Steven Caulker and Gary Cahill the odd men out for England

Gary Cahill Chelsea 2

The Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea defenders are the only London based players in England's starting XI tonight, in a team dominated by Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City and Everton stars.

England have named their starting XI for tonight's friendly game with Sweden, and it is an intriguing line-up.

Raheem Sterling is set to make his debut along with Leon Osman, while Steven Gerrard will win his 100th cap. With Leighton Baines and Glen Johnson also starting in the full-back positions, fans on Merseyside will have a keen eye on the game, whatever their allegiance.

One thing that stands out, is the lack of London based players in the starting line-up. 

Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Fulham, West Ham, QPR; the six clubs make up more than a quarter of the Premier League, but in tonight's squad they are certainly under represented.

Here is the line-up: Hart; Johnson, Cahill, Caulker, Baines; Gerrard, Cleverley, Osman; Sterling, Welbeck, Young.

The Manchester United trio of Welbeck, Young and Cleverley will spearhead the attack, and the match will be a rare opportunity for Welbeck who has slipped to fourth choice at United in recent weeks.

Steven Caulker of Spurs and Gary Cahill of Chelsea are the only London based players - and it was a similar story last time out against Poland. Just Ashley Cole and Jermain Defoe were starters.

Against San Marino there were four; Walker, Cahill, Walcott, and Oxlade-Chamberlain.

So what does all this mean and why should we care? Well its worth noting because it could soon all be changing.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, Kyle Walker, Ryan Bertrand, and now Carl Jenkinson will be aiming to force their way into the side in 2013 - And then there is Scott Parker to consider when he returns from injury.

Crystal Palace starlet Wilfried Zaha is another who will ensure there is certainly interest in south London tonight, with the exciting youngster likely to come off the bench in the second half.

The lack of London players may also have something to do with the upcoming Arsenal-Tottenham derby on Saturday. A number of players have pulled out with 'injuries' - which we will find out how serious they are in a few days time.

Roy Hodgson was criticised in some quarters this summer for his keenness on bringing in Liverpool players like Downing and Henderson, who had disappointing seasons, but the Reds have always enjoyed a strong presence in the international set up.

As have Manchester United, while City's contingent has grown in recent years. All of this shouldn't deflect from the fact this is a big opportunity for Steven Caulker tonight, who has been excellent for Spurs this season, and was equally impressive for Swansea last campaign.

It will be interesting to see when England play their next friendly in February against Brazil, whether the Northern dominance will be so pronounced.

Which London based players deserve a place in England's first choice XI? 

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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