Ferdinand at centre-back, Mata in midfield & Tevez up front: The ultimate international outcast XI

With the latest round of World Cup qualifiers approaching, Goal.com takes a look at the best players who have not been chosen to represent their respective nations
By Alex Young

With domestic action in the top-tier leagues on hiatus during international week, there are some players who will have to make do with joining us on the sofa and not taking the field to represent their country.

So who are those stars who should not be left to their crisps and beer soft drinks and be aiding their nation's quest for a place in Brazil in 2014?

Goal.com analyses each squad and attempts to come up with the best combined team of those unlucky lot who failed to get the call from their national team's head coach, lining up in a 4-3-3 formation.


Former Germany No.1 Rene Adler is in astonishing form this season. There is no doubt that he is the best goalkeeper in Bundesliga this year but, after a long break due to injury, head coach Joachim Low has preferred not to call him up yet.

Low did point out that he always believed in Adler and there is a good chance he will return soon. It could be an interesting battle between him and current first choice Manuel Neuer.


Carl Jenkinson has been a relevation at Arsenal this season, as he continues to deputise at right-back for the injured Bacary Sagna.

The 20-year-old is eligible to play for Finland through his mother, and has represented the Nordic side at Under-19 and Under-21 level, but England coach Gary Neville has confirmed that Jenkinson is being monitored by Roy Hodgson for a possible future Three Lions call-up.

Meanwhile, it appears Rio Ferdinand will not be forcing his way in the England set-up anytime soon - just ask the London Underground passengers who Hodgson shared said information with last week.

The 33-year-old has been, barring a blip against Tottenham, in fine form for Manchester United this season as Sir Alex Ferguson continues to struggle with a defensive injury crisis.

Davide Astori has between an integral part of the Cagliari team since joining in 2008, and turned down a €15 million [£12m] move to Spartak Moscow during the summer. His recent displays in Serie A have garnered plaudits but seemingly not international recognition.

Fiorentina captain Manuel Pasqual has proved pivotal in Viola's impressive start to the 2012-12 Serie A season with his charging runs from left-back but has regularly found himself out of the Italy squad - making just two appearances in six years.


Juan Mata is the victim of an abundance of talent. Spain head coach Vicente del Bosque has said the Chelsea man's exclusion is down to a surplus of midfielders already in the squad.

The 24-year-old, who has four goals and six assists in 10 appearances for Chelsea this season - featured for La Roja during their successful Euro 2012 campaign - scoring in the 4-0 victory over Italy in the final - and also took part in his country's less impressive showing at the Olympic Games.

Arsenal vice-captain Mikel Arteta has never received a cap for Spain. While Mata was given the courtesy of a reason for his recent snub, the former Everton man does not even appear to be on Del Bosque's radar.

The midfielder has perfectly complemented countryman Santi Cazorla after his summer arrival at the Emirates Stadium, stepping further back into a more defensive-minded role to promote the former Malaga man's attacking prowess.

Highly rated 22-year-old Yann M'Vila seemed destined for a move away from Rennes during the summer, with both Arsenal and Tottenham heavily linked, but a switch never materialised. Unfortunately for fans of the Ligue 1 club, the transfer speculation appears to have distracted the midfielder, with his performances not living up to last season's standards. Subsequently he has only started half of Rennes' games, with an international call-up slipping further away by the week.


Whilst not entirely surprising due to Alejandro Sabella's failure to select the striker for the entirety of his tenure so far, Carlos Tevez has failed to make the latest Argentina squad.

The Manchester City man has regained the trust of manager Roberto Mancini after a self-imposed six-month absence last season, going on to form an impressive partnership with Sergio Aguero - notching three goals in four Premier League appearances.

Loic Remy notched 20 goals for Marseille last season, but has struggled to make a similar impact this year - not entirely down to his own performances though. Coach Elie Baup often prefers the option of Jordan and Andre Ayew in attack, leading to Didier Deschamps deciding against the striker's inclusion.

Despite impressing during Euro 2012, Antonio Cassano has yet to feature for Italy since the tournament. The 30-year-old has struggled with niggling fitness issues since his move to Inter, but has still managed four goals in seven Serie A appearances. It is not all doom and gloom though as Cesare Prandelli is a known admirer of the striker.

Suggested combined XI


Rene Adler


Carl Jenkinson

Rio Ferdinand

Davide Astori

Manuel Pasqual

Juan Mata

Yann M'Vila

Mikel Arteta

Carlos Tevez

Loic Remy

Antonio Cassano

Do you agree with our suggested best combined starting XI? If not, who should be there instead and which players should get the chop?

Let us know your views on the debate by posting a comment below or by engaging with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Follow Alex Young on