For a man characterised as dull and boring, England boss Gareth Southgate has certainly surprised many with his squad selections since his appointment. The former Middlesbrough boss has shown he is not afraid to pick exciting young players.
His World Cup squad selection showed that to facet to his character. Maybe it should not be a surprise that he is not averse to picking youngsters considering he was formerly the England u-21 boss.
Southgate has continued in a similar vein by calling up Chelsea’s highly-rated youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi and West Ham’s Declan Rice for the Three Lions Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro.
The fact that Hudson-Odoi has earned a call-up without starting a Premier League match has led to question marks over his selection. However, his inclusion just shows Southgate’s determination to blood young players.
Promising youngsters excite fans
For a long time, there was a great feeling of apathy towards the England team. The same old players were picked and the Three Lions constantly underperformed at the major tournaments.
However, in recent years that has changed. It is a fact that supporters get excited by promising youngsters coming through the ranks, whether that be at club or international level. They have that feeling of unknown and potential about them. That is why watching the likes of Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Hudson-Odoi in his fleeting appearances for Chelsea has been so good.
There are plenty of talented youngsters around the Three Lions squad. However, Sancho and Hudson-Odoi’s pace and ability to beat a man is a dying art. There are not many of those sorts of players in the game, as players turn to robot-like clones.
So, when a player who can beat a man and dribble, they should be treasured. Thankfully, England have two such players, who are not even out of their teens yet. If the pair fulfil their undoubted potential, they could be terrifying opposition defences in England shirts for many years to come.
Rice is a more solid addition
The likes of Hudson-Odoi and Sancho are promising young attacking players. However, England’s other fresh recruit Declan Rice provides a more solid addition to the Three Lions squad.
Rice has impressed in the centre of the West Ham midfielder this season after breaking into the team last season. The 20-year-old’s performances have been those of a much older player. He seems to have a mature head on young shoulders.
The fact that England fought of the Republic of Ireland for Rice’s services shows how highly-rated the Hammers star is in the game. Rice had already represented the Republic three times.
However, he failed to make a competitive appearance for Ireland, so was allowed to switch his allegiance back to the country of his birth. I have a feeling that the decision will be a good one for the player and England.
Youngsters may feature against the Czech Republic
England host Czech Republic on Friday night a Wembley, a game the Three Lions are odds of 2/7 to win. Southgate’s side are expected to win their opening match after an impressive end to their Nations League campaign.
The new recruits in Southgate’s squad seem unlikely to start the game against the Czech Republic. However, they may be used at some point, depending on the situation. Rice would be a good player to throw on if the Three Lions needed to consolidate a lead.
On the other hand, if England needed a goal, then Hudson-Odoi is capable of making an explosive impact from the bench.
Looking at the current England squad, I am actually quite excited to watch them play. It is in great contrast to not so long ago when I would have shut the curtains if they were playing in my back garden.
Southgate is still learning as a head coach. However, one of the decisions he has got spot on is his introduction of young players to the squad and long may it continue too.
Will Rice and Hudson-Odoi feature for England on Friday night?
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