Carrying on my mini-series looking at the best English players in the Championship, League One and League Two, and who would be in the England squad if it was just selected from each of those leagues, this is who I would pick for the squad from League One and why:
Alex Cairns (Fleetwood Town) – Cairns is a goalkeeper who I rate very highly, and he was a big part of Fleetwood’s successful first season under Joey Barton’s management, and I think he would be a good option in goal for England.
Josh Vickers (Lincoln City) – Another excellent keeper who has been instrumental in the Imps’ rise from the National League to League One, and therefore another player who should be called up to play in the national side.
Lee Nicholls (MK Dons) – A goalkeeper who wouldn’t necessarily start, but would be a solid backup option. Paul Tisdale has tried to build his MK side to have a strong defensive attitude, and Nicholls is a big part of that.
Lee Burge (Sunderland) – Perhaps a surprise name on the list, but I thought against Accrington Stanley last Saturday, he was brilliant in goal, and made some really good saves. He also has plenty of experience, having played for Coventry between 2011 and 2019, so that will help as well.
John Brayford (Burton Albion) – Brayford is a well-travelled right-back, having played under current Brewers boss Nigel Clough at Burton, Derby, Sheffield United, and now back at Burton again, as well as having a spell at Cardiff City in the middle of them too. He would be a good player to start at right-back for England.
Danny Andrew (Fleetwood Town) – Andrew is a brilliant attacking left-back who gets up and down the pitch with ease. He is not afraid to take shots from distance, and would add a lot of different options to the England side with his ability.
Jordan Moore-Taylor (MK Dons) – The centre-back followed former Exeter boss Paul Tisdale to the Dons in 2018, and is a good, strong defender who is left-sided and can play as a left-back as well as a centre-back, which is his preferred position. He is a leader too, having been Tisdale’s captain at Exeter, which is another reason the MK Dons manager was so keen to bring him with him to Milton Keynes.
Rob Dickie (Oxford United) – Dickie is one of the best defenders in the league, and has been a huge part of Oxford’s rise under Karl Robinson. He clears balls from the box, and would be a good option to start at the centre of defence.
Lee Brown (Portsmouth) – He is a player who has made the Pompey left-back slot his own, and is a good crosser of the ball. He would be a good back-up option, with potential to start a few England matches as well.
Michael Ihiekwe (Rotherham United) – When the Millers lost free-scoring centre-back Semi Ajayi to West Brom over the summer, there were some who feared where their set piece goals would come from. Ihiekwe has provided just that. He is a good defender who would also be useful at corners and free kicks.
Jordan Clark (Accrington Stanley) – Clark is a quick, energetic, talented winger who creates plenty and scores plenty. He is one of the most lethal players in the Accrington team, and should be a contender to start in the national side.
Sean McConville (Accrington Stanley) – Another of Accrington’s attacking players, McConville is capable of playing as a no. 10 or as a left-sided attacker, so adds flexibility to the midfield.
James Coppinger (Doncaster Rovers) – At the ripe old age of 38, Coppinger is a leader for Doncaster, and has played over 500 matches across 16 seasons at Donnie. He is showing no signs of slowing up, though, and his place in the England team is richly deserved.
Kyle Dempsey (Fleetwood Town) – A creative midfielder who plays a little deeper, Dempsey would be a good all-round midfielder to have in the team as he would give you lots of different options for different situations.
Josh Morris (Fleetwood Town) – Anyone who followed Scunthorpe in League One will know how potent Morris is in front of goal. A winger who scored 19 goals in the 2016-2017 season for the Iron after arriving on a free transfer from Blackburn, he will add a lot of quality to the England attack.
Flynn Downes (Ipswich Town) – Perhaps more of a squad player for this England team, Downes was part of Ipswich’s unsuccessful attempt to stave off relegation from the Championship last time out, but is one of the club’s brightest young talents.
Harry Anderson (Lincoln City) – Another name I included sort of at the last minute, after watching him play over last weekend. His goal was well taken, and his ability to play on either wing and also pop up in the box as well will be very useful.
Tarique Fosu (Oxford United) – A player with bags of pace and skill, Fosu is a winger who has the ability to take players on and win duels out wide. This is something different to what is already in the team.
James Henry (Oxford United) – Another winger with goals in him, but Henry is also the designated penalty taker at Oxford, which will help the England team in the event of any penalty shoot-outs.
Marcus Maddison (Peterborough United) – Arguably the League One player of the season so far, and a very creative player. He has featured at the top end of a diamond formation in Darren Ferguson’s Posh side, and is a shoe-in to start.
Marcus Harness (Portsmouth) – A forward who signed for Pompey over the summer from Burton, Harness has made a very good start to his career on the south coast. He can play on either side or down the middle, and creates and scores goals.
Matt Crooks (Rotherham United) – One of the stars of Rotherham’s season so far, Crooks is a controlling midfielder who plays in a deeper role, and breaks moves up before passing forwards. He is one of Rotherham’s best players at the moment, and could well start in this team.
George Dobson (Sunderland) – Signed from Walsall over the summer, Dobson is a young 21-year-old with an impressive pedigree. He has pace and can function in a box-to-box role, so provides different options to what is already in the team.
Harvey Gilmour (Tranmere Rovers) – Gilmour was initially on loan at Rovers but did well to earn a permanent move from Sheffield United. He is a good strong attacking midfielder, but could be a player to come off the bench and get minutes, rather than starting, as there are other players in the squad who are perhaps ahead of him at the moment.
Colby Bishop (Accrington Stanley) – Before this season, Bishop was an unknown player.. He signed for Stanley over the summer, and has scored in nearly every game this season, and really established himself as one to watch in League One this season so far.
Joe Pigott (AFC Wimbledon) – Pigott has been Wimbledon’s target man for a season and a bit now, and last season scored 18 goals last season. He could be a starter or if not then a close contender to start.
Jonson Clarke-Harris (Bristol Rovers) – One of the league’s top strikers at the moment, Clarke-Harris has made a good start to his career with the Gas, after previously impressing with Coventry last season. Maybe not a starter, but could be in line for some minutes.
Lucas Akins (Burton Albion) – His ability to play as a striker or a winger is part of the reason why he has been included. He is a good player who scores and creates goals from the right side of the pitch, which is a good characteristic to have.
Matt Godden (Coventry City) – Signed from Peterborough over the summer to help cover the gap left by Jonson Clarke-Harris’ move to Bristol Rovers, Godden has made a reasonably start to his career with Coventry. He currently has 3 goals in 8 games in the league.
Ashley Hunter (Fleetwood Town) – Another player who tends to play as a right winger, but can still score goals and create problems. He has been one of the standout players for the Cod Army and one of their best players over recent seasons.
James Norwood (Ipswich Town) – There is one reason why he is included – goals. Norwood is probably the player you would tip to start upfront for England, as he was last season’s top scorer in the Football League with 32 goals for Tranmere Rovers, helping them to promotion to League One through the playoffs.
Tyler Walker (Lincoln City, on loan from Nottingham Forest) – Walker was Mansfield’s top scorer last season, and has been Lincoln’s first choice striker this season. the son of former Forest defender Des Walker, he will be another who will probably get minutes at some stage.
Ivan Toney (Peterborough United) – The Posh striker is another in their attacking group who scores goals for fun. Working with Marcus Maddison, he scores the goals that Maddison doesn’t. Currently, he has 8 goals in 8 games.
John Marquis (Portsmouth) – Marquis has been one of the best strikers in League One for a long time, spending a few seasons at Doncaster before joining Portsmouth over the summer. He is another who could be a starter for this England team, and is a player you would never gift the ball to, such is his eye for goal.
Ian Henderson (Rochdale) – Arguably one of the most underrated strikers in the league, Henderson has been Rochdale fans’ hero for a long time now. He is a consistent scorer, but is now 34, so wouldn’t necessarily have the pace that some of the other forwards in the squad have, which may count against him.
Freddie Ladapo (Rotherham United) – One of the shining lights in Plymouth’s poor season which saw the Pilgrims relegated last season, Ladapo earned a move to Rotherham with his impressive goalscoring record. He has made a bright start this season, and could be an interesting prospect for this England team.
Stephen Humphrys (Southend) – Another young forward who has a good career ahead of him, Humphrys has been one of the best things about Southend’s miserable start to the season. He is another who can play across the forward line and has an eye for goal.
Adebayo Akinfenwa (Wycombe Wanderers) – Why wouldn’t you include the player they call The Beast. He is a fan favourite wherever he goes, and is still going strong and can be relied upon for a goal when needed. Any minutes he gets in this team might be limited though, as he is 37 years old.
There we go – quite a top-heavy squad, but it was tricky to work out which of these strikers to leave out when realistically they could all have a chance of playing at least some minutes. However, this is my pick for the League One England squad. Next time, I will list me League Two England squad.