Michael Olise, Matt O’Riley in 7 stars who can pick England for World Cup
Gareth Southgate has named his England squad for the Nations League but may still call up a number of players who are yet to sign up for the World Cup – such as Michael Olise and Matt O’Riley.
The Three Lions will face Italy and Germany in their final games before jetting off to Qatar this month. England travel to the San Siro on September 23 to face the Azzurri before hosting Die Mannschaft at Wembley on September 26 to complete League A Group 3 of the Nations League.
Southgate has named an expanded 28-man squad for England’s September schedule with a view to the World Cup. Included was the first call-up at any level for Brentford ace Ivan Toney and Tottenham Hotspur’s Eric Dier returns for the first time since March 2021.
Some of the Three Lions could be lucky enough to feature in Southgate’s Nations League plans. While a number of stars left out by the England boss may feel sad to have been overlooked despite impressing for their teams at domestic level.
It is clear that Southgate’s options will be wide open when it comes to naming the England squad for the World Cup in Qatar. However, he can still look beyond his proven options as a player who can add something new in the first Fifa tournament played in the Middle East.
So, with that in mind, HITC Sport takes a look at seven players who may sign up for England ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar who are yet to play on the senior international stage…
Gareth Southgate should try to get Michael Olis to sign for England
One player Southgate should try to claim for England is Crystal Palace winger Michael Olise. The 20-year-old was born in London but played his international football with France at U18 and U21 level without any caps for the Young Lions.
Olise has only played once for Les Bleus’ U21s, with a 26-minute cameo against the Faroe Islands this March on his debut. But by appearing in a UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifier, England bosses now fear Olise will announce his footballing future to France.
“I saw he was called up to the under-21s with France. At that point I would say so [a no to England] it would be,” U21 coach Lee Carsley said, via The Athletic . “Like many dual-national players, that is their right. We can’t guarantee them anything.”
Carsley alerted Olise to England’s interest before accepting the France Under-21 call-up. The Young Lions boss has been keen to bring the forward – also eligible for Nigeria – into his squad after he impressed with a dynamic and creative attacking display at Crystal Palace.
Real Sociedad striker Momo Cho can opt for England or France
Real Sociedad striker Momo Cho could sign up for England or France ahead of the World Cup in Qatar. The 18-year-old has already enjoyed appearances at youth level for both nations, with Young Lions U15 and U16 caps and appearances for Les Bleus at U17, U19 and U21.
Cho was born in the French commune of Stains, a northern suburb of Paris, but spent most of his youth in England. He joined Everton’s academy from Paris Saint-Germain at the age of 11, with the forward moving regularly as his parents worked in London, according to the Mirror.
The striker would not break through at Goodison Park before joining Angers SCO’s U19s in 2020. There, Cho blossomed and secured a €12-15m (£10.5-13m) move to Real Sociedad this July. Already in Spain, he started to impress with an assist against Atlético Madrid.
Celtic star Matt O’Riley could sign up for England after Denmark’s latest snub
Celtic star Matt O’Riley could become one of the latest players to sign up for England after Denmark snubbed the midfielder. The 21-year-old is eligible to represent the Three Lions as he was born in London, but may opt for Denmark or Norway through his mother’s side of the family.
The Scottish Sun reported in January this year that O’Riley would be interested in playing for either nation if selected. He was also scouted by Carsley and his Youth Lions squad when he was playing for MK Dons before being handed a £1.5m move before the additions moved to Parkhead last winter.
Ange Postecoglou is proving that O’Riley can offer a strong creative threat from midfield if called up at international level. But Denmark boss Kasper Hjulmand does not feel at a level ready for the Nations League and has decided to let him play for the U21s this month.
Will Smallbone does not want to follow Declan Rice and Jack Grealish
Southgate has already had success in convincing players who hold dual nationalities to sign up for England, such as Declan Rice and Jack Grealish. But the Three Lions boss would face backlash if he tried to get Will Smallbone to leave the Republic of Ireland too.
“My mum loved me playing for Ireland,” the Basingstoke native told the Irish Examiner in 2020. “I’ve always played for Ireland growing up at different age groups and I’d love to go into the senior squad. I’ve always really looked forward to playing for Ireland.”
But by being born in Basingstoke to a mother from Kilkenny, Smallbone can cross over to England. The Southampton product, currently on loan at Stoke City, is still yet to make the move to the next level as Boys in Green boss Stephen Kenny is currently looking elsewhere.
England can avoid a repeat of Lukas Nmecha with younger brother Felix
England may look to avoid a repeat of Lukas Nmecha’s loss to Germany by tempting Felix, the younger brother of the Wolfsburg player, to sign up for Southgate’s side. The Three Lions gave Lukas caps at U16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21 levels before his U21 debut for Germany.
Lukas would bow out for Die Mannschaft in November 2021 and now boasts six caps. Hansi Flick beat Southgate to the punch by naming the former Manchester City talent in his Germany squad after a strong start at Wolfsburg and victory at the Euro U21s.
The Nmech brothers could apply for both Germany and England as they were born in Hamburg but grew up in Manchester. Now Felix is on course to follow in Lukas’ footsteps after making his Germany U21 debut this March following the Young Lions U16, U18 and U19 tournaments.
Felix also left Manchester City for Wolfsburg in the summer of 2021, as did Lukas, who cost £11m. The 21-year-old midfielder is now showing his worth in the Bundesliga as he has been a key part of the Citizens U18 and U23 squads, while also impressing during EFL Trophy matches.
Bright Arrey-Mbi has already shown he will turn his back on England for Germany
Bright Arrey-Mbi has already shown he will turn his back on England for Germany to progress in international football. The Young Lions got their first taste of centre-half international action in 2018 and played eight U15 matches before returning home.
He was born in Kaarst, a town not far from Düsseldorf, but moved to England at an early age. Arrey-Mbi also played in Norwich City and Chelsea academies before joining Bayern Munich’s academy in 2019. Now the 19-year-old is on loan at Hannover in the 2nd Bundesliga.
Mark McGuinness is not afraid to make big decisions about his international career
Mark McGuinness is not afraid to make big decisions about his international career after turning down England in the past. The 21-year-old beat the Three Lions to appear for the Republic of Ireland at U19 and U21 levels, while leaving Arsenal’s academy in 2021.
After getting his first taste of Premier League football on loan at Ipswich Town, he left the Gunners for Cardiff City. McGuinness – now on loan at Sheffield Wednesday – has also turned down the chance to play for Northern Ireland, the country of the Slough native’s father, in the past.
“There’s always been interest and stuff,” the centre-half told the Irish Independent in March. “But my heart was always set on playing here. It’s difficult because when you’re a young player at Arsenal, there’s always going to be people asking questions.
“But I was clear about where I wanted to go and play. It was here. That was my first taste [the Victory Shield with the Republic’s U16s in 2016]. Once I had it, I was hooked.”
In other news, the Tottenham target opens summer interest amid a late bid from Conte
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