Over the years, there have been some star-studded England national teams, with some world-class players featuring for the Three Lions. It's no surprise, with the Premier League being the biggest league in the world, and football originating in England that there are plenty of quality players from the country who excel.
With that being said, England's men's team haven't won anything of note since the 1966 World Cup. Despite the amount of talent available to the team over the years, they've failed to ever really live up to expectations. Looking at a list of players who had the chance to play for the country, but eventually turned it down, things could have been a little different.
Would some of these guys have made the difference between failure and success? No one knows, but it's an interesting question to ponder anyway. Here is an entire XI of current footballers who could have played for England, but ultimately chose not to.
GK: Kasper Schmeichel (Denmark)
Considering who his father is, it would have felt wrong for Kasper Schmeichel to play for any country other than Denmark, but there was a chance he could have turned out for the Three Lions instead. Son of legendary shot-stopper Peter Schmeichel, the former Leicester City man spent the majority of his life in England but was born in Copenhagen.
Early on, his decision to play for Denmark over England didn't really hurt Three Lions fans too much, but over the years, he emerged as a top-level keeper in the Premier League and would have likely gotten into the team over the options available at that time.
RB: Matty Cash (Poland)
With the incredible depth at right-back in the England setup, you can hardly blame Matty Cash for looking elsewhere and that's exactly what he did. The Aston Villa man was eligible for the Poland national team due to his grandparents being from the country, and he made himself available for selection in 2021. He wasted no time before making his debut for the country later that year. He's since earned 12 caps for them, clearly the right call.
CB: Ethan Pinnock (Jamaica)
Similarly to Cash, it's hard to imagine Ethan Pinnock was ever in with a chance at making the Three Lions team, so it's not surprising to see him declare himself eligible for Jamaica. The centre-back likely wouldn't have gotten into the England setup ahead of the likes of John Stones, Fikayo Tomori and more, so this made a tonne of sense. Eligible for the country due to his dad's nationality, Pinnock has played six times for Jamaica since making his debut in 2021.
CB: Chris Mepham (Wales)
There seems to be a trend throughout this backline and it's players who likely wouldn't have ever been called up to the England team. Chris Mepham has been a serviceable defender in the Premier League, but never realistically stood a chance of making it into the Three Lions squad.
The defender was eligible to play for Wales through his grandmother's nationality on his father's side and was first called up to the U20 side in 2017. He's since made 40 appearances for the Welsh national team and has become a stalwart at the heart of their defence.
LB: Antonee Robinson (United States)
Born and raised in England, Antonee Robinson was eligible to play for the United States due to his father being raised in New York, and he made himself available to the country from a young age. The Fulham defender played for the country's U18 team back in 2014, but it wasn't until 2018 that he made his full debut for the first team.
Since then, he's played 36 times and scored two goals for the team. Interestingly though, due to his grandmother's nationality, he was also eligible to play for the Jamaica national team too.
CM: Scott McTominay (Scotland)
Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay has received a lot of scrutiny and criticism over the years, with fans deeming him not quite good enough to represent the club on a regular basis. He's been a fine enough servant for the side, though, and we could have seen him in the England setup as well.
Despite being born in Lancaster, England, the 26-year-old was deemed eligible to play for Scotland due to his father being from Helensburgh, so that's exactly what he did. After initially turning down the chance to play for the side due to his intention to focus on playing for United, he eventually had a change of heart and made his debut in 2018. McTominay has played 41 games so far for the country and even got to play in a major tournament with them at Euro 2020.
CM: Yunus Musah (United States)
Yunus Musah actually played for England at numerous different youth levels, including U18, before he decided to make the switch and play for the United States in 2020. Having been born in the country, he chose to represent them, despite also being eligible for the Three Lions and has since made 27 appearances for his national team.
One of the brightest young midfielders in the world, this is a decision that England fans may look on sourly in the future. The 20-year-old was a standout performer for Valencia in La Liga for three years before he was snapped up by AC Milan earlier this summer.
RW: Jamal Musiala (Germany)
We've reached the truly gutwrenching portion of the team now, as Jamal Musiala was very much in line to play for England at one point, but decided to play for Germany instead. Born in Germany, the forward was raised in London and spent the majority of his youth career in the Chelsea academy. He played for England's U15, U16, U17 and U21 sides, but left Stamford Bridge for Bayern Munich in 2019, and it wasn't long before he decided to switch national teams and make himself available for the Germany senior side.
He made his debut in 2021 and has played 23 games for his country. He has emerged as one of the best young forwards in the world right now and seems destined for big things in the future, so this one has to sting for England fans who could have loved having him in the Three Lions setup.
LW: Giovanni Reyna (United States)
Another young exciting prospect who could have played for England, but chose not to is Giovanni Reyna, who instead opted to play for the United States. Born in Sunderland to American parents as his father, Claudio Reyna, played for the Black Cats at the time, the 20-year-old eventually moved to the States once his dad joined the New York Red Bulls and then spent the majority of his upbringing in the Big Apple.
It was clear where his intentions lay early on and he has played for the United States at U15, U16 and U17 level before making his senior debut in 2020. The forward has been among a generation of exciting young talent emerging for the side, and has played 20 games so far for his country, scoring four goals. With a promising future ahead of him, England wouldn't have minded having a player with his talent available if needs be.
ST: Evan Ferguson (Republic of Ireland)
It's still very early days, but seeing Evan Ferguson choose to play for the Republic of Ireland when he had the option to play for England already looks like a huge blow for the Three Lions. The 18-year-old has bags of potential and already looks like he's on track to be one of the best strikers in football in the near future.
With Harry Kane edging closer to his twilight years, England would have loved having another natural goalscorer like Ferguson take his place, but to be fair to the Brighton & Hove Albion man, his choice is completely understandable. Born and raised in Bettystown to an Irish father and an English mother, the forward was eligible for both countries, but considering his upbringing, it made sense for him to choose Ireland. An Irishman at heart, he probably couldn't ever bring himself to wear the Three Lions shirt.
ST: Erling Haaland (Norway)
Look away now, England fans, this one hurts, a lot. Erling Haaland has quickly emerged as the greatest striker of his generation and possibly one of the greatest of all time. The Manchester City forward has been scoring at an unheard-of rate since he burst onto the scene at RB Salzburg several years ago and no matter where he goes, the goals seem to follow.
After just one season in the Premier League, the former Borussia Dortmund man smashed the record for most goals in a season and hasn't shown any signs of slowing down in his sophomore campaign. The fact he could have played for England is a painful revelation for Three Lions fans, especially considering he chose not to. Born in Leeds, Haaland is the son of Alfie Haaland a former Norwegian international and spent large portions of his early life in England as his dad turned out for Leeds United and City.
He moved back to Norway, though, at the age of three and was raised there. This led to him making the decision to play for the country at every single youth level and eventually, the senior team, where he's played 25 games, and in true Haaland fashion, scored 24 goals. Just imagine this man in a team with the likes of Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden, Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka. Wow.