The World Cup, apparently the pinnacle of football achievement, can often prove to be quite a leveller when it is compared to the English game, and that is no more apparent than at Arsenal.
David Ospina will stand guard for Colombia against England, knowing that whatever heroics he pulls off will have little impact on his own future. The 29-year old signed for Arsene Wenger in 2014 for £3m but has never managed to force himself into the first team picture.
With just eleven appearances for the Gunners in the Premier League over the last three seasons, he is an unlikely figure to stand between England and a first quarter-final appearance since 2006, but that is exactly the situation he finds himself in.
Rather ironically, any potential quarter-final will be even more baffling, because it will feature at least one player currently contracted to a Championship club.
Whilst Granit Xhaka will hope it is Switzerland that progress, their last-16 clash with Sweden features Pontus Jansson and Xherdan Shaqiri, currently at Leeds and Stoke respectively. England could well be undone by players who can’t get a look in at their Premier League side, or who are facing games against Brentford and Rotherham next season.
In the case of Shaqiri, a big-money move to Liverpool seems imminent and with any World Cup quarter-final, Jansson would surely earn himself a move as well, but should these players need to shine in a World Cup just to get their football?
The English defeat by Belgium was cheered in some quarters, as a route opened that delivered the likes of Ospina and Jansson, it may have seen the Three Lions price tumble in the Betfair World Cup betting tips 2018, but it certainly doesn’t mean that the glory of 1966 is within reach.
Does the success of these players mean there’s a chance that Gareth Southgate missed a trick with his own World Cup squad? If the Championship can harbour the likes of Jansson, a possible World Cup quarter-finalist, who could have been lurking in there with the potential to be a Russian match winner?
Ryan Sessegnon must have had a great shout, he excelled as Fulham earned promotion to the top flight but was overlooked at the expense of a Liverpool player with just 20 appearances to his name. Sessegnon, valued at £50m, played 52 times scoring 16 goals.
If he had secured his big-money move to Spurs in May, would he have made the squad?
The Premier League is fast becoming a show of bravado, a ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ affair where teams outbid each other and race to make the biggest headline. Yet, on the biggest stage of them all, players from the Championship and the Premier league reserves are thriving, demonstrating that talent, real talent, isn’t just about big transfer fees and massive wages.
Given a chance, anyone can rise to the occasion and David Ospina is one of a group of Premier League outcasts proving just that.