With Euro 2024 just around the corner, there’s every chance for players to hit a rich vain of form at just the right time to be able to force their way into their international side.
Though Gareth Southgate has the usual suspects to choose from for his England squad, he should always be open to integrating others of their form warrants it.
We’ve seen with Raheem Sterling’s continued omission since the World Cup, that even those players that appear to be dead certs when it comes to selection only need a dip in form to find their place won by someone else.
Southgate didn’t pick Newcastle’s in-form Anthony Gordon for the matches against Malta and Liechtenstein this weekend, but he has sent the player a message which he’d do well to heed.
“He is a good player. He was very good with our under-21s last year. He is very close (to the senior squad), I have to say,” he was quoted as saying by the Evening Standard.
“I like his attitude, I like the way he works so hard for the team. Of course, I am sure he was hoping for a call at this moment, but there are good players playing well in that position on the field.
“But I think, like a couple of others, they have always got to think a little bit further ahead as to opportunities that can come up. I think for somebody like Anthony that is eminently possible with us.”
The carrot that Southgate has dangled is an interesting one.
Gordon qualifies for Scotland by virtue of his grandparents, and there’s likely to be more chance of the 22-year-old breaking through quicker with them than with the Three Lions.
By leaving things open ended for now, Southgate has played a blinder for it gives Gordon some real food for thought and motivation for the second half of the season.
No decision either way has been made yet, and it will be interesting to see how Gordon reacts.