Here we are, stuck in the not-so-sweet spot when domestic football has been put on pause for the international break, but those games haven’t even started yet. England’s first game, for instance, is not until the end of the week.
On Friday 17th October, the Three Lions host Malta in their Euro 2024 qualifying match and then three days later they travel to North Macedonia in their final qualifying game. They have, however, already confirmed their position in next summer’s tournament, so it’s not as if an awful lot is riding on these games.
This will give Gareth Southgate a slightly more relaxed environment to try out a few new faces in the team and this has been somewhat represented in the squad he picked. Indeed, after initially naming some more experienced names in his team, injuries forced him into trying out a couple of newcomers on the international stage.
Three new stars set for possible England debuts
James Maddison, Callum Wilson and Lewis Dunk all withdrew due to fitness issues, allowing Cole Palmer, Ezri Konsa and Rico Lewis all to get a call-up into the England squad for the very first time. After the fine start to the Premier League season all three have made, there will be interest to see how they get on this week.
Palmer is the most eye-catching name of the trio. He has impressed plenty since moving from Manchester City to Chelsea in the summer and scored a vital last-gasp penalty against his former side in the thrilling 4-4 draw last weekend. Konsa has been key at the heart of Unai Emery’s defence, starting every Aston Villa league game as the Villans have risen to fifth in the decision. And, despite his young age, Lewis continues to stand out for City whenever called upon by Pep Guardiola having played 10 times in all competitions already this term for the treble winners.
And while we haven’t got an opportunity to see them in action just yet, a least we’ve been able to catch a glimpse of them in training. In fact, in a recent bit offootage shared on X(formerly Twitter) Palmer and Lewis really caught the eye with their technical brilliance.
The England players were taking part in a high-intensity rondo and the two new faces stood side by side, passing the ball between one another at a ridiculous speed and then popping it off to teammates, all the while keeping it from the men chasing in the middle. You can enjoy the video below.
The levels on this. Wow. pic.twitter.com/WP75GlTygB
— HLTCO (@HLTCO) November 15, 2023
Palmer shocked to get England call-up
They certainly don’t look out of place and it’s hard not to feel excited about how they could get on for England if Southgate gives either man the chance to impress. Palmer, in particular, must be feeling delighted after he made a big call to leave boyhood club Man City in the summer for Chelsea. But that really has paid off already.
Footage of him telling new teammate Conor Gallagher about his reaction to the call-up also went viral this week, with the attacking midfielder admitting he wasn’t sure if he was being pranked at first. Indeed, he said he thought the call was “a blag at first.”