COMMENT By Matt Farr
Gareth Southgate is set to name his England squad later this week for the upcoming fixtures against Germany and Lithuania, and there could be several Everton players in contention.
As many as five first team players could be considered part of his plans, including three fully-fledged England internationals in Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka and Ross Barkley.
Youngster Tom Davies and Ademola Lookman, meanwhile, could also be part of Southgate’s thoughts. Gareth Barry and Aaron Lennon, on the other hand, are a thing of the past and are not likely to be considered.
Ahead of the senior squad announcement, Football Insider rates the Everton players that could be handed an opportunity.
Ross Barkley 8/10
The most likely candidate for a senior call-up is the 23-year-old midfielder. Barkley has been left out of the last few England squads, but he has shaken off considerable criticism in recent weeks to re-emerge as an important player for club and country. Barkley has assists in each of his last two Premier League appearances, contributing to a total of five goals and seven assists throughout the season. But his chances of a call-up have increased with several of England’s more regular stars struggling with injuries, and Barkley has all the attributes to fill in in the attack.
Leighton Baines 2/10
With Danny Rose sidelined, Southgate may consider a second left-back option alongside Ryan Bertrand. There will be stiff competition from the likes of Aaron Cresswell, Luke Shaw and Kieran Gibbs, but Baines does hold a slight chance of earning a spot. Yet even with the lack of regular game time for Shaw and Gibbs, the 32-year-old appears more of a last resort option for Southgate. He has a lot of previous experience with the England senior side, but has not added to his 30 caps since 2015.
Tom Davies 5/10
Pundit Paul Merson has been active in recent weeks in his support for a senior cap for Davies, but his chances on this occasion remain slim. He has had a phenomenal breakthrough into the first team setup at Goodison Park this term, but it may be a little early to consider him for senior international recognition. England must remember the challenge that lies ahead, firstly with world champions Germany in a friendly, and secondly the importance of a World Cup qualifier against minnows Lithuania. A strong side will be needed to ensure the job gets done to the best of their ability, and Davies doesn’t fit in just yet.
Phil Jagielka 3/10
Gone are the days of Jagielka as England’s first-choice centre back. The 34-year-old has also struggled to regularly for Everton of late, but he will still be considered for a place in the squad. The array of English defensive talent is still a worrying one for the England boss, with a injury issues coupled with concerns over the form of several regular faces. That leaves Jagielka with a possible role to play, but only as a squad member, and not a key player. Burnley’s Michael Keane would be a much better option.
Ademola Lookman 1/10
Further down the line, Lookman could be a key player for England. However, similarly with Davies, it is a case of timing. He has impressed since arriving at Everton in January, and has proven he can handle the big step up from League One to the top tier, but he is not yet ready to be considered for senior selection at international level. Plus, Southgate is not going to be short of options out wide with Raheem Sterling, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jesse Lingard and Theo Walcott all fit and ahead of him in the pecking order.
In other Everton news, the club want to break record fee for this striker, but the sticking point is the release clause.