The English national team endured a bit of frustration in their last time out to play against other international squads, as they failed to beat the Netherlands for a chance to play for UEFA’s first Nations League title. Nevertheless, they remain one of the early favourites for the European Championship next year.
While the initial qualifying rounds only end in November, they already are in the lead in the group composed by Czech Republic, Kosovo, Bulgaria and Montenegro. All that despite having played at least one match less than the rest of his current opposition.
Matches at home against Bulgaria and Kosovo, on September 7 and 10, respectively, provide England with a good chance to further distance themselves from the rest of the competition. The matches are also an opportunity for experiments, which will include two Chelsea midfielders in Ross Barkley and Mason Mount.
The former is already a veteran who has been a regular in manager Gareth Southgate’s since the last World Cup, where he took England to a fourth-place finish. Whereas Mount was called up to the squad in October last year, but did not get a chance to play in Nations League encounters with Croatia and Spain.
This time around, things might be very different for him.
“Mason is in on merit. He looks like threatening the goal every time he plays. I’ve watched him since 16 playing through the various age groups.
“He’s not in based on three games this season, he’s in on the back after a successful year in the Eredivisie, a year at Derby and he’s improved at every level he’s played at.”
-Gareth Southgate; Source: BBC
It is unfortunate that Abraham was overlooked this time around, just after a very good performance against Norwich where Barkley was less than impressive in his play. We could go as far as argue that he would have done a better job defending the Three Lions than Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson, who has yet to score a single goal in the Premier League this season.
But chances for him will come. All he needs to do is to keep playing well, and Southgate — who seems not afraid to change things up a bit ever since he took over the English NT — should notice (as he did almost two years ago).
The full squad is as follows:
GOALKEEPERS: Tom Heaton (Aston Villa), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley);
DEFENDERS: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Leicester), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Michael Keane (Everton), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Manchester United);
MIDFIELDERS: Ross Barkley (Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), James Maddison (Leicester), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool), Declan Rice (West Ham), Harry Winks (Tottenham);
ATTACKERS: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth).