With his England side already qualified for next year’s UEFA European Championship Finals at Germany after eight Matchdays in the qualifying round, Gareth Southgate decided to give several uncapped players their first England callups for the senior side in November 2023’s international break, where the Three Lions are set to play their final two rounds of the 2024 UEFA Euro Qualifiers. Chelsea’s Cole Palmer, Manchester City‘s Rico Lewis and Aston Villa’s Ezri Konsa, who received their first England callups, will be in Southgate’s squad when they face Malta and North Macedonia at Wembley and Toše Proeski Arena respectively over the next weeks.
How Did Palmer, Lewis and Konsa Get Their First England Callups?
Southgate’s move to include the uncapped trio for their first England callups was largely due to injuries happened to a few members of his senior squad, including Tottenham Hotspur’s new summer signing James Maddison, Newcastle United’s striker Callum Wilson, and Brighton & Hove Albion’s Lewis Dunk. These players picked up their physical problems over a series of games played in recent weeks, but such issues would bring little to no harm to England, who already booked their places in the Finals next year, which is why Southgate ultimately opted to bring in three unfamiliar faces to his Three Lions for their upcoming matches.
Speedy recovery, lads! 👊 pic.twitter.com/iR1Ra16N4i
— England (@England) November 13, 2023
Palmer’s, Lewis’s and Konsa’s Careers Thus Far
A notable name who earned his first England callup this time around is none other than Cole Palmer, who completed a move to join Chelsea from defending English Premier League winners Manchester City last transfer window. The 21-year-old Wythenshawe-born player managed to get his first England callup after a promising start in Chelsea’s colours, having scored four goals and assisted four times in his 11 appearances for the Blues, including a 90+5th-minute equaliser against his former club in a 4-4 Premier League thriller at Stamford Bridge a few days ago.
Joining Palmer for their first England callup are Rico Lewis and Enzri Konsa. The 18-year-old wonderboy for Pep Guardiola’s Cityzens is a versatile player who can fill positions namely right-back, left-back and defensive midfielder, prompting his Spanish head coach to feature him in City’s many games in the league and other cup competitions despite his tender age; Lewis now has an impressive total of 33 appearances under his belt for Pep’s team across two seasons.
As for Konsa, the Villa centre-back, he was a member of England’s U-20 squad that won the FIFA U-20 World Cup back in 2017 and has almost 300 appearances at club level so far. The former Charlton Athletic Young Player of the Year is part of the reason why Villa are currently fifth in the Premier League table after 12 matches played.
Can the Trio Make It Into Germany Next Year?
Southgate’s decisions to rotate the squad with three players who received their first England callups will attract questions as to whether the 53-year-old head coach is set to bring them along when the Three Lions board the plan to Germany next summer, considering the team are one of the favourites to win it all in the Finals.
With Palmer and Lewis being only 21 and 18 years of age, the possibility of them playing for England in next year’s major tournament in the European Championship is optimistic, since their young and volatile presence can rejuvenate the squad, but things might not be the same for Konsa, as Southgate usually has a strong preference in centre-back positions for competitive matches.
Here Is How You Can Watch England vs. Malta
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