Three youngsters who can receive a call-up to Gareth Southgate’s England team
Gareth Southgate’s dynamic approach played a pivotal part in changing England’s World Cup fortunes as the Three Lions made it to the last four of the World Cup after a long span of 28 years.
Southgate, who took over as the manager in 2016, made several brave decisions to leave out key players from the World Cup squad including the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere and Adam Lallana.
Evidently, his method of selection was based on form and fitness rather than relying on potential and past heroics. As a result, England went into the World Cup with one of the youngest squads in the tournament and Southgate’s move paid off.
In the previous years, there was only a settled hierarchy of players from the big clubs in the Premiership who were expected to don the jersey. This proved to be a major reason of undoing for England at big tournaments where club rivalries and egos got the better of team morale.
But now things have changed and Gareth Southgate has instilled a sense of unity in the players, which allowed them to compete at the highest level. A lot of youngsters from the lesser clubs have received national call-ups and the 47-year-old manager will have his eyes on the youngsters performing well for their respective clubs.
Here are three promising young guns with a lot of potential who Southgate should take into consideration for a place in the national squad.
1. Phil Foden
A product of the Manchester City academy, Phil Foden burst on to the scenes last season at the tender age of 17, making his senior debut for the club in the Champions League.
After making several appearances on the bench, Foden made his Premiership debut last year and the young Englishman hasn’t looked back.
He rose to prominence earlier this season when he started Manchester City’s Community Shield game against Chelsea and assisted Sergio Aguero for the team’s first goal.
In a team as strong as Manchester City, the youngster has been able to push for a place in the team, which goes on to show that the 18-year-old central midfielder is a prodigious talent. Foden has shown maturity that belies his age and he became the youngest ever player to receive a Premier League winner’s medal as City won the league last season.
He has amazing control over the ball and has the tendency to burst forward with pace down the middle. He has an extremely cool head on his shoulders and his decision making is remarkable.
Foden’s sizzling talent has not gone unnoticed at the international level and he has been a regular for England at the U16, U17, and U19 levels. He won the Golden Ball award at the 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup.
And it won’t be long before Foden joins Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli in England’s midfield.
2. Ryan Sessegnon
A product of Fulham’s youth system, Ryan Sessegnon made his debut for the club back in 2016 when he was just 16. A left-back by trade, the 18-year-old has shown great versatility in playing as a left-sided midfielder and has the ability to score goals on a regular basis.
He boasts of exceptional concentration and composure for his tender years and has already made 72 appearances for Fulham over the last two seasons. With a fantastic season in the Championship last year, where he bagged five accolades including the for the Championship Player of the Season award, Sessegnon played a major role in Fulham’s promotion to the Premier League.
With Ashley Young not getting any younger and Danny Rose frequently struggling with injuries, the time might just be perfect for Southgate to reward Sessegnon with a call-up to the national team.
3. Joe Gomez
Emerging from Charlton Athletic’s youth system, Joe Gomez signed for Liverpool in 2015 and made his Premier League debut later in the same season. The 21-year-old centre-back has made 30 appearances for the Reds across all competitions and has started Liverpool’s first two Premier League fixtures this season.
Standing at 6ft 2in, Gomez rarely gets dominated physically. He is a ball-playing centre-back, which suits Southgate’s system of play. The Liverpool man has shown excellent composure and also boasts of a good positional sense.
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Gomez also has the versatility to play as a right-back when required. Being comfortable with the ball at his feet, Gomez can power his way up front and set up quick counter-attacks.
He will be an able cover for the likes of Harry Maguire and John Stones, and Southgate should have him on his radar.