Have you ever wondered what the strongest combined XI of players from our home nations would look like? Of course you have, because domestic football has been replaced by international duties, and we’re all at a bit of a loose end.
Anyway, the combined XI would normally be filled with overrated English players, or be disrespectfully light on recruits from the smaller nations.
But, what if we limited ourselves to a maximum of only three players from each nation? Now, that’s when things start to heat up a wee bit. The conundrums arrive when trying to squeeze in your best players, but sacrifices must be made to ensure each nation is accounted for.
There will be squabbles, outcries and maybe even revolts against certain decisions, but 90min has created a combined XI of the home nation sides – or as we like to call them – Home Nations United.
Let the games begin.
Bailey Peacock-Farrell (Goalkeeper)
Right, we’re going for playground rules here – stick the least-talented (fat kid) in goal, and the rest of the team will make sure he is seldom called upon.
None of the four home nations are blessed with a stand-out goalkeeper – sorry Jordan Pickford – so we’re gonna stick the Peacock in net and hope that his strong defence gives him little to do.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Right-Back)
No, this team isn’t going to be double-barrelled names only, but when you own possibly the world’s best player in his position, you must deploy him. Trent Alexander-Arnold
Jonny Evans (Centre-Back)
Our second Northern Ireland international Jonny Evans beats off competition from every other home nation to grab a starting spot in our back four.
The 31-year-old is one of the most underrated centre-backs in the Premier League, and Manchester United fans must wince when they see Phil Jones gurning on their bench, whilst ex-Red Devil Evans thrives in an exciting Leicester City side.
A Premier League stalwart over the past decade, Evans takes pride of place in the heart of our defence – and well-deserved too.
Kieran Tierney (Centre-Back)
Thank God for versatility. Kieran Tierney made his name as an adventurous left-back with Celtic, and the Scotland international has a wand of a left foot. Unfortunately for him, his preferred position is already taken (we’ll come to that later).
Tierney can also successfully ply his trade as a centre-back and although only standing at five foot eight inches tall, the 22-year-old can hold his own against the best strikers in Europe. The recently injured Arsenal man limps with ease into our hypothetical starting XI.
Welcome aboard Kieran!
Andy Robertson (Left-Back)
Not for the first time during this lineup, the home nations – and Liverpool – hold arguably the world’s best in his field, and Andy Robertson is an absolute banker for Home Nations United.
The Scotsman possesses bags of pace and strength, and can also whip a wicked cross into the penalty area when required. The Scotland captain helped the Reds to European glory last season, and he’ll be desperate to reach Euro 2020 with his nation this summer.
If anyone deserves it, it’s you, Andy.
Aaron Ramsey (Central Midfield)
A stop-start career of ‘what-ifs’ for our first midfielder. Aaron Ramsey is still one of the most talented footballers in Europe when fit and firing, and the Juventus star has made a solid start to life in Turin.
Although injury has plagued the Welshman throughout his entire career, the 28-year-old has established himself as a dynamic figure in the centre of the pitch, who is able to put his foot in when necessary.
A wonderful player.
John McGinn (Central Midfield)
This boy has magic in his boots. What a start Aston Villa
McGinn is attracting the attention of English giants Manchester United, and his fantastic performances at the start of this season have earned the 24-year-old a call-up to 90min’s combined XI.
Super John McGinn.
Raheem Sterling (Right Wing)
You just can’t leave Raheem Sterling out of this side. Even Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has spared the England star from his ruthless rotation policy in recent weeks, as the pacy winger continues to go from strength to strength.
Sterling has arguably grown into England’s most valuable asset, and his direct running and new-found killer instinct in front of goal makes him a force to be reckoned with.
The 24-year-old’s incredible rise to the top of world football has propelled him into 90min’s Home Nations United, and a thoroughly deserved first cap is on the horizon.
Daniel James (Left Wing)
What a 12 months Daniel James has experienced. After breaking into Swansea’s senior side, the explosive winger impressed Man Utd so much that they forked out around £15m for his services, and the forward has made a sensational start to life in the Premier League.
Ryan Giggs has put his faith in the 21-year-old to be a key component in Wales’ young side, and James has repaid his manager with some wonderful performances at international level. With pace being vital in any forward line, James gets the nod from our selection committee.
Gareth Bale (Second Striker)
Get ready for some serious attacking firepower. Wales talisman Gareth Bale was always going to be a starter in this lineup, and although the striker’s powers are waning somewhat, he still has enough credit in the bank to make our combined XI.
The Real Madrid forward has had a tough time of late, suffering a number of injuries and being deemed surplus to requirements by manager Zinedine Zidane. You can’t keep a good dog down however, and Bale worked his way back into los Merengues’ plans, and into Home Nations United’s XI.
One of the very best.
Harry Kane (Striker)
Yeah, no shocks here. Harry Kane is the embodiment of brilliance: determination, ability, and possessing the stones to take vital penalties at crucial moments. The Tottenham Hotspur striker is one of the deadliest finishers in world football, and he’s working his way towards Wayne Rooney’s England all-time goalscoring record.
When you’re in desperate need of a late goal to level or clinch a match, there’s only one man you’d want on the end of a cross or a loose ball in the penalty area. That man is our very own Kane, and he completes our Home Nations United lineup.
Michael O’Neill (Manager)
‘There were only two Northern Ireland players in the lineup!’ I hear you yell in disgust. Well, that’s because the brains behind our organisation is their very own boss, Michael O’Neill.
O’Neill has worked wonders with such a tiny pool of players, and for a small nation like Northern Ireland, the 50-year-old boss has delivered some memorable moments. Reaching any tournament is a great achievement, and after travelling to France for Euro 2016, O’Neill has earned the right to lead our troops into battle.
Goarn Home Nations United!