England faces Euro 2020 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Kosovo on Saturday and Tuesday respectively. The Three Lions are in a favourable group, proven by a 5-0 hammering of Czech Republic and Montenegro 5-1 in their two group games.
In truth, the Three Lions always seem to coast to qualification for major tournaments. With the current squad and the relatively poor quality of opposition on offer, they were always the favourites to top the group.
Southgate is promoting younger players
England boss Gareth Southgate is promoting the use of younger players in his current set-up. The former under-21 coach has named a young squad once again for the doubleheader in qualifying.
Southgate has been looking to bring a freshness to the England squad after some truly dreary years in the international game for the Three Lions. The likes of youngsters Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Chilwell, Jadon Sancho, Declan Rice and Marcus Rashford have all established themselves in the England squad.
All five players are highly-rated. They have all been given their opportunity to shine for the Three Lions in the last 18 months or so.
A new crop of youngsters
It seems the England boss was not happy with just the youngsters he already had in his squad. In fact, he has called up three uncapped youngsters for potentially their first taste of full international football.
The new faces are Manchester United defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Chelsea’s Mason Mount and Leicester playmaker James Maddison. All three have featured heavily at youth level for the Three Lions. Wan-Bissaka established himself as one of the finest young up-and-coming defenders in the Premier League last season at Crystal Palace, which earned him a summer move to Manchester United.
Leicester star James Maddison impressed immensely in his debut top-flight campaign for the Foxes last season after a summer move from Norwich. The 22-year-old has continued the good form of last season in the current campaign.
Mason Mount has been one of Chelsea’s standout players in a difficult start to Frank Lampard’s debut season in charge at Stamford Bridge. The youngster previously impressed in loan spells in the Netherlands at Vitesse Arnhem and Championship Derby.
All three have the potential to remain in the Three Lions squad for a long time. Judging by their seasons so far, it would not be a major surprise to see all three to feature in Saturday’s game against Bulgaria, which they are favourites to win.
The right time for young players
Gareth Southgate does not seem scared to throw youngsters in at the deep when it comes to his squad selection. However, the next two games seem like ideal opportunities for the England boss to blood some of his younger players.
The likes of Maddison, Mount and Wan-Bissaka have shown that they can all perform at Premier League level. Very few of the players that the Three Lions are set to face in their Euro 2020 double-header are of the same standard.
The England boss could name a very young team for both games. The likes of Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane in their mid-twenties are now the old heads of the team. It can only be good for the England national team to have so many talented young players available to Southgate.
Which young players will make their full international debuts against Bulgaria?