Aidy Boothroyd’s England Under-21s continued their impressive start to their Euro 2021 qualification campaign with a 2-0 win over Kosovo on Monday night, maintaining their 100% record following Friday’s victory over Turkey.
Which prompts some eternal questions, like which members of Monday’s starting XI could do a job for the Three Lions propah? Or, if you’re more orderly, you could rank the whole starting XI based on this proposition?
Yeah, why not.
Oh, and just FYI, hotshot Reece James is injured, while Rhian Brewster, Mason Greenwood and Oliver Skipp were all restricted to the bench, so they’re obviously ineligible. #sorrynotsorry
11. Marc Guehi
Marc Guehi is a talented player, clearly. Anyone who has seen him will tell you that. The man has the cojones to take a no-look penalty in a UEFA Youth League quarter-final, FFS.
The thing is, Marc Guehi is also a Chelsea player, and even at Frank Lampard’s Chelsea, there’s a limit to the youthful influx. Guehi still has a fair way to go until he’s knocking on Frank’s door, and that means the same will likely apply with Gareth Southgate.
10. Steven Sessegnon
Steven Sessegnon is the lesser-known brother of teen sensation Ryan Sessegnon. Ryan Sessegnon is yet to earn his England cap.
9. Trevoh Chalobah
Hold on a minute. Nepotism was supposed to be rife in football? Yet the two players with famous big brothers can’t get a gig? Weird.
Trevoh Chalobah is a Chelsea youth team hero. He is also at Huddersfield. This is, probably, a problem.
8. Max Aarons
Max Aarons is one of the most recognisable names on this list. But he is also primarily a right-back, and that is the most stacked position going in the England set-up (hell, the world) at the minute.
His ankle injury on Monday night doesn’t help, either.
7. Aaron Ramsdale
The AFC Bournemouth number one is probably not a better player than Max Aarons. But he is also a goalkeeper, so he only has three blokes to compete with for a spot in Southgate’s squad, and none of them are that good anyway, so yeah, he’s got a better shot.
6. Morgan Gibbs-White
The kid has got talent. The kid has also got the prospect of more minutes at Molineux this season, considering the Europa League campaign.
The kid could get, therefore, realistically get better.
5. Ben Godfrey
Ben Godfrey does not hog the limelight like Aarons in Norfolk, but he is also a centre back, and that helps. Sure, Southgate has his staples in John Stones, Harry Maguire and Joe Gomez at the minute, but after that, it’s not long before you get to Phil Jones and Chris Smalling.
That plays in anyone’s favour, let alone someone who is captaining the Under-21s and is wanted by Spurs.
4. Eddie Nketiah
After a strong pre-season with Arsenal, Eddie Nketiah joined Leeds, and he’s nabbed three goals in his first five starts. So, all is rosy. The only problem is, well, England have a generational striker at the minute. GENERATIONAL.
I’m talking about Ashley Barnes, obviously, the only caveat being Southgate hasn’t quite sealed the deal yet. Harry Kane ain’t too shabby either, mind.
3. Tom Davies
It seems a fair few years ago now that Tom Davies’ wondrous blonde curls were lighting up the Premier League in Everton’s infamous 4-0 dismantling of Manchester City. And that’s cause it was – two years, to be exact.
Still, at 21, Davies isn’t yet one of those over 21 Under-21 internationals, and his performance against Kosovo has been described as a ‘statement’.
Something something Ross Barkley something something creativity something something England.
2. Reiss Nelson
The former Hoffenheim loanee is now back at Arsenal
There was thought that Gaz might offer him a call up last November amid his flying start to life in Germany, but this was proved wrong when the England gaffer not only failed to do so, but told him he shouldn’t expect to just be able to ‘roll up’.
Well, the rolling could be on its way any minute now.
1. Phil Foden
Obviously. There’s a reason we’ve gone back to black and white for big Phil, and that reason is that Phil Foden is French New Wave Cinema. Phil Foden is Alfonso Cuaron’s ‘Roma’. Phil Foden is an Artiste. An Auteur. And a goalscoring one at that, too, with both scores against the Kosovans.
On top of that, he’s the most talented player Pep Guardiola – the fourth-greatest manager of all-time (according to us) – has ever seen, so yeah, he’s probably got a shot.