First 25 England Debutants Under Gareth Southgate

Last Updated on 23 Nov 2021 10:21 pm (UK Time)

Following the announcement that Gareth Southgate has extended his contract until 2024 on the back of steering the national team to a World Cup semi-final and a European Championship Final, I took a look back over his England career so far.

Southgate’s squads have changed a lot since his first game in charge, with some 50 players given an England debut, his first being Jesse Lingard and the latest Connor Gallagher. However, because of the number of players involved, this will be a 2 part post, with the first 25 debutants, and the second 25 coming afterwards.

Jesse Lingard

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Southgate’s first debutant has had a mixed career. Lingard made his debut for England in October 2016 against Malta, whilst still at Manchester United. His impressive first outing for his country and consistent club form kept him in the squad. And Lingard proved something of an asset for England. Unphased by the bigger stage he put in some excellent performances at the 2018 World Cup, notching up his first goal in a 1-0 group match win over Panama. However, a dip in form over recent seasons meant he lost his place in both the United and England squad. His reputation was restored somewhat whilst on loan at West Ham, and he will hope to regain his spot once his club position becomes clear.

Aaron Creswell

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When Creswell made his debut for England, at a time when there were high hopes for his potential as a regular starter on the left of England’s defence. However, he has failed to make the grade at international level despite consistent form for his club, West Ham. Since his 11 minute debut against Spain, Southgate has remained unconvinced that he deserves a place in his side, and has only gained 2 more caps, with the most recent being in a qualifier against Lithuania in 2017.

Creswell was arguably always going to struggle to get into the squad with the likes of Luke Shaw and Ryan Bertrand fighting for a place in the starting lineup. And now at 31 years old and with Luke Shaw and now Ben Chilwell battling it out for the left-back berth, it looks like those 3 caps are all Creswell is going to get.

Michael Keane

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Keane made his debut on the 22nd of March against Germany. There was a lot of hope for Keane in defence on the back of sterling performances for Burnley and a big-money move to Everton, but the centre half was error-prone on his debut and Southgate lost confidence in his ability against top opposition. As a result, the likes of John Stones and Harry Maguire would soon take over Keane’s role in the England squad before the 2018 World Cup.

Keane has had a relatively mild England career having gained 12 caps since his debut with his last one coming against Ireland in November 2020. Although he is only 28 I don’t think he will be able to push out the established likes of Stones, Maguire and the up and coming Tomori and Ming’s.

Nathan Redmond

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Another failed debutant, Redmond, made his England bow when he was only 23. The mercurial winger showed flashes of promise in sparkling displays for his club side, Southampton which prompted Southgate to take a chance on him. The 24 minutes he played against Germany was his first and last cap for England, Redmond has been a regular for his club side but has never rekindled the form of his debut Southampton season, which earned him a place in the national team.

Redmond has always looked like one of the best players outside of the Premier League top six without ever justifying a move to a big club. However, with world-class talents like Sterling and Grealish alongside the youth of Sancho and Greenwood, it looks like the 28-year-old won’t get another chance for his country.

James Ward-Prowse

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Unlike his Southampton teammate, Ward-Prowse has had a reasonably better England career. He has managed to get 9 caps under Southgate with the latest being against Andorra only 2 months ago. Set-pieces are the only real area in which Ward-Prowse is truly world-class, but I’m sure he won’t mind if Southgate keeps relying on him.

At only 27 it is not out of the question that Ward-Prowse could get to double figures for appearances, the fact he played only 2 months ago reinforces that. But with the emergence of a number of midfield talents that can do more than just corners and free kicks, he will have to prove himself to get a spot.

Kieran Trippier

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In my opinion, Trippier was never really a brilliant player, yet after Southgate gave him his debut in 2017 he went on to make another 34 appearances for England. Granted he has given us some iconic moments such as the free-kick against Croatia, but I still don’t rate him.

Trippier is 31 and winding down his career in La Liga, he was in the squad against Andorra but left out of the most recent team. With the heavy competition at RB with Walker, Alexander-Arnold and Reece James all battling for it; it would seem that Trippier international career may have come to an end.

Harry Maguire

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This was the first player Southgate gave a debut to who is still a regular starter for the Three Lions. Following his debut against Lithuania in 2017, Maguire soon solidified his place as a starting centre back and was pivotal in both the 2018 World Cup and recent Euro’s.

Maguire has made 41 appearances for the Three Lions and seems like a different player when he plays for his country, sorry United fans. I feel that as he is only 28, Maguire could remain like a rock for England for at least the next 4 years if not longer and will probably play a key role in Qatar.

Harry Winks

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Southgate saw a lot of promise in Harry Winks as he gave the midfielder his debut at only 21. From their things started to go downhill. Ankle injuries kept him out of the England squad the next year and a half before he managed to make another 9 appearances.

Winks last played against Iceland in 2020 and has not been able to break into the last few squads. Winks has fallen out of favour at Tottenham having made only 3 Premier League appearances this season. At 25 he still has a career ahead of him so if he can get win favour with Conte or secure a move he could try and fight to regain his spot.

Joe Gomez

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November 10th, 2017 was a great day for 4 Premier League players as they made their England debut against Germany. The first of these was Liverpool’s, Joe Gomez. Gomez was a rock with Van Dijk during Liverpool’s Premier League title run-in 2019/20, but a number of injuries have limited his chances at Anfield and Wembley.

Another promising young talent plagued by injuries, Gomez has only made 11 appearances for England and last featured against Wales in August 2020. He has rarely played for Liverpool over the last year due to injury, but as he is only 24, he has plenty of time to re-stake his claim.

Ruben Loftus Cheek

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Another promising youngster lost to injury, Loftus Cheek has never been able to regain his form since rupturing his Achilles tendon in 2019. He had some decent performances with Chelsea and following a good loan spell with Crystal Palace, he broke into the first team. But after an injury in pre-season, he missed 38 games and has never been able to regain his spot at Chelsea or England.

Following his debut against Germany, Loftus Cheek was regularly in the squad and played 4 games at the World Cup. However, since his injury, he hasn’t been able to get into the England squad and last played against Croatia in November 2018. With many young talents, it looks unlikely he will add anything to his 10 caps for the remainder of his career.

Jordan Pickford

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Everton’s Jordan Pickford immediately became his country’s number one shot-stopper after keeping clean sheets in his first two international starts against Germany and the Netherlands. The ‘keeper starred for the Three Lions at the World Cup and Euro’s becoming a penalty shootout hero in both.

I believe he could remain as the number 1 for a couple more years, but with the emergence of Aaron Ramsdale’s at Arsenal he will have to fight to keep his starting job in the England setup.

Tammy Abraham

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Tammy Abraham made his debut for Southgate during a semi-successful loan spell at Swansea. After he returned to Chelsea he struggles for serious game time and as a result, only made another 5 appearances whilst at Stamford Bridge, but this all changed following his transfer to Roma.

After Lukaku came to Chelsea there was an abundance of strikers, so Abraham was sold to Roma. Since joining he has had a good season as he has been involved with 7 goals in 18 games this season. This has been enough to win favour with Southgate as Abraham has played in the last 4 England matches. At only 24 there is no doubt he will feature for England more in the future.  

Jack Cork

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Burnley midfielder Jack Cork’s only England appearance came in the Germany match, coming on as an 86th-minute substitute in the goalless draw. Cork was a regular for the Clarets but was never a good enough player to break into the international side and many were surprised when he was called up.

Despite making 125 league appearances for the Clarets over the past 5 seasons, the 32-year old has not received an international call-up since then and I can all but guarantee he won’t be receiving another one in the future.

Dominic Solanke

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After helping England’s Young Lions win the Under-20 FIFA World Cup in the summer of 2017, young striker Dominic Solanke was given a call-up to the senior squad five months later, but that would be his last.

Solanke might have done the business for England in the youth ranks, but his poor scoring record with Chelsea, Liverpool and Bournemouth meant he has since stayed out of the squad. However, after an impressive start to the season with 14 goals in 18 Championship games, if he can get back to the Premier League the 24-year-old striker could make his case.

Lewis Cook

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Bournemouth’s Lewis Cook captained the England Under-20 side to World Cup victory back in 2017 but had to wait until March of the following year to earn his first senior cap coming off the bench against Italy.

The 24-year old has always been solid for the Cherries, but with both his personal form and the form of his club he has never really looked like international quality and I think he will struggle to return to the squad in the future.

James Tarkowski

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Burnley defender James Tarkowski made two senior England appearances in the run-up to the World Cup, but was shunned by Southgate in his final 23-man squad for the tournament in Russia and has failed to feature for the Three Lions since.

Tarkowski was one of the best backup defenders available to Southgate and it was surprising that he’d been kept on the shelf since 2018 despite his Burnley form. However, I feel he will struggle to beat the established CBs in Southgate’s squad.

Trent Alexander-Arnold

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Alexander-Arnold is, without doubt, one of the best right-backs in the World and Southgate seemed to think that too as he gave a young 19-year-old his debut right before the World Cup and then took him to Russia. It is undeniable that Trent is one of the best players Southgate has given a debut to.

The right-back suffered a hamstring injury which kept him out of the Euros this summer and will be working his way back into the squad. But he faces stiff competition from England veteran Kyle Walker and rising talent Reece James, but I definitely think he will add to his 16 caps.

Nick Pope

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Pope is probably one of the best storylines under Southgate. Former non-league shot-stopper Nick Pope was named as England’s third-choice goalkeeper for the World Cup, after a successful 2017/18 campaign with Burnley. However, a dislocated shoulder at the start of this season ruled him out until January 2019 and was then ruled out of the Euros following Knee Surgery.

Pope has put in some strong showings with Burnley, but with Pickford seemingly established as the number 1 whilst Ramsdale and Johnstone fight for the backup. I feel like the 29-year-old may struggle to add to his 7 caps.

Ben Chilwell

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Chilwell made his debut whilst playing for Leicester City during a friendly at the Foxes’ King Power Stadium. From then it was all but certain that the young left-back would become a regular. Following his transfer, to Chelsea his form continued to improve and he has added 17 caps to his cabinet

After a shaky start to the season by Shaw it looks like Chilwell could soon cement himself as a Three Lions starter. At only 24 Chilwell is certainly one to watch in the future and I believe will be in the starting 11 come the 2022 World Cup.

Jadon Sancho

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After the Borussia Dortmund winger’s rapid rise to stardom in the Bundesliga over the past couple of seasons, it was only a matter of time before Southgate called up the teenage sensation at senior level and was a member of their Euro campaign.

Following his move to Manchester United, the 21-year-olds international prospects have taken a hit. Due to a lack of game time and poor performances under Solskjaer, he has only been included in 1 of the last 3 England squads. But with a new manager set to take the reigns at Old Trafford, there is every chance he could soon return.

Nathaniel Chalobah

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Chalobah had a turbulent start to his career as he got stuck in the cogs of the Chelsea loan machine, going on 6 loans before eventually being bought by Watford in 2017. After starting the season well with Watford, midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah was given his first England appearance by Gareth Southgate in the final minutes of England’s impressive win over Spain

Unfortunately for the 26-year-old, he struggled for playing time at Watford in the future and recently signed for Fulham on a free transfer. The midfielder needs to do more if he has any hopes of getting back into Gareth Southgate’s international plans.

Callum Wilson

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Wilson was always a danger whilst playing for Bournemouth and following impressive form for the Cherries, the Striker was handed a debut against the US at Wembley. Now at Newcastle, his form is still at a consistent level and will hope to score more under former manager Eddie Howe.

Wilson looked like a constant threat during his four caps for England, even scoring on his debut at Wembley, and his solid form with Newcastle suggests a return to the Three Lions fold is more than realistic but he will have to face some stiff competition.

Lewis Dunk

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Brighton defender Lewis Dunk also made his first England appearance in the friendly against the United States. However, the centre-half has failed to make Southgate’s squad again despite being a regular starter for Brighton.

At 30 years old, Dunk is approaching the end of his career and despite being the regular captain for a solid Brighton side; I think he is going to really struggle to get a second cap as younger and better defenders fight for a place in front of him.

Alex McCarthy

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Southampton shot-stopper Alex McCarthy was given his first call-up to the England squad back in the summer of 2013 but failed to make it off the bench. Five and a half years later, he finally made his England debut in the friendly against the United States at Wembley. 

With the Three Lions overflowing with young goalkeeping talents such as Ramsdale and Henderson, I think the 31-year-old will not gain another cap despite some impressive performances for the Saints.

Declan Rice

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Rice swapped allegiance from the Republic of Ireland and was given his first call-up prior to the Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro. He has never looked back after an impressive few seasons with West Ham and a good run at the Euros.

Rice is only 22 and it would seem like a midfield pairing with him and Kalvin Phillips is how the Three Lions may line up for the foreseeable future. He has played a big part at both West Ham United and England and there is absolutely no doubt that he will be a mainstay in the squad and add to his 27 caps.

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