Gareth Southgate will name his England squad for October’s international break on Thursday, ahead of the Three Lions’ fixtures with Australia and Italy.
England take on the Socceroos in a friendly fixture at Wembley Stadium, before hosting Italy in a crunch clash as the two teams compete for Euro 2024 qualification.
England are six points clear at the top of Group C, having played a game more than Italy, with the nation’s fine form having made it difficult to gatecrash Southgate’s squad.
However, these five Premier League names are pushing hard for a place in the England manager’s plans.
Five players in the frame for October’s England squad:
Ollie Watkins passed his latest audition for an England recall with flying colours, as the Aston Villa forward fired home a hat-trick in front of the watching Southgate last weekend.
Watkins’ hat-trick was his second of the season in all competitions and helped Villa to a 6-1 win over Brighton, a statement result in which Watkins was the star of the show. The 27-year-old has not appeared for England since scoring in a 3-0 win over the Ivory Coast in March 2022, with several strikers selected ahead of the forward in recent squads.
Southgate has cast his eye over Callum Wilson, Ivan Toney and Eddie Nketiah since Watkins’ last international cap, as he searches for the ideal cover – or compliment – to Harry Kane.
Ollie Watkins in all competitions under Unai Emery:
▫️ 37 games
▫️ 21 goals
▫️ 7 assists
▫️ 2 hat-tricks 🎩🎩 pic.twitter.com/10z1h6KtOF
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) October 2, 2023
Watkins has now scored 17 league goals since the turn of the new year and has seven in 11 appearances in all competitions this season. That form should be enough to earn a recall this week, with Wilson and Nketiah struggling for first-choice status at club level and Marcus Rashford in poor form.
Jarrod Bowen missed out on a place in the England squad for last winter’s World Cup and has not featured for the national team since June 2022.
Bowen has placed himself back in the conversation for a recall after a blistering start to the season at West Ham. Having scored the late winner as the Irons won the Europa Conference League final last season, Bowen has burst out of the traps with five goals in seven Premier League games.
He is the leading English goalscorer in the Premier League so far this season and David Moyes believes the winger has never been better,
“He’s as good as he’s ever been at the moment, he really is. He’s sharp, he’s quick, he’s a threat,” Moyes told Match of the Day after Bowen opened the scoring in the weekend win over Sheffield United.
“It was a lovely finish today but more importantly his all-round game has got much better.”
James Ward-Prowse has found himself on the outside watching in when it comes to the England squad in recent years, with the midfielder culled after making the provisional squads for both Euro 2020 and the 2022 World Cup.
A season of struggle as Southampton were relegated did little to improve his chances of selection, but Ward-Prowse has been reborn since a £30m move to West Ham during the summer.
The 28-year old has scored twice and provided six assists in eight appearances in all competitions, winning over the West Ham fans who are now appreciating the talent Saints supporters cherished in recent seasons.
🏴 James Ward-Prowse
🟣 8 games
⚽ 2 goals
🎯 6 assists
🏴 Jarrod Bowen
🟣 7 games
⚽ 5 goals
🎯 1 assist
It’s criminal if Southgate does not the select the pair of them this week for the England squad. pic.twitter.com/XbZlMTvzKF
— COYIrons (@COYIronscom) October 2, 2023
Overlooked last month, former England international Rio Ferdinand was among the vocal critics of Southgate’s decision.
I’d retire,” Ferdinand said on his FIVE podcast last month. “If I’m people like Ward-Prowse I’d just retire.
“Say, ‘listen, don’t pick me no more. There’s no point. It’s disrespectful what you’re doing’. It is to people like him, especially Ward-Prowse who’s been putting up numbers for his team on a regular basis. What more does a man have to do to get a sniff?”
Anthony Gordon has placed himself in contention for a first senior England call, following a fine summer for the u21s and an outstanding start to the campaign at Newcastle.After a slow start to his Newcastle career, Gordon has shown the attributes which made him so coveted at Everton. Direct, tenacious and a relentless runner, he has contributed two goals and two assists for Newcastle in his opening seven Premier League matches this season.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) September 28, 2023
Gordon was named player of the tournament as England won the u21 Euros during the summer, impressing in a false nine position. England have real depth across the forward line, but a number of established names are either injured or struggling for form.
Gordon will no doubt be in Southgate’s thoughts after his summer performances and strong start to the Premier League campaign.
Centre-back has become a problem position for Gareth Southgate and England, with the Three Lions without a settled partnership as Euro 2024 approaches.
John Stones is a certainty to feature when fit, but has not featured for Manchester City since the Community Shield due to injury.
Harry Maguire is a Southgate favourite, much to the frustration of his detractors, but is out of form and out of favour at Manchester United. Ben White’s situation with Southgate is unclear, while Lewis Dunk, Marc Guehi and Levi Colwill are jostling for position.
Could there be an opportunity for Ezri Konsa? The 25-year-old often goes under the radar at Aston Villa, but has started the campaign in impressive form.
Ezri Konsa v Chelsea.
— Premier League (@premierleague) September 28, 2023
He ranks third in the Premier League this season for percentage of dribblers tackles (85.7%) and ninth overall for pass completion (93%), for a Villa team who have become a solid defensive unit under Unai Emery.
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