In a parallel universe with a competent governing body of world football, things would be different for Conor Gallagher.
The Chelsea midfielder broke into the England squad on a sensational loan spell at Crystal Palace last season.
During the summer, when the World Cups are supposed to take place, Gallagher was leaving for the Three Lions.
But now the 22-year-old barely has an outside chance to make Gareth Southgate’s Qatar 2022 squad after being snubbed for the most recent team.
In the months since returning to Stamford Bridge from Selhurst Park, Gallagher has played 159 minutes of Premier League football.
It’s not unthinkable to suggest that his decision to stay at Chelsea cost him a place at Qatar 2022.
Gallagher has won the Palace Player of the Year award and manager Patrick Vieira has made no secret of his desire to sign the midfielder on a permanent deal in the summer window.
And he’s not the only Chelsea midfielder the Eagles faithful think of fondly.
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During the 2017/18 season, Ruben Loftus-Cheek was loaned out to Palace and earned a place in Southgate’s 2018 World Cup squad.
Luckily for him, this one took place during the summer and the 26-year-old even broke into the tournament’s starting XI.
Fast forward four years at Chelsea and Loftus-Cheek isn’t even part of the conversation.
Both midfielders will likely sit on the bench as the Blues travel to Palace on Saturday – live on talkSPORT 2.
They might well wonder what winter would entail if they were out in the field in red and blue stripes.
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