden Aaronson, Tyler Adams (USA)|
|Bournemouth||2||Chris Mepham, Kieffer Moore (Wales)|
|Crystal Palace||2||Joachim Andersen (Denmark), Jordan Ayew (Ghana)|
|Southampton||2||Armel Bella-Kotchap (Germany), Mohammed Salisu (Ghana)|