Following withdrawals from the Three Lions squad, a trio of players have been called up to replace them.
Following the latest round of Premier League action last weekend, domestic football has been paused, with the final international break of 2023 now underway. Gareth Southgate’s England are set to play two matches over the next fortnight against Malta and North Macedonia in their last two qualification matches for the 2024 European Championships in Germany.
The Three Lions will take on Malta under the arch at the iconic Wembley Stadium on Friday, 17th November, before they travel to the Toše Proeski Arena to face North Macedonia in their final qualification match ahead of the Euros in 2024. England sealed their place in that tournament with their 3 – 1 victory against Italy, but the results from these two matches will decide if Southgate’s side wins their qualification group.
The 25 man England squad initially selected for the November internationals by Gareth Southgate was the following:
Defenders: Levi Colwill (Chelsea), Lewis Dunk (Brighton & Hove Albion, Marc Guéhi (Crystal Palace), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Fikayo Tomori (AC Milan), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle United) & Kyle Walker (Manchester City).
Midfielders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Al-Ettifaq), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City) & Declan Rice (Arsenal).
Forwards: Jarrod Bowen (West Ham United), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Bayern Munich), James Maddison (Tottenham Hotspur), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa) & Callum Wilson (Newcastle United).
However, there have been some withdrawals from this original squad due to injuries. Tottenham Hotspur’s James Maddison, Brighton & Hove Albion’s Lewis Dunk and Newcastle United’s Callum Wilson are the players who have been forced to withdraw.
This meant that Gareth Southgate had to call up some replacements, and they have since arrived at St. George’s Park in the form of Chelsea’s Cole Palmer, Aston Villa’s Ezri Konsa and Manchester City’s Rico Lewis. This is the first time any of these three players have been called up to England’s senior squad in their respective careers.
Jude Bellingham and Levi Colwill have had to withdraw on Tuesday, also due to injuries.
Starting with Cole Palmer, he has represented England from the under 15s level, and has since represented his country at every youth level. A product of Manchester City’s youth academy, Palmer decided to sign for Premier League rivals Chelsea for a reported fee of £42.5 million in 2023 after 13 years with the Cityzens.
He has made a superb start to his time with the Blues with 4 goals and 4 assists in his 11 appearances in all competitions so far this season. He most recently scored from the penalty spot to earn his new team a 4 – 4 draw against old club and reigning Premier League Champions Manchester City at Stamford Bridge in the final game before this international break.
Now we move on to Aston Villa central defender Ezri Konsa, who, as mentioned earlier, has earned a first call-up to the England Senior Squad of his career so far. The former Charlton Athletic and Brentford player has experienced success at youth level with England – he was part of the Under 20 squad to win the World Cup in 2017 and the Toulon Tournament with the Under 21s.
Konsa began his career with Charlton Athletic in 2016. After 71 appearances in 2 years with the Addicks, the defender moved to then-Championship side Brentford. In his single season with the Bees, he impressed in his 42 appearances, earning a move to Premier League Aston Villa on 11th July 2019.
At the time of writing, he has made 156 appearances for the Villans in his four years with the club. He also signed a contract extension on 20th September 2023, meaning his deal with Villa now expires on 30th June 2028.
Finally, Manchester City’s Rico Lewis has the chance to earn his first senior cap for England after representing his country from Under 16s level upwards. The 18-year-old currently has 4 caps at Under 21 level.
The defender graduated to the Cityzens’ senior team as recently as 2022, and last season, he made 23 senior appearances for Pep Guardiola’s side. Lewis was part of the Manchester City team who had a trophy laden 2022/23 campaign that included a third consecutive Premier League title and a maiden UEFA Champions League title.
All three players will be hoping to become the latest players to earn their first senior caps for England against Malta and North Macedonia over the course of the next fortnight.
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