There could be surprising inclusions in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for their Nations League semi-final clash against the Netherlands on June 6.
At least 11 of his group could be involved for Tottenham, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea in Champions League and Europa League finals that take place on June 1 and May 29, respectably.
Eric Dier, Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Kieran Trippier, Danny Rose, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Jordan Henderson, Danny Welbeck, Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek may all feature for their clubs just days before England play in Portugal.
It is not an ideal scenario for Southgate, who previously admitted it would be a ‘mess’ if one or two English clubs reached the Champions League final.
In March, he said: “It could be a mess.
“Let’s say if two of our teams made it to the Champions League final then we wouldn’t see them, at best, until the Monday before we play on the Thursday.”
So, if Southgate wants fresh legs, who could be in line for an unexpected call-up?
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Crystal Palace)
Wan-Bissaka is unfortunate to be competing against Kyle Walker, Alexander-Arnold and Trippier for a place in the senior squad.
Given Trippier’s inconsistent form since the 2018 World Cup, the right-back could be forgiven for feeling hard done by after missing out on the Czech Republic and Montenegro wins in March.
Wan-Bissaka, 21, has started 35 Premier League games this season, showing consistency and maturity beyond his years. It is surely a matter of time before the youngster earns a senior cap.
Ryan Bertrand (Southampton)
Bertrand criticised Gareth Southgate’s ‘oversight’ after he failed to make the 23-man World Cup squad last summer – and March 2018 remains the last time he was called up. But with Rose playing in a Champions League final just five days before the Netherlands clash, Bertrand could be recalled. After returning from a three-month injury lay-off in February, he helped Southampton to huge wins over Tottenham and Wolves to preserve the club’s top-flight status.
James Maddison (Leicester)
After his impressive debut season in the Premier League, a call-up to the senior side wouldn’t be too shocking. He was left out of the senior squad in March as Southgate said the 22-year-old’s No.10 position did not fit into England’s current formation (4-4-3).
Since Brendan Rodgers’ appointment at the King Power Stadium, Maddison has successfully played in a midfield three alongside Wilfred Ndidi and Youri Tielemans.
Could a senior England debut be around the corner for the playmaker?
Conor Coady (Wolves)
Joe Gomez, who is likely to be on the bench against Tottenham, is England’s only centre-back playing in the Champions League or Europa League final, however, it could still be difficult for Southgate to ignore Coady’s terrific season.
He was just one of three outfield players to play every minute of the 2018/19 Premier League campaign as he captained Wolves to a seventh-placed finish in their first season back in the top-flight.
He and his team-mates will be playing European football next term if Watford fail to beat Manchester City in the FA Cup final this weekend, live on talkSPORT. Coady is a ball-playing defender and seems ready-made for Southgate’s England squad.
Phil Foden (Manchester City)
Pep Guardiola started Foden against Tottenham and Leicester in their title run-in, a sign of how much the Spaniard trusts him.
The 18-year-old scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Spurs before lasting 56 minutes in another 1-0 victory against Leicester. Southgate has put his faith in youth before after selecting and playing Callum Hudson-Odoi, 18, against the Czech Republic and Montenegro in March.
Foden, who made 26 appearances in the 2018/19 season, could be the next youngster to star for England.
Jack Grealish (Aston Villa)
Explaining his reasoning behind Grealish’s previous omissions from the England squad, Southgate stressed the midfielder must play in the Premier League to be considered for a call-up.
The 23-year-old has been Aston Villa’s star man this season – and his quality was on show once more in the club’s 2-1 Championship play-off semi-final first leg win over West Brom on Saturday.
Grealish assisted Conor Hourihane’s equaliser before winning a penalty, which Tammy Abraham’s converted for the winner.
He also scored a penalty in their shootout win at West Brom in the second leg as Villa went through to Wembley on Tuesday night.
By the end of the month, Grealish could be a Premier League player and on the verge of an England cap.