With Gareth Southgate announcing his England squad for the next set of European Championship qualifiers, there are plenty of familiar faces around the Three Lions set-up. It must be demoralising for players knowing how hard it is to work their way into the squad at St George’s Park, especially when you consider the strength in depth Southgate has in a variety of positions.
The Premier League has seen an influx of homegrown talent come out of their shells this season and it’s been refreshing to see so many English names in talks for the team of the season. From Arsenal’s rise with those that bet on football to the likes of Brighton and Brentford punching above their weight, there are several players who could make a genuine claim for earning an England call-up. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most underrated players this season that are surely overdue a chance to strut their stuff for the Three Lions.
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Let’s start with an area England are perhaps lacking in, and focus on left-back Rico Henry. With Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell inconsistent when it comes to injuries, the Brentford man would be a great option to have as a left-footed deputy. Blessed with frightening pace, his confidence has grown massively in the Bees’ sophomore Premier League campaign and he has shown that he can contribute in the final third as well as sit in a low block and follow runners. Henry earnt praise from manager Thomas Frank and is surely overdue a chance for an England cap.
“He will get his England debut,” Frank said. “He needs to continue being consistent and keep his level of performances high. If he does that then at some point, he will get called up. It’s very difficult to get top players in the position Rico plays. He needs to improve his end product, but he’s working hard on that and he’s only going to get better.
“He’s an interesting left back and I understand if England look at him.”
With the likes of Eric Dier and Harry Maguire getting regular England call-ups despite their poor form at club level, you wonder what more Lewis Dunk can do to earn his place in the national team. A one-club man with Brighton, Dunk has come into his own this season, being a key part of their transition from Graham Potter to Roberto De Zerbi, firmly establishing them as one of the best sides in the country with a trip to Wembley in the FA Cup semi-finals. Dunk is a great leader and has shown he can play in a back three, especially pairing well with Ben White who himself was unfortunate not to make the most recent squad. You wonder if he would be in contention if he was at a more favourable club.
Injury to Mason Mount should mean that Southgate adds an additional midfielder to his squad, but once again Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall will have to wait for an England debut. The centre-midfielder, one of the few glimpses of light in an otherwise dull season over at Leicester City, has had a growing influence of the Foxes this term and would add that extra bite in the middle of the park that perhaps more technical players wouldn’t be able to provide. Dewsbury-Hall has been linked with a move away from the King Power in the summer and you wonder if a move is what it takes to really gather any real attention from Southgate and his coaching staff.