The European Championships will not take place in 2020 for obvious reasons and is now scheduled to go ahead in 2021.
Here are 16 players whose international careers could benefit from the 12-month delay.
Ceballos is an undoubtedly talented midfielder, but he currently finds himself in a state of limbo.
He does not want to be at loan club Arsenal next season, but he is not part of Zinedine Zidane’s plans at parent club Real Madrid.
When the transfer window closes, we could see Ceballos get a move to a high-placed La Liga club such as Valencia, where the team would likely be built around him in a way that suits his game.
This could encourage Spain manager Luis Enrique to see the composed midfielder in a more favourable light.
While England have gained plenty of outstanding right-backs since the World Cup, the left-back position has been largely dominated by Ben Chilwell.
With Ashley Young and Danny Rose struggling to maintain favourability amid Gareth Southgate’s preference for young, up-and-coming players, Bukayo Saka is in prime position to challenge Chilwell for the left-back berth.
Saka can also play left wing-back, making him an ideal candidate should Southgate revert to the 3-1-4-2 we saw at Russia 2018.
Mason Mount, James Maddison, Ross Barkley, Jack Grealish, Ebere Eze and Phil Foden… all English, all gifted and, despite subtle stylistic differences, all occupy similar roles as a playmaker, most commonly in those left-to-central areas.
Foden is yet to attain an England cap while Mount, two years older, has been favoured since getting first-team football at Chelsea.
Luckily for the Stockport-born midfielder, David Silva is retiring this summer, meaning he is expected to get more game time at Manchester City, after 26 appearances in all competitions this term; a star season with the Citizens would make all the difference to his prospects.
Putting aside the longevity of Gianluigi Buffon, Italy have struggled for elite quality since winning the World Cup in 2006.
That, though, could be about to change.
Sandro Tonali has starred this season for Brescia as a deep-lying playmaker and has been linked with moves to European giants such as Manchester City and Juventus.
Were the Euros to be held this summer, Jorginho would undoubtedly get the nod due to Tonali’s lack of experience at the top level – his current club are in fact bottom of the league – but a great 12 months would influence manager Roberto Mancini’s thinking.
Sandro Tonali – Ball Droppic.twitter.com/ZgIvhtpQi9
— ً (@BabyKeith8) April 4, 2020
One area of England’s current squad that leaves something to be desired is the sitting midfield role.
The best international teams have won major tournaments with somebody dictating terms at the base of the midfield with real authority:
Germany had Bastien Schweinsteiger, Spain had Xavi, Sergio Busquets and Xabi Alonso, Italy had Andrea Pirlo and while France’s successful sides didn’t have a deep-lying playmaker as such, they did have deep midfielders who were world-class in more destructive ways: Didier Deschamps, then Patrick Vieira and Claude Makélélé, now N’Golo Kante.
Without disrespecting Harry Winks, he is never going to be world-class while Declan Rice does not have a huge passing range and it remains to be seen whether he can evolve into an elite ball-winner.
For that reason, England must be brave regarding this position and James Garner – who can spray the ball delightfully from the base of a midfield – could soon fit the bill.
The post-Mourinho rise of Mason Greenwood and Brandon Williams shows that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is unafraid to blood the youth at Old Trafford and Garner, who joined Manchester United’s pre-season tour in 2019, could be set for a breakthrough season to ignite an international career.
The 19-year-old wide man has scored two goals in four Europa League appearances this season for Basel, earning him a late-January move to Red Bull Salzburg.
Switzerland manager Vladimir Petkovic typically favours a 5-2-1-2 setup, but if Okafor has a strong campaign in the Bundesliga and Champions League next season, then he could give the Swiss an appealing option to switch things up.
Saint-Maximan had regularly represented France at youth level but, now 23, is yet to make his senior international debut.
The right-footed winger has excited and enthralled Newcastle United fans this season with his searing pace, but what would dissuade Deschamps from selecting him this summer is his inconsistent end product.
There is a void for a quality left winger in this France side; Blaise Matuidi, despite being a central midfielder by trade, has at times filled in on that flank due to injury issues with Kingsley Coman and Ousmane Dembele.
If Saint-Maximan can polish his technique, he might be a consideration.
Were the Euros to be held this summer, Forss would have little chance of making the Finland squad; after all, he has not yet made his senior debut for Huuhkajat.
The 20-year-old, though, scored an impressive 11 goals in 18 appearances for an AFC Wimbledon side short on creativity in League One, which shows he can thrive in a side that would be underdogs – much like Finland at a major tournament.
Parent club Brentford could lose Ollie Watkins in the summer if they are playing in the Championship next season.
Watkins, their main striker, was deployed in that position due to the sale of Neal Maupay the previous summer, so there is every chance Forss will soon get an opportunity to show what he can do.
An outstanding Championship campaign could inspire head coach Markku Kanerva to feel the Forss.
Ilkay Gundogan started as an attacking midfielder for Germany in their previous game and he is arguably past his peak, so while Die Mannschaft have had lots of playmaking talent in the previous decade, there is now a slight gap for somebody new to step up.
Enter Kai Havertz.
The forward-thinking midfielder is proving there to be more than one talented 20-year-old gracing the Bundesliga, even if Jadon Sancho has been this season’s undisputed star.
A strong 2020-21 – possibly for Bayern Munich – would establish him as part of Joachim Löw’s plans.
— 🎥 (@JakeFutbolYT) April 5, 2020
Back in September, Fati became the youngest player to feature for Barcelona in the Champions League – he came off the bench against Borussia Dortmund before his 17th birthday.
Five months later, he became the youngest player to score a brace in La Liga.
The fact Barca, a club under pressure to win major trophies every season, are putting so much faith in the teenager is a huge statement of his ability and while Lionel Messi comparisons may be unfairly premature, they show he has enormous potential.
Fati has not made his senior debut for Spain just yet, but a stellar 2020-21 campaign would certainly force Luis Enrique’s hand before the Euros.
Mbeumo has represented France at youth level, so he is certainly a national consideration.
Unfortunately for the 20-year-old, he plays a similar role to Kylian Mbappe: he likes to make direct, penetrative runs from the right channel into goalscoring areas.
Mbappe, if available, will be starting for France regardless of what summer it is, but Mbeumo could enhance his chances of becoming a valuable member of the squad if he has a full season of playing in the Premier League in 2020-21.
Since making his senior debut for PSV Eindhoven in 2019, Ihattaren has made 27 club appearances.
After an impressive international career at youth level, which saw the wide forward star in Holland’s UEFA European Under-17 Championship victory in 2018, he looks primed to work his way into Ronald Koeman’s first team plans.
Predominantly left-footed, Ihatteren has the mobility to escape an opponent combined with the flair and vision required to produce a strong end product, making him a potential star.
If he can become a regular at PSV or another club next season, Ihattaren could really catch the eye.
🕵️♂️ #UEL Scout:
🇳🇱 Mohamed Ihattaren
👕 Club: @PSV
📍 Position: Midfielder
"Mo is a very young player who is developing tremendously." – Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman pic.twitter.com/3EdD6M1RVz
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) January 14, 2020
Since the days of Neville Southall and Paul Jones, top Welsh goalkeepers have been hard to come by.
Wayne Hennessey, now 33, is past his best and while Stoke City’s Adam Davies is probably the pick of the best on current ability, he is unlikely to improve much at 27.
23-year-old Owen Evans, therefore, has a great opportunity to become part of the equation.
The Wigan loanee starred at Macclesfield Town in the first half of the season, then became a key part of Cheltenham Town’s promotion push: the Robins have League Two’s best defensive record, with just seven goals shipped in 11 games, based on results since Evans joined in January.
Evans is likely to get the nod for Wigan next season over David Marshall, declining a touch at 35 and a strong Championship campaign would give him an excellent opportunity to stake a claim for the number one spot.
The left-footed winger has enjoyed a break-through season with Braga, which earnt him a transfer to Barcelona.
Depending on how the interlude affects the timing of contracts, he is scheduled to go to Barca on 1st July and a strong first 11 months there would give Trincão a wonderful opportunity to push the likes of Bernardo Silva and Diogo Jota for a first team birth.
Having represented Portugal in every age group from Under-17s to Under-21s, his senior international debut is surely a matter of time.
The period in which Ashley Williams was Wales’ undisputed star defender is now over, so Ryan Giggs is looking for another top centre-back to fill the void.
Mepham’s chances of playing a leading role might have been in doubt this summer, after he suffered a three-month injury lay-off in January, but a full 2020-21 campaign will help his chances– the 22-year-old starred in December’s 1-0 victory at Chelsea, which proves he can perform against the very best.
Joe Rodon, Regan Poole and Ben Cabango are also capable of stepping up for Y Dreigiau.
Were the Euros to be played this summer, then Kane would be in a tight race to be available.
The forward, who has scored 32 England goals – at least 20 more than every other player in the most recently named squad – picked up a serious hamstring injury in January that put his prospects in doubt.
The other contenders for Kane’s position – Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Tammy Abraham – all have at least one athletic quality: Rashford’s pace, Greenwood’s unrelenting energy and Abraham’s strength.
Kane, though, is England’s most technically refined forward.
— Tottenham Hotspur (at 🏡) (@SpursOfficial) April 7, 2020
Behind Raul Jimenez and Roberto Firmino, who are both less clinical in front of goal, no Premier League striker with 20+ appearances in 2019-20 has managed more key passes than Kane’s average of one per game, highlighting his ability to drop deep and link play effectively.
Get the Tottenham academy graduate fit and firing and England could be onto a winner.