In Focus: Southampton duo get first England call; must take opportunity to impress

Southampton duo James Ward-Prowse and Nathan Redmond were called up to the England senior squad for the first time when Gareth Southgate named his Three Lions squad for the upcoming fixtures against Germany and Lithuania.

What’s the story, then?

Well, after a number of injury withdrawals from the likes of Harry Kane, Wayne Rooney, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, it opened the doors for a number of new players to be called into the squad.

Saints duo Ward-Prowse and Redmond were among those, and they must make the most of their opportunity.

Do they deserve the call?

Yes, they do.

The duo have cemented their spots in the starting XI at St Mary’s this season and the pair have been particularly impressive in recent weeks for the Saints, who have enjoyed an upturn in form.

Ward-Prowse picked up an assist for Manolo Gabbiadini’s opening goal in the EFL Cup final defeat last month, and he has been impressing on the right-hand side for Claude Puel’s side.

Meanwhile, Redmond has been situated on the opposite flank and seems to be performing better than when he was asked to play as a striker earlier in the campaign.

The 23-year-old scored two brilliant goals in the 4-3 win against Watford last time out – taking his tally to five for the season in the Premier League.

Where will they fit in?

It will really depend on what formation Southgate plans to play.

Ideally, a formation that incorporated wide players would work better for Redmond, while Ward-Prowse would probably be more comfortable as part of a central midfield three.

Can they cope with the pressure and make an impact?

They should do, yes.

Both players have extensive experience with the Under-21 side – with Ward-Prowse captaining the team – while they were two of the standout performers for Saints in the EFL Cup final, showing little fear on what was a huge occasion for the club.

Three Lions fans should look forward to Ward-Prowse’s exquisite set piece delivery too, if he does make it on to the pitch.