England squad to face Spain and Switzerland: New players manager Gareth Southgate could select, including Joe Gomez and Jadon Sancho

22 Aug

The World Cup may only feel like five minutes ago, but manager Gareth Southgate is already due to name his England squad, on 30 August, for September’s double-header.

First up is the inaugural UEFA Nations League match against Spain at Wembley on September 8, before the friendly against Switzerland at the King Power Stadium on September 11.

Here, talkSPORT.com looks at some of the players who may have caught Southgate’s eye in the opening Premier League matches.

1. James Maddison, Leicester City

Maddison has made the switch from Championship to Premier League appear seamless

Injury prevented the 21-year-old from spending time with England’s squad during their World Cup preparations and a fine start to life in the Premier League at Leicester will have given Southgate further food for thought. Maddison impressed against Manchester United and then kicked on with a goal in a 2-0 defeat of Wolves, making the £20m his club paid Championship club Norwich seem like money well spent.

2. Luke Shaw, Manchester United

Luke Shaw was part of England’s 2014 World Cup, but missed out on Gareth Southgate’s 2018 squad

Four years ago he was the youngest player of any nation to get minutes at the World Cup. This time around, a lack of form, fitness and game time meant the Manchester United left-back watched the 2018 edition from afar. But Shaw’s summer fitness regime – and seemingly improved relationship with Jose Mourinho – is paying dividends. The 23-year-old capped a man-of-the-match display in the season-opening win against Leicester with his first professional goal and was one of few whose reputation didn’t suffer in the loss at Brighton. Shaw worked with Southgate at Under-21s level and has won one senior cap under him.

3. Theo Walcott, Everton

Walcott has won 47 England caps so far

After working hard to help 10-man Everton secure a draw at Wolves, the 29-year-old wound back the years with a fine display against former club Southampton. Walcott opened the scoring at the end of a fine free-kick routine before sending in an exceptional cross for Richarlison to direct home in a 2-1 win at Goodison Park. Southgate was in the stands as Walcott scored and created a goal in a Premier League match for the first time since January 2013. Three of his 47 international caps came under the current England boss, but the his last came in November 2016.

4. Callum Wilson, Bournemouth

Wilson could benefit from Vardy’s request to not be selected for international fixtures

Long linked with an international call-up, the Bournemouth striker pressed his case with an impressive start to the 2018/19 season. Wilson scored in the 2-0 opening-day victory against Cardiff and inspired a comeback win at West Ham in style, slaloming through to slot home and secure a 2-1 win. The 26-year-old looks superb for a player who has had to deal with anterior cruciate ligament injuries in both knees in recent years, displaying an attitude as impressive as his aptitude. Now Jamie Vardy has stepped aside, he could well be in with a chance of pulling on an England shirt for the first time. This is a view talkSPORT’s Tony Cascarino appears to agree with. Writing in The Times, he said:  “One player I would bring into the squad is Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson, who is quite similar to Vardy. A relentless runner, very quick and with an eye for goal, he can operate alone up front or in a strike pairing. He has had two long-term injuries but come back as good as ever.”

5. Jadon Sancho, Borussia Dortmund

Jadon Sancho joined Borussia Dortmund from Manchester City in 2017

Sancho’s development has been rapid, helped by his decision to leave Manchester City for Borussia Dortmund in 2017. The 18-year-old is understood to have been in Southgate’s plans since helping England to win the Under-17 World Cup last year and although not a direct replacement for Vardy, is believed to be in with a shout of being selected for the September games. After playing for Dortmund against City during a pre-season friendly, he said: “I’m happy that we won and happy to play against my old club. I had a point to prove and I think I did well in the game.” Ben Foden and Ryan Sessegnon, though, could nab themselves a place in the U21 squad.

6. Joe Gomez, Liverpool

Gomez has played all three of Liverpool’s opening Premier League games

Injury at the end of last season cost the Liverpool defender a place in both the Champions League final and England’s World Cup squad, but now he has returned to first team action, Southgate is likely to have given great consideration to selecting Gomez. The manager has watched the 21-year-old this season and his chances will have been increased by Gary Cahill’s decision to step away from the international scene. In any case, he is certain to add to his three England caps.

7. Alex McCarthy, Southampton

Alex McCarthy is Southampton’s current no.1 despite having competition from £13.5m signing Angus Gunn

Jordan Pickford will remain the no.1 and it is thought Jack Butland will be retained despite Stoke City playing in the Championship, though his case is helped by the fact Nick Pope is out and Tom Heaton has lost his place to Joe Hart. So there are rumours Southgate has been pondering giving McCarthy a chance as he re-thinks his goalkeeper options. Hart was left out of the final World Cup squad, so it’s hard to imagine the manager asking to have him back and McCarthy has kept Angus Gunn out of the Saints side despite being a £13.5m summer signing from Manchester City.