With national football associations releasing their latest list of international squads there will be much intrigue among fans.
The managers will be making big decisions about who deserves a call-up, who could do with a rest and who must replace those out through injury.
The last round of Nations League games produced some attractive, high-velocity football and fans will be hoping for the same in this group of fixtures,
So with that in mind, let’s delve into who are the main winners of the new international squads and the main losers.
Fixtures: Croatia (a), Bosnia & Herzegovina (h)
Spain announced their squad with manager Jose Enrique pulling the players out of envelopes and pinning them on a board. Nice touch.
— Selección Española de Fútbol (@SeFutbol) November 8, 2018
The squad sparked furious debate on social media, as you might imagine.
The inclusion for a second straight squad is Alvaro Morata, who looked like he would struggle to rekindle his place after a poor second half to last season, but he is a big winner here with Enrique obviously impressed with the striker’s resurgence under Sarri. The omission of Borja Iglesias has been met with scorn by the fans, meanwhile. The Espanyol striker has netted on a regular basis this season but has not done enough to impress Lucho. Barcelona are also losers as Jordi Alba has returned to the squad, meaning he will miss out on some much-needed rest. As the national side’s only left-back, he will be expected to get through a lot of work and could hamper his recent good form with Barca.
Iker Casillas has failed to make the squad despite indicating he would like to return. He is an unfortunate loser as it looks increasingly like he will not play for the national side again. Koke has perhaps not been at his best for Atletico so his omission may not come as a surprise, but he is a loser nonetheless after being dropped while Pablo Sarabia is another who won’t be happy with this morning’s announcement. He fails to make the squad despite being in good form for Sevilla, having netted four goals and assisting a further four across his eleven appearances in La Liga this term.
The other big winner is the Celta Vigo academy that has four graduates in the current squad, showing their ability to churn out the talent knows no bounds. Each of Rodrigo, Iago Aspas, Brais Mendez and Jonathan Otto either came through or spent time at Celta’s academy and are now reaping the rewards – as is the national team.
Fixtures: Holland (a), Uruguay (h)
Didier Deschamps has got most of his selections correct despite having his detractors for selecting Oliver Giroud and overlooking Karim Benzema but you can’t argue with his record.
— Equipe de France ⭐⭐ (@equipedefrance) November 8, 2018
Winning the World Cup in Russia was the ultimate vindication for a manager who won the trophy as a player twenty years previously. He has made a few changes ahead of the games against Holland and Uruguay.
Here are the winners and losers from the latest selection:
The most obvious winner is Adil Rami who makes a return after missing out on the squad last time, though injury played a part in that. One of the losers in the French back line is the continually overlooked Aymeric Laporte. The Manchester City defender has been excellent for Guardiola’s side this season but Mamadou Sakho, a winner by default, has been preferred again.
The midfield remains unchanged from the side that faced Iceland and Germany but some eyebrows will be raised again as Alexandre Lacazette remains a forgotten man in favour of Oliver Giroud, who is yet to score in his nine Premier League appearances this season.
Anthony Martial petrified Juventus.
• Most fouls won (5)
• Most shots (3)
• Joint-most take-ons (3)
• Joint-most chances created (2)
Amazing what a run of games does.
— Jake Entwistle (@JakeEntwistle) November 7, 2018
The big winner is Anthony Martial. He was superb against Juventus in Turin for United and has scored five times in eight Premier League games this season; evidently, this has been enough in Deschamps’ eyes to merit a call-up. Karim Benzema, meanwhile, remains in purgatory when it comes to the national side and it is hard to see him ever returning.
Fixtures: USA (h), Croatia (h)
Gareth Southgate and the FA’s decision to give Wayne Rooney what is essentially a testimonial drew scorn from many members of the public.
The Three Lions’ manager, who was baffled by the Rooney criticism and described England as a “strange country”, has gone with another bold selection.
All set for our final games of 2018! 💪
— England (@England) November 8, 2018
One of Southgate’s virtues has been his willingness to call on players in good form rather than those who have a good pedigree, though both is always a bonus. With that in mind here are the biggest winners and losers of his latest England squad.
The most obvious winner is Callum Wilson. The Coventry-born striker is having a brilliant season at AFC Bournemouth, netting six and assisting another four goals in eleven Premier League appearances. Under previous managers, a player like Wilson may not have been given a chance but Southgate’s penchant for selecting the deserving has meant he could make his debut against the USA on Thursday.
Players like James Maddison and Mason Mount miss out despite impressive showings on the club front but another big winner is Danny Welbeck. The Arsenal centre-forward’s repeated recalls are a controversial subject, and he has bagged just one goal in the Premier League this season. Welbeck’s gain is also Reiss Nelson’s loss. The young forward has been in tremendous form since heading from the Emirates to Hoffenheim on loan. He has bagged himself five goals in six Bundesliga appearances this season and will feel hard done by not to make the squad, though there is plenty of time for the 18-year-old to make his mark. Jadon Sancho is another winner. The hotshot keeps his place in the side, much to the delight of his growing fan base. He looked lively in his first appearances and will be aiming to build on that in these two fixtures for the Three Lions.