England’s Elite: Best English Football Players in 2024

Josip Brajkovic
Josip Brajkovic
Published: 13. ožujka 2024.

Boasting the most popular league in the world, as well as the title of the original bestower of football, England is still perhaps the most football-crazed nation. A dive into the country’s football pyramid makes a strong claim for that alone. So the honour of being labelled one of the best English football players in 2024 remains a feat for the very best.

Same as for our roundup of the best Italian and the best German footballers, we are taking into account only active players. Valuing their entire career with the most recent seasons holding added weight.

More precisely, we’re looking at titles and trophies won, individual awards, goals and assists, advanced stats, and general value to the teams they represented.

#10 Declan Rice (Arsenal) - DM, 25

Declan Rice

Edging out the more hyped Marcus Rashford and the most expensive English player ever Jack Grealish to make it into the top 10 of England's best players. Yet all the noise from both sides of Manchester can be tamed by asking a simple question of who would you rather have in your team? Rice is the tendon of both Arsenal and England's national team, at the age of 25.

After captaining West Ham and getting 28 goal involvements in 245 games and a Conference League trophy, Rice changed clubs but not the city. At Arsenal, he is even improving on his goalscoring and creating skils, with six goals and seven assists in 38 games of a mighty AFC. Starting with a Community Shield. For England, the defensive midfielder has 48 games and three goals. As a thankful leader, Rice is only bound to rise on this list.

#9 Raheem Sterling (Chelsea) - RW, 29

Raheem Sterling

Having represented Liverpool, Manchester City, and now Chelsea, Raheem Sterling is clearly doing a lot of things right. Numbers support this, with 133 assists and 171 goals in 543 club games. Additionally, the winger has represented England 81 times, scoring 20 goals and making 27 assists!

Besides being England's Player of the Year in 2019, Sterling won trophies, albeit all with Man City. A champion of England four times, a five-time League Cup winner, an FA Cup winner, and a Community Shield winner. Sterling is less impactful at CFC but that is the syndrome of the entire club.

#8 Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) - RW, 22

Bukayo Saka

It's hard not to include Bukyao Saka as one of the best English players active right now when he already received the award for the best player in the country twice! For the 2022/2023 season and the one prior. Saka's numbers for Arsenal are also worth the inclusion - 54 goals and 55 assists in 215 games! As a 22-year-old. The trophies aren't missing either, albeit minor ones. Yet the FA Cup and two Community Shields triumphs are something the AFC is building on with Saka as a key player.

With 11 goals and eight assists in 32 games for England, Bukayo is the future for both country and club.

#7 Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) - RB, 25

Trent Alexander-Arnold

With 100 goal involvements (18 goals, 82 assists) in his 302 appearances for Liverpool as a right-back, Trent Alexander-Arnold is a one-of-a-kind player. LFC's youth product has been a part of all the triumphs in the latest era - Premier League, Champions League, UEFA Supercup, FIFA Club World Cup, FA Cup, two League Cups, and a Community Shield!

Trent is placed this "low" on the list of the 10 best English players primarily because at the age of 25, he has collected only 23 caps for the national team. Additionally, injuries have hampered the last couple of seasons and his output dropped.

#6 Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), CM, 33

Jordan Henderson

Football historians will be baffled by the fact that Steven Gerard never lifted the Premier League title as a captain, while Jordan Henderson did. While the younger Englishman never had the talent and well-roundedness of Stevie G, he was the mortar in the house Jurgen Klopp had built. Actually, he was named Player of the Season for the campaign that broke the 30-year-old curse. Besides the PL, the central midfielder also won the Champions League, UEFA Supercup, FIFA Club World Cup, FA Cup, two League Cups, and a Community Shield.

Playing 81 games for England, 492 matches for LFC, 79 for Sunderland, and now representing Dutch giants Ajax. Winning England's Player of the Year in 2019. Not bad for a player who was skipped by Manchester United as he "runs through his knees, not hips."

#5 Phil Foden (Manchester City) - RW, 23

Phil Foden

At the Etihad, Pep Guardiola reserved special praise only for Phil Foden. Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan, and even Kevin De Bruyne never received the superlatives the winger got. As the Spanish tactician foresaw the highest ceiling for the City's academy product. While he hasn't reached quite the Leo Messi level that Guardiola insinuated at (who has?), Foden has produced for City. Collecting a host of trophies, five PL titles, one CL, four League Cups, two FA Cups, two Community Shields, UEFA Supercup, and FIFA Club World Cup.

His goal-involvement ratio is better than it seems at first, as Foden rarely played the full 90 minutes. So his 78 goals and 51 assists in 258 games for City have to be looked through a lens of the average minutes spent on the pitch - only 60. Yet a goal involvement every 121.4 minutes isn't the result to be proudest of in a high-scoring squad like City. The soon-to-be 24-year-old has 12 goal involvements in 31 matches for England too.

#4 Kyle Walker (Manchester City) - RB, 33

Kyle Walker

In a country that is often criticized from the outside for over-hyping its young talents, Kyle Walker emerged as one of the nation's best without that bright beam of the highest expectations laid on top of him. A mere speedy full-back became a perpetual champion. With five PL titles, one CL trophy, four League Cups, two FA Cups, two Community Shields, one UEFA Supercup, and the FIFA Club World Cup won.

The 33-year-old represented Spurs 227 times before switching to City and making 291 appearances. While his direct output hasn't been on the level of some other compatriots in the same position, with 41 assists total for these two biggest clubs he represented, Walker managed to get 81 caps for England. Serving 10 assists for his NT colleagues.

#3 Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid) - AM, 20

Jude Bellingham

Even though he is only 20, few would argue for putting Jude Bellingham so high. If anything, he could make a case for the second-best English player. He is certainly gunning for the number one spot and seemingly nothing is going to stop him, albeit an injury. While quite young, Bellingham already has over 200 senior club games, and 27 caps for England. With seven goal involvements for the Three Lions.

Bellingham carried Borussia Dortmund's lately follied title run in the 2022/2023 campaign. In his 132 games for BVB, he scored 24 goals and assisted 25. Leaving Westfalen with one German Cup trophy and one Player of the Year award from the club. He is bound to get one in his debut season for Real Madrid following his €103,000,000 transfer as he scored 20 and assisted nine in his first 31 games for the Spanish giants. Winning the Spanish Supercup already.

#2 John Stones (Manchester City) - CB, 29

John Stones

Few would have predicted it, even after his 2016 €55,600,000 move from Everton to Manchester City, let alone after his first couple of seasons at the Etihad. Yet John Stones is a staple among the rankings of the league's and the world's best defenders. He is one of the players who marked the 2022/2023 treble-winning season for Manchester City. Being Pep Guardiola's tactical special force unit and doing more than he ever expected as a CB.

Five times already the 29-year-old has lifted the PL trophy, with four League Cups, two FA Cups, the Champions League trophy, two Community Shields, one UEFA Supercup, and the Club World Cup. Through playing in 374 games for Everton, City (251), Barnsley, and England (69) Stones became a prototype of a modern centre-back.

#1 Harry Kane (Bayern Munich) - CF, 30

Harry Kane

Even without a trophy, Harry Kane simply has to be considered the best English player overall. The striker has been the best of the country for certainly five years and more too.

Kane was named England's Player of the Year twice, for the 2016/2017 and the following season. Surprisingly, he was THFC's Player of the Year only three times. The same number of Premier League Golden Boots awards he received. In the 2020/2021 season, he topped the charts for both assists and goals. In 2018, at the Russia World Cup, he was the Golden Boot scorer too!

Kane, aged 30, left the country when he was heading for the number one spot on the Premier League's all-time goalscoring list. So far stopping at 213 goals, second behind Alan Shearer's 260 goals. On international duty, the captain of England scored 62 goals and made 19 assists in 89 matches.

His overall gameplay is what separates him as the best English player, not only a goalscorer, with 280 bagged for Spurs, he added an enviable assist-record of 64 passes for his teammates to score. His link-up play was equally lauded as his finishing by the time Bayern Munich came knocking. Now, Kane is looking to lose a title with FCB as well, yet his personal record of 36 goals and 11 assists in 34 matches suggests he is not the culprit, but the victim here. After a €100,000,000 move that still seems like a steal for the Bavarians.

However, the surprising and note-worthy development that two of the top three English footballers are not playing in the Premier League has to be fully noted.


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