With the next international break quickly approaching, the time has come for Roy Hodgson to start thinking about his squad for the away fixtures against San Marino and Montenegro.
Who will the manager choose as he will look to maintain his unbeaten start to the qualifying campaign? There is often a surprise call-up or two and there are players that deserve one, without a doubt. Here’s a selection of absentees or debutants who may, or deserve to, get the call.
After recently making himself available once again for international games, the West Brom keeper deserves a call after starring in an excellent season for the Baggies. The stopper is a reason they currently lie in 9th place and he has been vital. He recently cited ex-boss Hodgson as a reason for ending his international exile and he is currently the next best English keeper after Joe Hart and would make a great understudy, whilst pushing the Man City keeper for the starting spot.
Rickie Lambert is a goal scorer. He is the highest scoring Englishman in the Premier League this season and this deserves recognition. He recently scored his 100th Southampton goal in only 186 appearances and the 31-year old has proved he has a knack for scoring after bagging in the country’s top 3 divisions. In the last international break, England’s frontline seemed to struggle with injuries and gave Hodgson little to choose from, but giving Lambert a chance against San Marino would be a good opportunity to see if he could score on the international stage too.
Adam Le Fondre
If Lambert deserves a call for his goals in the Premier League, Reading fans may argue Le Fondre deserves one too. Whilst his goals have mostly come from the bench, the striker has proven to be a poacher in the box and seems to get in the right places at the right times. He has only two less goals than Saints man Lambert but he has appeared from the bench more often, with 17 substitute appearances. The ex-Rotherham man scored vital goals last year which helped Reading on their way to promotion and a substitute appearance for the national team may just help England see off their opponents in the closing stages of games. Last year it was Grant Holt who was being touted for a call-up. But maybe this time Le Fondre or Lambert will get the call.
Leon Britton has played an instrumental role in Swansea’s rise up the football league and his second year in the Premier League has shown he is capable of playing in one of the world’s best leagues. The 30-year old, at only 5ft 5in, helps Swansea play football the right way and he has the ability to control the tempo of games in central midfield. He has been underrated in Swansea’s league cup success and last year he went fairly unnoticed, as midfield partner Joe Allen gathered the plaudits from the Swans midfield. Whilst some may rightly argue he isn’t up there with the Lampard and Gerrard, he may just be the player to sit back and form a good partnership with Jack Wilshere. But at the age of 30, there won’t be many more chances on the international front for Britton, and picking him now would be well deserved and possibly beneficial to the team.
The man who QPR nearly signed in the summer is now starring for Spurs once again in the centre of defence. With John Terry out of the international fold and Joleon Lescott playing less for Man City, Hodgson would want someone playing regularly to partner Gary Cahill. The Spurs captain has already been capped four times for his country and he has kept future England international Steven Caulker out of the Spurs team with his inspiring performances at the centre of defence. With fellow defender Phil Jagielka undergoing surgery, this could be Dawson’s ideal opportunity to start for England. Should he not start, Dawson should certainly make Hodgson’s squad.