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The England national football squad is no longer filled with over-the-hill, or out-of-form players picked purely on reputation. Now, anyone performing at club level has the chance of being picked.
Manager Gareth Southgate handed debuts to Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Dominic Solanke, Tammy Abraham, Joe Gomez, Jordan Pickford, and Jack Cork recently. All of those, except for Cork, have stepped up from the Under-21 set-up.
Since Southgate became England boss, firstly on an interim basis and then full time, he has shown faith in youth and a willingness to pick players based on form.
Before the debuts handed out this month, Harry Maguire, Michael Keane, Kieran Trippier, James Ward-Prowse, Nathan Redmond, Jesse Lingard, Aaron Cresswell, and Harry Winks were all handed their senior England debuts by Southgate.
There are two more international friendlies, in March 2018 against Netherlands and Italy, before Southgate names his provisional squad for the World Cup.
Some people like to give, and be given, betting tips and predictions. We are going to make a prediction of our own by picking three uncapped players we believe have a great chance of being in the England senior squad next summer.
Nineteen-year-old Everton attacking midfielder Davies only made his under-21 debut in September this year, against Latvia, and scored his first goal a month later in Andorra.
He’s making a name for himself in the Everton first team and winning plaudits from several pundits. Last month, a newspaper article said Davies was a “ray of light” at Everton this season.
If Davies continues to put in eye-catching performances for his club, he may well force his way into the senior set-up for his country in time for the World Cup.
Many believed that Leicester winger Demerai Gray would have made his senior debut this month, but it wasn’t to be. However, it can only be a matter of time before the talented 21-year-old is called upon.
He has made sixteen appearances, scoring five goals, since making his under-21 debut in March 2016. It was Southgate who gave him that debut, and he could well hand him a senior debut before next summer.
One negative for Gray is the fact he has been a bit-part player at Leicester for most of this season. But, he has started the last few matches and more game time will bring more exposure and more chances to impress the national team boss.
The Norwich City goalkeeper, on loan from Manchester City, has represented England at every level from under-16 to under-21.
Southgate has shown the 21-year-old is on his radar, by calling him into the senior squad as an injury replacement for Jack Butland recently. He wasn’t given his debut but it’s a step closer.
Playing in the Championship may go against him and he is on the fringes of the senior set-up at present. But, if other goalkeepers suffer injuries and/or loss-of-form, Gunn could find himself on the plane to Russia as a back-up option.