Five Players Southgate Should Call Up in the Next 12 Months for England11 min read
Phil FodenOne of the more well known youngsters in England’s ranks, Phil Foden has broken through into Pep Guardiola’s matchday squad at Manchester City and is reaping the rewards. After catching the eye of the Spanish coach on the club’s pre-season tour to America in 2017, Guardiola has made it one of his missions to promote Foden and nurture him in the transition from youth football to playing with and against seniors. While it’s still very early days for the 18-year-old, being in and around the first-team squad each training session is going to allow Foden to grow as a player and receive advice from the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva. Of course, the most important aspect to growing as a footballer at a young age is to play regularly, but Foden is still featuring in the Premier League 2, mainly used for the U23s, and so is putting into practice what the manager is saying. Being at City when the club has an unbelievable amount of depth can be daunting for any youth graduate, but Foden has seemingly taken it within his stride so far. The central midfielder has showed a degree of maturity in his play, especially in the Community Shield, and the willingness to drive forward with the ball at his feet - a trait that England’s midfielders have lacked in recent years. Southgate needs a midfielder of Jack Wilshere’s capabilities without the injury record and fluctuations in performance. With Foden winning the U17 World Cup, he will have that experience to take him forward in his development. He is likely to be part of England’s future midfield for many years to come.
Jadon SanchoA former teammate of Foden’s, Jadon Sancho made the brave and ambitious move to leave Manchester City, where he was being offered a sizeable contract for a then 17-year-old, in order to take the chance in Germany with Borussia Dortmund and their promise of first-team football. While Dortmund is still not an easy club to breakthrough at and prove that he can make it to the highest echelons of football, the England youth international has made a good crack at it so far.
Ryan SessegnonTipped by some to be a surprise inclusion in Southgate’s 23-man World Cup squad over the summer, Ryan Sessegnon is arguably the closest to joining the senior squad for good. The Fulham winger enjoyed a stellar season last year in gaining promotion to the Premier League with the West London club. While traditionally starting off as a full back, Sessegnon’s performances further up the pitch have been widely praised and his record of 16 goals and eight assists last season speaks for itself. The young Three Lions star has featured in all of Fulham’s four matches so far in the Premier League, although reduced minutes in some have caused concern among some fans. However, given the complexity of a season in England’s top-tier, Fulham will want to make sure players are rotated and constantly being challenge. After all, Sessegnon is only 18-years-old and still needs to be fighting for his position in the team. The Fulham academy graduate’s long-term future most probably sees him down the left wing, with his marauding runs and creative ingenuity on full show. The versatility of having Sessegnon’s qualities at either left back or down the wing will give Southgate options in the future should injuries arise or England need to throw caution to the wind. The Londoner has shown his maturity on the field for Fulham over the past two years and will not be far off getting the call up from Southgate to join the senior squad.
James MaddisonAfter making his move from Norwich to Leicester City in the summer, James Maddison has enjoyed his start to Premier League life. With one goal and one assist to his name, the 21-year-old has impressed spectators so far and is the nucleus to the Foxes’ attacking methods. In the Championship last season, Maddison was one of the outstanding performers, finding the back of the net on 14 ocassions, while also assisting eight times in 44 appearances. The England U21 star has only had 18 months in Norwich’s first team after being sent out on loan to Aberdeen, quickly rising to one of the club’s best players and warranting a move into the Premier League.
Maddison had many offers on the table, but with regular first team football at his disposal, Southgate will be watching with a close eye - as he was on the opening day of the season when Maddison bossed Manchester United’s midfield - of the progress he makes throughout his debut campaign in the Premier League. The Three Lions have lacked an out-and-out number 10 for several years and could have done with that type of player in Russia. Someone orchestrating the attacks in between the lines and causing havoc for midfielders and defenders alike. Maddison has already shown this season that he has the capabilities to act as that player and is likely to only improve as he comes to terms with top-tier English football.
James Maddison's game by numbers vs. Liverpool:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 1, 2018
45 (87%) passes completed
3 chances created
Running the game at 21 years old. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/oYEHTrDiME