England manager Gareth Southgate named the Three Lions squad for two Euro 2020 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Kosovo. Apart from the usual suspects and surprise omissions, Southgate named four uncapped players. What do they really add to the team? Bet on Euro 2020 qualifiers here.
Tyrone Mings, Manchester United’s 22-year-old Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 20-year-old Mason Mount of Chelsea and the 23-year-old Leicester City midfielder James Maddison were called up to the squad. Both Mount and Maddison had previously been called up to the senior squad but never made an appearance.
Mings, 26, was instrumental in Villa’s promotion from the Championship last season after joining on loan from Premier League side Bournemouth. He made the move permanent in a £25m summer transfer.
Like Mings, Chelsea’s Mount spent last season on loan in the Championship with Derby, where he impressed playing for Frank Lampard. Furthermore, he’s made a superb start in the league with the Blues, scoring twice in their opening three league games.
Kyle Walker was a surprise omission but Southgate said that Walker understood that these qualifiers were to give young talent like Wan-Bissaka and Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold a chance in the national set-up. The United full-back has since withdrawn from the team due to injury.
But what do Mings, Mount and Maddison really bring? What options do they give Southgate?
Maddison has made a terrific start to the season for unbeaten Leicester. Only Kevin De Bruyne (four) has recorded more assists than Maddison’s two in the Premier League, while the Foxes midfielder sits at the top of the take-on standings, completing 11. The 2018 World Cup exposed England’s lack of midfielders who can run the game, like Croatia’s Luka Modric against the Three Lions in 2018’s semi-final.
Despite consistently producing for the Foxes in the Premier League in 2019, the England manager has been reluctant to call him up. The 23-year-old created more chances than any other player in the 2018/2019 season. Maddison can be England’s ‘Modric’ or ‘Andres Iniesta’, a player that can stand out when it comes to ball possession, passing, creativity and general control of big games. At his age he has a chance to develop into that role.
On the other hand, Mount has made an instant impact for Chelsea and according to Southgate, his call-up was on merit. He has started all four of the team’s league fixtures, either in the No.10 role or on the left. His performances for Chelsea and for Derby last season has prompted comparisons to Lampard. The Chelsea manager was a pure No.8, a box-to-box player of enormous power and endurance, who loved to make runs into the opposition box.
Mount is always positioned further up the pitch and an eye for goal is a similarity he shares with his boss. These qualities make Mount a valuable player for any team. It will be up to Southgate to decide where he wants to play the youngster but wherever he’ll play, he will produce.
Mings has been on the Three Lions radar for quite some time. His height, speed, combativeness and composure on the ball ticks a lot of boxes for a central defender, and most importantly, he is left-footed. The 26-year-old’s comeback from a cruciate ligament injury has been remarkable.
With Southgate’s preference for a three-man defence, his partnership with established starters Harry Maguire and Michael Keane or Joe Gomez, seems like a solid backline. Moreover, Mings has learned a thing or two from Villa’s assistant coach John Terry.