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International football returns this month as the qualifying opens up for Euro 2020 and Gareth Southgate will be raring to go and get back into the dugout when England play their first game since beating Croatia 2-1 in the UEFA Nations League to qualify for the semi-finals this June. England's first opponents will be Czech Republic at Wembley on March 22nd and that match will be followed up by a trip to Montenegro three days later.
Whilst the likes of Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Harry Kane are going to be regular starters, Southgate has been known for and encourages bringing youth into the England set up and giving uncapped players a chance. Below we have listed some players that we think really deserve a chance to break into the England squad, which is announced tomorrow, and how they could improve the overall squad.
Jamaal Lascelles - (Newcastle)
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Lascelles has played at every level for England but the senior national team. The centre-back is strong, quick, versatile and very confident. Club manager Rafa Benitez has rated him highly, so highly that he is now club captain. Time could be running out for the player who is now 25, and if he isn't picked soon he may struggle to make a long term impact for the national side. One note ahead of these games is Lascalles knee injury picked up in Newcastle's recent win over Everton, though he is due back on March 16th. Therefore these games may come too soon for The Magpies defender but he certainly deserves to be in Southgate's plans to play at some stage for England during 2019.
Phil Foden - (Manchester City)
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As if Manchester City hadn't snapped up a wealth of continental talent they also have in their ranks Phil Foden who is being touted as the next best England midfielder to emerge in a generation. At 5ft 7 he's not an imposing physical presence, however his technical ability is streets ahead of most English players, he has an eye for goal, and a creative ability to unlock defences, something England are crying out for. Still only 18 years old Foden has played 10 times in the league for City this season as manager Pep Guardiola has been careful with him, taking his time. Whilst he is still young, surely the question is if you're good enough you're old enough? One is reminded of Wayne Rooney who jumped from the England U21's to the national side at 17 with obvious talent and the same rule could well apply to Foden. If he's good enough to be a regular in the Man City match day squad, then surely he's good enough to make the England squad.
Declan Rice - (West Ham)
Back in December Mick McCarthy said that Rice would go on to become the captain of the Republic of Ireland and that future national sides would be built around him. Alas three months is a long time in football and Rice has opted to play the rest of his international career with England. This was only confirmed by FIFA last week. Rice is a defensive midfielder, who possesses a natural ability to read the game, breaking up play effectively and being tidy in possession. He has been one of West Ham's most consistent players this season, and has become the spine of the West Ham side. At 20 years old, he is very mature for his age, it is almost a given that he will play with England at senior level it's just a case of when instead of if, and it would be a surprise not to see Rice included in the squad for the upcoming games.
Callum Hudson-Odoi - (Chelsea)
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When you're 18 and Bayern Munich come calling for you and you are at Chelsea then you are holding all of the cards and Hudson-Odoi much like Declan Rice and Phil Foden will be a part of the England set up in the years to come. The winger/forward is still yet to score a league goal in his 7 appearances but they will come and has been a revelation in the Europa League with 3 goals from 7 games so far. Hudson-Odoi has the ability to make big impacts in games, with pace and silky dribbling, and his final ball whether it be a shot or a cross is of good quality. He deserves to be at least included in the England squad and it will be fascinating if Southgate will call up the youngster for these games or later this year.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka - (Crystal Palace)
Only 7 other teams in the Premier League have conceded less goals than Crystal Palace, which is a statement to a team who are in 14th place. And one of those reasons is the presence of right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka. The defender has great strength, awareness, pace and he likes to get forward and contribute to Palace's attacking play. He is one of the most exciting defenders for England's future prospects in quite a while. It would be no shock if the 20 year old was to be called up, however he's unfortunate that there is a lot of competition for the right back position, in the form of Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, and Trent Alexander-Arnold. This will make it particularly difficult for him to break into the senior England side and become a regular starter.
With England kicking off their Euro 2020 qualifying this month we can get odds of 1/8 that they will win their group, such are the bookies thinking this will be a stroll for the national side. To win Euro 2020 England are priced up as the 5th favourites at 9.00.