With the Euro’s 281 days away, preparation for England’s team begins with friendlies against Iceland and Denmark. Due to the massing amount of big names withdrawing or not being chosen, some younger prospects have received call-ups for the first time.
England vs Iceland and Denmark - Ones to Watch
After a Man of the Match performance in the Community Shield for Arsenal, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, has received his first England call-up. This comes after the recent withdrawals to the England side.
The Gunner player is known as a Utility Player, as he can play on the wing, in the midfield as well as in the full-back role. His two recent fixtures for Arsenal, he has played a left midfield role with both offensive and defensive duties. This could mean that we see him play in the left-back role, a position that Gareth Southgate has not filled in his squad in the upcoming friendlies.
Another promising England star is Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden, who has had strong performances since the restart including two goals against Burnley and a goal and assist against Liverpool.
The 20-year-old has featured many times for Englands youth sides, accumulating 31 games for country as well as helping to bring the World Cup home for the U-17 side in 2017. Foden has been highly regarded by manager Pep Guardiola, and has been quoted saying that ‘he is the most talented player he has seen ever’. This is big praise especially as the Spaniard has worked with the likes of Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski.
Bursting onto the scenes this season in the Premier League, Mason Greenwood totalled 10 goals and one assist in 34 games. This is significantly impressive due to over half of those games he came off the bench for Manchester United.
Greenwood was confirmed in Southgate’s 23 man squad before any withdrawals but now with teammate, Marcus Rashford, exiting the side due to injury concerns, a potential England start could occur for the youngster. This is because of his ability to play on the wing as well as the traditional striker role.
One of the more anticipated call-ups this season for England comes from Leeds United’s, Kalvin Phillips. The 24-year-old has been talked a lot about in the media with many comparisons made to players like Steven Gerrard and Andrea Pirlo as well as some stating that he is better than Jordan Henderson.
With the season yet to start, attention will be placed upon the recently promoted star to see if he is as good as he has been said to have been. Due to the Liverpool captain not being called up for England, Phillips could see an England start with his competition coming against West Ham defensive midfielder, Declan Rice.
After the most recent withdrawals from the England side, Aston Villa star Jack Grealish has finally received an England call-up. This has been a much-anticipated pick with many stating he should have been chosen months earlier and outrage that he wasn’t chosen in Southgate’s first squad.
The Birmingham born has proven his worth in the Premier League as he helped keep Villa out of the relegation zone. Experts such as Danny Murphy, have warranted praise on the star and have been left stunned that he wasn’t chosen initially., Worryingly for Grealish is that he was the one of the last chosen and may mean that Southgate is reluctant to play him in either of the England games.
A few other names
On top of these standout players, there have been other exciting players who could do well in the upcoming fixtures and cement themselves as future players. One of these is goalkeeper Dean Henderson, who spent last season on loan at Sheffield United from Manchester United. The goalkeeper was superb last year as he kept 13 clean sheets as well as conceding only 33 goals in the league. With many doubting Jordan Pickford’s abilities due to his physical characteristics, Henderson could take over as the new goalkeeper.
As well as Henderson, a first call up for Wolverhampton Wanderers Conor Coady could prove to be another solid pick. With Harry Maguire withdrawing from the side, the lack of a leader at the back could be filled by the Wolves captain. Tammy Abraham, Jadon Sancho and James Ward-Prowse are just a few more players to watch as they continue their England growth.
Bukayo Saka - Future Pick?
One player who has impressed many this season is Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka. Last season, the 18-year-old featured a large amount for the Gunners, however, was mainly situated in the defensive position. When he has played in the forward positions, he’s been electric as shown in his most recent performance in the Community Shield where he made the assist for Arsenal’s goal.
Jude Bellingham - Future Pick?
With his most recent move to Borussia Dortmund complete, Jude Bellingham could another future England star. The Birmingham star has been very influential in their midfield which has earnt his £20m move as well as comparison to players like Saul Niguez. The 17-year-old has a lot of development to occur but could prove to be an England star for the future.
The Tottenham Hotspur centre-back has made six appearances in the league with his debut coming against Liverpool. Jose Mourinho has praised his defensive abilities and has said he could become a top-class player. With Jan Vertonghen set to move on from the club. Japhet Tanganga could see himself become a prominent player in the Spurs ranks and a possible third choice centre-back behind established Joe Gomez and Harry Maguire.