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Five Outsiders Who Deserve to be Called up to the England Squad | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Nathan Redmond was in the team of the tournament at the U21 Euros in 2015 but he is yet to play for the senior side. Photograph: Joe Toth/BPI/Rex/Shutterstock

Gareth Southgate has a number of decisions to make as he prepares to name his third squad since replacing Sam Allardyce as England manager. The absence of Harry Kane and, in all likelihood, Jordan Henderson means there will be places for grabs in the starting XI, let alone the squad, so number of fringe players may be hopeful of a call-up. Here are five in-form Premier League players who deserve recognition before the matches with Germany and Lithuania.

Jordan Pickford

Jordan Pickford has secured the highest rating of all goalkeepers in the Premier League this season (7.09). Sunderland could have been dead and buried by now but for his efforts. The 23-year-old has made more saves per game than any other top-flight keeper (4.7), so it’s not hard to see why he is attracting interest from some of the league’s richest clubs.

Joe Hart remains a shoo-in for the squad given his international experience; Ben Foster looks solid at West Brom; and Tom Heaton has enjoyed a good season with Burnley; but Southgate may want to establish Pickford in the senior set-up sooner rather than later. With Fraser Forster seemingly suffering from a crisis of confidence – only Claudio Bravo has a worse save success rate in the Premier League – there may be a spot up for grabs.

Harry Maguire

Harry Maguire may not be given the call just yet but the Hull centre-back has been key to the Tigers’ survival prospects this season, stepping up in the absence of injured pair Michael Dawson and Curtis Davies. The 24-year-old has been in fine form since the turn of the year in particular, with his rating of 7.47 in 2017 the highest of all the centre-backs in the Premier League.

In that time Maguire ranks among the top five players in the Premier League for clearances (72), headed clearances (57) and blocks (10), with his physicality proving a real bonus to Marco Silva’s side. Maguire is not just a big unit who can hold off attackers with his strength. He also has commendable ability on the ball and offers a real threat in the opposition box too. Indeed, in 2017 he is the Premier League centre-back with the most attempts at goal (14) and dribbles out from the back (10). With Phil Jagielka ageing and Chris Smalling not getting the sort of game time he would hope for in the league, Maguire is among a crop of younger defenders waiting in the wings.

Michael Keane

If Maguire does not make the squad, that position may be filled by Michael Keane, who was included in Southgate’s previous selection. The England boss knows plenty about the Burnley man from their time together in the Under-21s and Keane has been one of the most consistent centre-backs in the Premier League this season. He too is believed to be in demand and it would be a surprise if the 24-year-old remains at Turf Moor too much longer given the ease with which he has made the step up to the Premier League in his second shot at top-flight football with the club.

Keane is the third highest-rated English centre-back in the top flight (7.12), with no player having blocked more shots all season (36). He’s among the top five for clearances and has put in strong showings against some of the Premier League’s top teams this season, most notably when he returned to Old Trafford to face his former club and when Burnley faced Liverpool at the weekend.

Ross Barkley

Beyond Harry Kane, who will miss the upcoming internationals through injury, few Englishmen have hit the heights that Barkley has managed in 2017. The playmaker recently received glowing praise from his manager, Ronald Koeman, who suggested the 23-year-old deserves a chance in the No10 role for England. Barkley looks to be back at his best after an underwhelming start to the season. His assist for Romelu Lukaku’s goal at the weekend was his seventh of the season, which leads the way for Everton, while his return of four goals is second only to Lukaku.

Barkley has been overlooked for the last three international squads and he did not play a single minute at Euro 2016. The youngster, behind the aforementioned Lukaku (7.93) and Kane (7.86), has earned the third highest Premier League rating in 2017 (7.74), with only Christian Eriksen creating more chances in that time.

Nathan Redmond

He may be a long shot, but when it comes to players Gareth Southgate has been able to trust in England colours, Nathan Redmond ranks highly. The Southampton player was consistently one of the top performers for the Under-21s under Southgate and he is among a select few who have not frozen on the international stage for England. Indeed, England flopped at the U21 European Championship in 2015, but Redmond performed admirably to earn a place in Uefa’s team of the tournament.

That was nearly two year ago, but the winger has been in good form of late. His man-of-the-match showing against Watford in Southampton’s last match was well timed, with a brace in that game helping to give Southampton a 4-3 win. He has only scored five goals in the league this season, so his finishing needs work. He has only provided one assist this season but that owes a great deal to poor finishing from his team-mates, with the youngster having created the most chances from open play (43) of any Englishman in the Premier League.