Gareth Southgate only has four friendlies before this summer’s European Championships, and the Three Lions boss has plenty of tough calls to make over the next few months in regards to his final 23-man squad. Plenty of players have been in and around his squad over the last 12 months, while others have staked their claim this season. But who has an outside chance of taking a spot in the final 23? We look at 20 players who could spring a surprise and force their way into Southgate’s squad…
Bournemouth shot-stopper Aaron Ramsdale has become first-choice under Eddie Howe, and if he can play a key role in the Cherries’ fight for Premier League survival, he could be in contention to land one of Southgate’s three goalkeeper spots.
Another ‘keeper who may well have caught Southgate’s eye is Fraser Forster. He’s returned to Celtic on loan and has shown he can still perform in a big game. He was brilliant in the Hoops’ League Cup final win over rivals Rangers back in December.
Aaron Wan Bissaka
To many, right-back Aaron Wan Bissaka has a real chance of getting a spot in the final 23. However, with Southgate already having plenty of experienced options to choose from in that department, we feel that the United man has an outside chance of reaching his first major tournament if he can continue to impress at Old Trafford.
Another young Manchester United full-back who may have caught Southgate’s eye recently is Brandon Williams. The 19-year-old has broken into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first-team plans, and if he can keep out Luke Shaw over the next few months, then who knows!
Chris Smalling has got his club career back on track with an impressive loan spell with Roma, and his form abroad could be enough to land himself a surprise spot in the 23 this summer.
Chelsea’s Reece James is slowly establishing himself as part of Frank Lampard’s first-team plans, and if he can continue to feature regularly for the Blues, his versatility could appeal to Southgate.
If Southgate was to go solely off club form, then Everton’s Mason Holgate would be in with a real shot for selection. The versatile defender has excelled with the Toffees and may well be in Southgate’s plans.
Jose Mourinho has placed his trust in youngster Japhet Tanganga at the back since the turn of the year, and he’s grabbed his opportunity with both hands. If he can continue to star for Spurs, then surely Southgate will have a look at the 20-year-old.
Brighton’s Ben White has excelled on loan at Leeds United this season and has been tipped to become an England regular in years to come. A good reader of the game and excellent on the ball, White may well have an outside chance of making Southgate’s final squad.
Sheffield United’s Jack O’Connell has been in brilliant form for the Blades over the last 18 months and has taken to Premier League life with ease. Comfortable on the ball and solid defensively, he could be another central defender on Southgate’s radar.
James Ward-Prowse has two senior caps for his country but hasn’t been a regular in Southgate’s squads. However, following his excellent displays for Southampton in recent months, the set-piece specialist could be under consideration for a recall to the national side.
Southgate was present at Elland Road last month to closely watch Leeds United’s holding midfielder Kalvin Phillips. The Three Lions boss isn’t littered with options in front of the back four, so the tough-tackling Phillips may well earn a shock spot, despite never turning out in the Premier League. He also kept Mesut Ozil quiet in the FA Cup last month.
Another no-nonsense midfielder is Leicester City’s Hamza Choudhury. The defensive midfielder is excellent on the ball, however, he’ll probably have to feature more in Brendan Rodgers’ side from now until the end of the season to have any chance.
Newcastle’s Sean Longstaff has an admirer in Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who is reportedly keen on his services. The boyhood Magpies fan will be hoping that Southgate feels the same at international level, and if he can consistently perform for Steve Bruce’s side over the next few months, he might have a slim chance of receiving a call up this summer.
Phil Foden has been tipped to break into the England side for several years, however, he’s still awaiting his first cap. Southgate will know all about the Manchester City youngster’s ability and could decide to include the teenager in his 23.
Norwich City’s Todd Cantwell has been one of the best performers in a struggling Canaries side this season, staking his claim for a shock call up. He’ll need to continue his fine form over the next three months to have any chance of making the squad, though.
Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi was starting to become a regular under Southgate prior to his long-term injury. He’s now back in action, but with several other attacking stars now seemingly ahead of him in the pecking order, it appears as if the Blues youngster only has an outside chance of making the squad this summer.
Southgate could face a dilemma up front, with both Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford currently out injured. Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin could have a slim chance of making the squad, providing he continues his fine form under Carlo Ancelotti.
Another young central attacking option could be Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood. The 18-year-old has been one of a few bright spots for the Red Devils this season and with England known for taking a surprise teenage attacker to a major tournament, Greenwood could be the next.
The final man on our shortlist is Leicester City’s Harvey Barnes. He’s gone from strength to strength under Brendan Rodgers over the last 12 months and could be a shrewd wide option for Southgate.