Southampton: How Saints can benefit from England’s current strength in depth

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 19: Nathan Redmond of Southampton celebrates with teammate James Ward-Prowse after scoring his sides second goal during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Everton FC at St Mary's Stadium on January 19, 2019 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 19: Nathan Redmond of Southampton celebrates with teammate James Ward-Prowse after scoring his sides second goal during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Everton FC at St Mary's Stadium on January 19, 2019 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images) /
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England host Kosovo at Southampton’s St Mary’s stadium on Tuesday evening in what will be the venue’s sixth international game.

However, the sold out crowd will not be seeing any Saints players in action after other in-form players were called up over the likes of Nathan Redmond, James Ward-Prowse and Angus Gunn.

All three have been called up to the Three Lions’ senior squad during the tenure of current boss Gareth Southgate, who has led a youthful and rejuvenated group of players to improved results – not least the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup.

He has given opportunities to those who play for clubs outside the Premier League’s top-six and isn’t frightened to throw youngsters into the fray if they are good enough.

But this has caused a slight problem for Saints’ England hopefuls.

BURTON-UPON-TRENT, ENGLAND – MARCH 23: James Ward-Prowse of England during a training session ahead of their European Championship Qualification match against Montenegro at St Georges Park on March 23, 2019 in Burton-upon-Trent, England. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
BURTON-UPON-TRENT, ENGLAND – MARCH 23: James Ward-Prowse of England during a training session ahead of their European Championship Qualification match against Montenegro at St Georges Park on March 23, 2019 in Burton-upon-Trent, England. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images) /

In the most recent senior squad that Southgate named ahead of the current international break, the talent in areas that Saints players would hope to get into was clear to see.

For example, Nathan Redmond – who has just one senior England cap to his name despite his form over the past year – has the likes of Raheem Sterling, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford ahead of him in the pecking order.

They are three of the most dynamic and talented players on offer to Gareth Southgate and it will be a tough ask to get any game time ahead of them at the moment.

Related Story. England vs Kosovo: Five previous internationals held at St Mary's. light

If Redmond really starts to reproduce the form he showed in the second half of last season though, there’s no reason why he can’t receive another call-up soon.

Out-and-out wingers are few and far between for England and he will be one of the main back-up options still.

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It is a similar story for Angus Gunn and James Ward-Prowse too.

Jordan Pickford, Tom Heaton and Nick Pope are all starting goalkeepers in the Premier League alongside Gunn, and the Saints man was more recently involved with the England Under-21s during the past summer.

Ward-Prowse’s burst of form in 2018/19 saw him ahead of some notable names, but now he has fallen back behind James Maddison and Mason Mount in particular – both of who have had strong starts to the current campaign for Leicester City and Chelsea respectively.

There is no reason why this competition can’t be a real motivator for the Saints men now.

If they push themselves to play at their best abilities for Saints on a weekly basis, they can become the ones to break back in to the national setup soon.

This season’s prospects under Ralph Hasenhuttl are much more positive than the last campaign and the Austrian will need his best and most important players to be firing each time they play.

Helping Saints to a comfortable finish in the Premier League and perhaps some success in the cup competitions can continue to expose their talents at the highest level, and they can also learn from their teammates who have represented England in the past.

Ryan Bertrand and Fraser Forster are two who been squad regulars in the past but have let their standards fall somewhat after falling out of favour in the national setup.

To avoid this, they just need to keep producing for Saints and craving an opportunity to represent their country again. They remain very talented individuals who have every chance of adding to their limited amount of caps to date.

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