After a successful World Cup in Russia, England boss Gareth Southgate is now focusing on the future in his quest to lead the Three Lions to glory.
A new four-year contract extension last week was followed up by his squad announcement for the Nations League matches against Croatia and Spain on Friday and Monday respectively.
Following England’s opening round defeat to Spain at Wembley last month, Southgate will be hoping his team can deliver better performances and results this time around and included a few young talents in the squad to bolster their chances.
James Maddison, Jadon Sancho, Mason Mount, Lewis Dunk, Nathaniel Chalobah and Marcus Bettinelli are the six uncapped players in the squad, but it’s the first three who have made the headlines for bursting onto the scene this season.
Maddison made an immediate impact in his debut for Leicester City at Manchester United on the first weekend of the new Premier League season. Despite the Foxes slumping to a 2-1 defeat, Maddison caught the eye with a good midfield performance.
Operating in the number ten position, the 21-year-old has started in every Leicester game so far this season and has especially looked good when dictating play going forwards.
His passing from the centre has been superb and he has been a real threat on free-kicks. Maddison already has three goals to his name, one of which came from a free-kick 20 yards out against Huddersfield Town.
Sancho, 18, is currently the talk of the town at his German club Borussia Dortmund, who he joined in August last year from Manchester City. The winger’s outstanding flair and footwork, combined with his blistering pace, has caused opposition defenders a lot of trouble this season.
Despite being used as a substitute most of the time, Sancho’s impact has been very effective and he seems to be learning and growing immensely in the process. His awareness on the pitch has also been terrific and he has a natural feel to the game that has a few clubs in England monitoring him at the moment.
The Chelsea loanee, who is currently thriving under the guidance of Frank Lampard at Derby County, has been at the heart of The Rams’ resurgence to get back into the Premier League this term.
The midfielder has been playing for the country’s youth teams since U16 level and is tipped to return to Stamford Bridge in the future to become the next Lampard.
Mount was instrumental in Derby’s Carabao Cup win over Manchester United at Old Trafford last month and has already made 15 appearances for Derby this season. At the age of only 19, Mount has looked composed and calm on the field with an exceptional work rate.