After a pulsating few weeks of club football, the first international break of the season is upon us, and with that, there are some notable talking points with the latest squad announcements.
Across the globe nations are gearing themselves up for an extended few days of international bouts; in South America, the likes of Argentina and Brazil will pit their wits in domestic friendlies, while on this continent, there is the small matter of Euro 2020 qualifiers to contend with.
Patriots and flag-wavers alike will be keeping an attentive eye on squad announcements over the next fews days, interested to see whether that wonderkid earned a first international call-up, or whether that underperforming big-name player retained his place on status alone.
Either way, there have certainly been some interesting international squad inclusions both in Europe and across the Atlantic, so who are the major ‘ins and outs’?
Major ins: Manuel Lanzini, Marcos Rojo, Alexis Mac Allister, Lucas Ocampos
Major outs: Angel Di Maria, Sergio Aguero, Lionel Messi
Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni has included seven uncapped players in his latest La Albiceleste squad for friendlies against Chile and Mexico next month.
Among those are Brighton & Hove Albion attacking midfielder Alexis Mac Allister who, from the name alone, will tell you that he has Scottish and Irish blood coursing through his veins. The 20-year-old is currently out on loan at Boca Juniors and has done enough to sway Scaloni.
Elsewhere, West Ham talisman Lanzini returns to the Argentina squad for the first time since rupturing his knee back in June 2018 whilst on international duty, while Manchester United outcast Rojo will be looking to earn his first cap since the World Cup in Russia.
As for outs, both Di Maria and Aguero have been omitted from the squad as Scaloni looks to build for the future, while Messi is currently serving out a ban – and an injury – picked up at the Copa America.
Major ins: Ivan, Vinicius Junior, Fabinho, Neymar
Major outs: Willian, Filipe Luis, Everton
With Alisson out injured, manager Tite has taken the opportunity to hand 22-year-old Ponte Preta goalkeeper Ivan a first international call-up, while Ederson will be given the opportunity to add to his measly five caps with the Liverpool stopper out of action.
Brazil will play friendlies against Colombia and Peru, and there is a place for Neymar, who is yet to feature this season for PSG and remains in precarious territory as far as his future is concerned. Vinicius Junior has also been called up for the second time in his career and could receive a maiden cap after he pulled out of his only other experience in the senior fold due to injury.
Liverpool anchorman Fabinho was somehow excluded from the Copa America, but makes a just return to the squad following his exploits on Merseyside, while three players who helped the Selecao lift the coveted South American gong, Willian, Filipe Luis and Everton, find themselves out of the loop.
Major ins: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Tyrone Mings, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Maddison, Mason Mount
Major outs: Kyle Walker, John Stones
Gareth Southgate has included four uncapped players in his latest Three Lions squad, two of which have earned call ups for the first time in Mings and Wan-Bissaka, while Mount and Maddison have also been rewarded for their early season form.
Elsewhere, Oxlade-Chamberlain makes the cut for the first time since March 2018 following his lengthy injury lay-off, having done enough to convince the England manager this term, while Harry Winks, another whose spent far too long in the medical room has also been drafted in.
As far as outs are concerned Manchester City duo Kyle Walker and John Stones have been dropped, with the latter only recently returning from injury, while Ashley Barnes apparently hasn’t done quite enough to persuade Southgate despite his stellar goalscoring exploits at Turf Moor.
Major ins: Kurt Zouma, Jonathan Ikone, Matteo Guendouzi
Major outs: Samuel Umtiti, N’Golo Kante, Anthony Martial, Alexandre Lacazette, Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba, Aymeric Laporte,
Having been consistently overlooked by Didier Deschamps in recent years, Laporte finally earned a call up but was then cruelly struck down by injury.
Elsewhere, Zouma makes the World Cup winning manager’s final 23 for qualifiers against Albania and Andorra next month, but there is no place for Umtiti who has struggled for fitness and game time at the Camp Nou recently.
Ikone has also earned his first promotion to the senior fold, but Lacazette is once again shunned for the perennially preferred Olivier Giroud, while Martial and Mbappe are currently out injured – Frank Lampard will also be relieved his Kante plea hasn’t fallen on deaf ears as the Chelsea anchorman remains in west London to continue his road to recovery.
Arsenal midfielder Guendouzi has received his first call up fresh from an impressive performance in the north London derby, with Pogba out due to injury.
Major ins: Luca Waldschmidt, Niklas Stark
Major outs: Leroy Sane, Antonio Rudiger
The only major absentees for Die Mannschaft are due to injury with Premier League duo Sane and Rudiger currently out of action, meaning Stark has earned his second call-up in defence and could possibly pick up a first cap in Germany’s qualifiers against the Netherlands and Northern Ireland.
Freiburg forward Waldschmidt, who starred in the Under-21 European Championships, is also the only player to have obtained a first ever call-up from Joachim Low, with the 23-year-old making up one of only two forwards for the three-time European champions.
Major ins: Diogo Jota, Joao Felix, Daniel Podence
Major outs: Andre Gomes, Gelson Martins
To have made the grade alongside the usual suspects is Wolves’ attacking fulcrum Jota, who has once again been selected for Fernando Santos’ A Selecao das Quinas squad for their Euro 2020 qualifiers against Serbia and Lithuania, but whether he makes his international debut this time remains around to be seen.
That may hinge on how much game time is afforded to the new kid on the block in Atletico Madrid wonderkid Felix, who will be looking to build on his single cap, while there’s also a first-time inclusion for Olympiacos forward Podence.
In midfield the likes of Ruben Neves, Joao Moutinho and William Carvalho keep Everton metronome Gomes out of contention, while Monaco’s Martins continues his decline with an omission of his own here.
Major ins: Dani Ceballos, Unai Nunez, Pablo Sarabia
Major outs: Iago Aspas, Santi Cazorla, Sergi Roberto
The decision to swap the Bernabeu for north London has seen Ceballos force his way into Spain’s plans.
The 23-year-old has six senior caps to his name and, having enjoyed a fine start to life in the Premier League, will be hoping to add to that tally against Romania and the Faroe Islands.
Manager Robert Moreno, who replaced Luis Enrique on a permanent basis earlier this summer, has made seven changes in all and will give new boys Nunez and Sarabia an opportunity to impress.
Major ins: Luca Pellegrini, Nicolo Zaniolo, Cristiano Biraghi
Major outs: Moise Kean, Giorgio Chiellini
Roberto Martinez is planning to blood a flurry of youngsters ahead of Euro 2020 and has handed Pellegrini – who is owned by Juventus but on loan at Cagliari – a first call up.
The left-back is in the frame to play against either Finland or Liechtenstein, but there is no place for Everton forward Kean. The omission will come as a blow to the 19-year-old.
Chiellini has been forced to withdraw due to a serious ligament injury, paving the way for Danilo D’Ambrosio to step in as his replacement.
Major ins: Mijo Caktas, Marko Rog
Major outs: Mateo Kovacic, Ivan Rakitic
Kovacic was originally included in Croatia’s 23-man squad and travelled back to his homeland to join up with his compatriots. However, it was soon flagged that he was suffering with an Achilles tendon problem and he has now returned to Chelsea.
The midfielder’s injury will be of some concern to Frank Lampard, who is already without N’Golo Kante. Caktas, who plies his trade at Hajduk Split, has been called up as Kovacic’s replacement.
Meanwhile, captain Rakitic has been left out, with manager Zlatko Dalić claiming that the midfielder was not in the right frame of mind to give his all.
A difficult summer, which saw him regularly linked with a move away from Barcelona, may well have been a contributing factor.
Major ins: Justin Kluivert, Donyell Malen, Joel Veltman
Major outs: Steven Bergwijn
Ronald Koeman’s side increased their stock significantly during the Uefa Nations League and will be aiming to put in solid performances against Germany and Estonia.
The former boss has not rocked the boat, but Strootman’s inclusion has been questioned by fans.
Meanwhile, Bergwijn has had to pull out due to injury with Kluivert named as his replacement. Stefan de Vrij has also withdrawn but no replacement will be named.
Malen, 20, has impressed for PSV to earn a first call up while Veltman could get his first international minutes since 2017.
Major ins: Gareth Bale, Dylan Levitt
Major outs: Aaron Ramsey, Ashley Williams
Wales fans will be relieved to see Bale fit, starting for Real Madrid and firmly in the squad after a helter-skelter summer of intense speculation, while 18-year-old Manchester United graduate Levitt joins Los Blancos’ mercurial superstar in Ryan Giggs’ 26-man band.
The Dragons face qualifiers against Azerbaijan and Belarus, but will have to make do without captain Williams, who has been without a club during pre-season – joining Bristol City recently – and midfield fulcrum Ramsey, who has only just recovered from a hamstring injury.