Tag Archives: nations league

England : UEFA Nations League Preview

England take on the Netherland this Thursday Night at the Estádio D. Afonso Henriques Staduim –  Portugal  for a place in what would be England’s first final since 66.  This may not be the World Cup or the Euro’s however it’s still a reason to get excited and behind the team in their pursuit of lifting a trophy. There are selection dilemmas for England boss southgate to consider for the big match, Kane up front? Rashford? Sancho? Deli or Barkley and how many of players from Champions League Final to pick? I give my opinions below:      

Kane

I would start with him because although he is not fully fit he is a talisman and captain, has rescued England so many times in big matches and he will only get fitter the more game time he gets and if England get through to the final these minutues will have benefited him. Also the alternatives are not great, Rashford has immense talent but did not finish the season well for United therefore would be best used from the bench once Kane is tiring.

Sancho

For me he starts on the right wing with Sterling on the opposite side. Alternatives are limited again with the extremely unfortunate injuries to Hudson-Odi and Loftus Cheek who both were getting game time and form with Chelsea.  

Midfield  

Deli Ali and Ross Barkley are good competion for the more attacking midfield role and at this time I would go with Deli because he looked sharp in champions league final and Ross lost his starting place at Chelsea towards the end of season.  Id also play Henderson and Rice as the other 2 midfielders, yes Henderson played in the Champions League final but  5 days is long enough to celebrate and recover and should still be on a high adrenaline rush.

Defence

The main choice here are at full back with John Stones and Harry Maguire being a settled choice at the centre. At right back i’d go with Trent Alexander-Arnold for much the same reason as Henderson plus he is in fantastic form. Left back is tough to choose however Ben Chilwell probably just gets the nod due to Danny Rose’s champions league final disappointment, however well I thought he played in the match.  

Opponents

The Netherlands are on a resurgence following 2 disappointing qalyfying campaigns they got through a Nations League group containing France and Germany and there has also been an impressive friendly win over Portugal – who they could meet again in Sunday’s final. Their progress owes a lot to the new man in the dugout – Former Everton Manager Ronald Koeman, but also from the rising stars in defence and midfield to experienced campaigners like Daily Blind, Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay.  Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt and Donny van de Beek were instrumental in Ajax’s run to the Champions League semi-finals and they have been similarly important at international level. De Jong, a £65m signing for Barcelona in January, has been particularly impressive.  At the back they have the world’s best defender Van Dijk and one of the most promising young defenders in De ligt so England have a tough task on there hands but one I belive they can pass.

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Should James Ward-Prowse be in the England side?

2nd March 2019- James Ward-Prowse scores a beautiful free kick to level the scores away at Old Trafford. 9th March 2019- James Ward Prowse scores a beautiful free kick to give his side all three points against third place Tottenham, could Southampton have found their new talisman?

The Portsmouth born midfielder has been on the books of Southampton since the age of 8, and has been long touted as the next big thing on the south coast following his 2011 debut at the age of 16. A first team regularly since 2013 and a member of various England youth sides, it was only seen as a matter of time before one of the big sides snapped him up.

The hardworking midfielder has often shown maturity beyond his years, and has a wicked set piece delivery weather that be from corners or free kicks. Strong in the tackle and with an impressive passing range, he has also shown leadership skills, captaining the Saints a number of times.

But manager Mark Hughes wasn’t convinced, and many struggled to see where he would fit into the system. New summer signing Stuart Armstrong was added to an already strong midfield of Mario Lemina, Oriol Romeu, Jordie Clasie and Harrison Reed, add this to the fact he had lost his place at the back end of 17/18, and it looked likely to be a tough campaign for Ward-Prowse.

After being in and out of the side at the start of the season, Ward-Prowse managed to reestablish himself as a first team regular following Mark Hughes’ dismissal and Ralph Hasenhuttl’s appointment, and hasn’t looked back since.

Important goals against Leicester, Everton and Crystal Palace have been followed up with three goals in three against Fulham, United and Spurs, meaning Ward-Prowse is already having the best goal scoring season of his career.

It has taken longer than many expected but it now seems Ward-Prowse is ready to step up to the next level, after a number of seasons of showing flashes of his ability he is now delivering consistently and proving to be a match winner for the Saints.

After making his senior England bow in March 2017 as a 82nd minute sub for Jake Livermore, Ward-Prowse must now have his eye on forcing his way into the side again and staying there this time.

Breaking into this current England team won’t be easy after the three lions have enjoyed a very successful 12 months and are set to contest the Nations League Semi Finals this summer. This could prove to be the breakout season for Ward-Prowse, he’ll have to keep his current form up and hope he has caught Gareth Southgate’s eye, but it finally appears Southampton have another local midfielder to get excited about.