Hidden Gems: Six Outside Bets for the England Squad

Gareth Southgate

Written by Harry Dodds (@hdodds01)

It’s been an incredible start to the 2020/21 Premier League season, with a wealth of home-grown players lighting up the league in the early games. With the international break in full swing, I’d like to look at six players who I think have an outside chance of breaking into the England squad this season…

Ollie Watkins

After converting from a winger to a central striker last season for Brentford, Ollie Watkins has been a man on fire. He netted 26 times for the Bees as they just missed out on promotion, and was brought to Villa Park for a record fee with the hope of solving Villa’s goal-scoring problems from last season.

A similar player to the Newcastle’s Callum Wilson, Watkins is a poacher, with great positional sense and a knack for scoring from close range. He has already registered six goals in seven appearances for Villa so far, and would be a great addition to Southgate’s squad. Following his brace in Villa’s brutal dismantling of Arsenal, no one can question his goal-scoring ability!

Alex McCarthy

Southampton have come flying out of the blocks this season, currently sitting fourth in the table with eight games played. The south coast residents also boast a 6 game unbeaten run that stretches back to September.

A big part of their early success is Alex McCarthy, who has already kept four clean sheets in only eight games, making 21 saves so far this season. England are not short of quality goalkeepers, but if McCarthy continues this rich vein of form, Gareth Southgate can’t overlook him.

Patrick Bamford

Now in his third season at Elland Road, Patrick Bamford is taking to the Premier League like a duck to water, scoring seven goals in his first eight games, having only netted 16 across the whole of last season in the Championship.

England have some great attacking options in Kane, Rashford and Calvert-Lewin, but the Leeds number nine is without a doubt a danger in front of goal, and would be a lethal finisher for the Three Lions.

Callum Wilson

After moving to the Toon in the summer from Bournemouth, Callum Wilson has hit the ground running at Newcastle, showing everyone how clinical he can be despite his injury problems.

The Magpies have struggled on the goal front in recent years, with misfiring Joelinton not yet showing his worth. However, they look like they have found a solution in Wilson, who has scored six in his first eight, also bagging and assist.

Wilson has proven himself as a great goal-poacher, and with Sterling and Sancho on the flanks, the 28 year-old would thrive in the number nine role for England.

Ross Barkley

An outcast at Chelsea, Ross Barkley moved to Aston Villa this summer hoping to put his career back on the right track. Having suffered a frustrating couple of seasons at Stamford Bridge, it looked like Barkley was slowly fading into the realms of football obscurity.

However, Barkley has certainly proved the doubters wrong, with the former evertonian instrumental in Villa’s great start this season, already netting twice and bagging an assist, whilst also forming a menacing partnership with fellow countryman Jack Grealish.

The 26 year-old would be a great engine for the Three Lions midfield, which has been less than impressive in recent showings.

Matty Cash

Another new addition to Dean Smith’s side, Cash came in from Nottingham Forest this summer, and has no doubt shored up Villa’s shaky defense.

The Villans have already registered four clean sheets this season, with the industrious Cash providing plenty of help along the way.

England have some great right backs in Alexander-Arnold, Walker and Trippier, and Cash is definitely an outside option, but he would be a defensively organised, disciplined and reliable choice for Gareth Southgate.