A study has revealed that 14 top footballers come from the north west of England, trumping all other areas including London, which has produced 12 of the best currently in the game. Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad reflects these findings. Can the might of the North West propel England to glory?

A study by Betting.net has examined which areas of the UK produce the best footballers in an effort to see if there’s any advantage to growing up or attending an academy in a particular location. The recent research has some compelling results, and it found that the North West is the best place to train for budding young footballers. The Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Manchester City youth systems have created some strong talent over the years.

The sample used in the study showed that there are 14 current top footballers from the north west of England, and 17 trained in the area. Raheem Sterling, Nick Pope, and Daniel Sturridge all moved to the region in order to go to the world-class academies. The second best place for producing talent is London, and 12 top players in the game hail from the capital.

Now that Southgate’s squad for Russia has been announced, the North West is well represented. Sterling, Pope, Marcus Rashford, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Danny Welbeck, Phil Jones, Kieran Trippier, Eric Dier, and Jesse Lingard all spent time in youth academies in the North West before making it in the Premier League. This year, there is a high number of players from the United academy, with only Dier having spent some time in the Everton youth setup. The Tottenham Hotspur man was there for a year on loan in the 2011-12 season. But this low Everton showing hasn’t always been the case. In the 2014 World Cup key players Leighton Baines, Ross Barkley, and Wayne Rooney all represented the mighty Everton youth system.

Can Southgate’s selections help fire England to their best World Cup showing in recent memory? The fact that a lot of the Three Lions stars came up through the same youth system could help with the cohesion of the squad. The lack of Everton youth products could be a blow to England’s hopes, though. It will be interesting to see if this has an effect.