As domestic football breaks for the first time this season, the feel-good factor generated by England at the World Cup continues. Gareth Southgate’s squad contains few surprises, with goalkeepers Alex McCarthy and Marcus Bettinelli the only uncapped inclusions. However, with England’s youth sides achieving success over the summer, several young players could be pushing for inclusion in the senior squad soon. Last Word on Football looks at which of these young talents are most likely to be called up this season, including James Maddison and Ryan Sessegnon.
Which Youngsters Will Earn an England Call Up Next?
Leicester attacker James Maddison has settled in quickly to life in the Premier League. He has quickly become one of Leicester’s most important players after his £20 million transfer from Norwich. Maddison netted 14 times in the Championship last season and already has a Premier League goal to his name. He is excellent on the ball, his close control allowing him to run at and beat defenders. He has also demonstrated intelligence beyond his age of 21; Maddison uses his body well to draw fouls and finds pockets of space in even the most crowded midfield.
The attacking midfielder role behind Harry Kane is one which is fiercely contested: Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek were impressive at the World Cup while Ross Barkley has started the season strongly. However, if Maddison continues to play at a consistently high level then Southgate must find a way to include him.
Sancho was surprisingly snubbed from the latest England U21 squad. After failing to be given assurances about playing time at Manchester City, Sancho moved to Borussia Dortmund in August 2017. The winger has quickly shown why the German giants paid £8 million for the 18-year-old. Sancho prefers playing on the left where he frequently cuts inside onto his stronger right foot. With pace to burn and the composure to produce a high-quality delivery, Sancho is a nightmare for isolated defenders. He has appeared off of the bench in both of Dortmund’s opening Bundesliga games, ahead of Mario Gotze.
Sancho has represented England at U16, U17 and U19 level but has yet to earn an U21 call-up. Aidy Boothroyd has explained that he is waiting for the ‘right time’, but may be punishing Sancho for his decision to remain with Dortmund over the summer rather than play at the European U19 Championships.
Fulham winger Sessegnon is one of football’s hottest properties at present. He was the subject of constant transfer speculation over the summer but elected to remain with the club he has been with since 2008. Sessegnon’s direct style and pace make him difficult to defend against, scoring 16 times last season. His versatility makes him an even more likely inclusion for Southgate; he is equally adept playing at left-back or left-winger.
Sessegnon was, this week, announced as a nominee for the 2018 European Golden Boy award. Sessegnon has looked impressive in his opening four Premier League games and will develop with experience against higher quality opposition. Expect him to be a key part of Southgate’s squad before long.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s rise to the Crystal Palace first team has been rapid. Only making his debut in February due to an injury crisis, the defender has cemented himself in the Palace side. Winning Palace’s player of the month award in March after his first full month of first team football, Wan-Bissaka has estbalished himself as Palace’s first-choice right-back. Surprisingly, he did not start playing in defence until he was asked to make the numbers up in an U23 training session.
With Kieran Trippier and Trent Alexander-Arnold ahead of him in the pecking order, Wan-Bissaka may find it difficult to break into the first team. However, Southgate may opt to include Wan-Bissaka sooner than he otherwise would in order to secure his eligibility. This is because Wan-Bissaka has represented both England and the DR Congo at U20 level and remains eligible for both at senior level. The defender’s meteoric rise shows no sign of stopping and will give Southgate a pleasent selection headache.
The Leicester left-back has come on significantly this season. He has finally nailed down the starting job after two seasons of rotating with Christian Fuchs and is showing why Claude Puel has given him the nod. Chilwell has been one of Leiceser’s greatest attacking threats so far this season, having improved his final ball.
The left-wing-back role is one of few spots open for someone to seize, with Ashley Young’s international career appearing over after his omission from the recent squad. Luke Shaw and Danny Rose will have the opportunity to earn the starting spot, but if Chilwell continues his fine early season form he will put himself firmly into the conversation.