After a frantic start to the Premier League season, the first international break has arrived.
For England’s Gareth Southgate and other international managers, this two-week window offers a crucial chance to fine-tune World Cup squads. There are only two months until the first game in Qatar but this break also offers young players, such as Arsenal’s Portuguese midfielder Fabio Vieira and Chelsea’s French defender Wesley Fofana, the chance to impress in their country’s youth sides.
As some players head off around the world, others will remain at their clubs during a break that may have significant repercussions on the rest of the league season. The Athletic takes a look at who has been called up to senior international squads from all 20 Premier League teams.
Several of Arsenal’s international hopefuls missed out on call-ups. The Brazilian “Gabriel” trio of Martinelli, Jesus and Magalhaes have not been included in Tite’s Brazil squad, which is otherwise littered with Premier League names.
The most surprising omission, however, is Ben White from the England squad. The defender has been in impressive form but will not join Aaron Ramsdale and Bukayo Saka in Southgate’s final camp before the World Cup.
There are, otherwise, no major surprises.
Aaron Ramsdale (England), Matt Turner (United States), Karl Hein (Estonia), Kieran Tierney (Scotland), William Saliba (France), Takehiro Tomiyasu (Japan), Thomas Partey (Ghana), Bukayo Saka (England), Martin Odegaard (Norway), Granit Xhaka (Switzerland).
Villa’s international contingent has decreased on the back of injuries and a drop in form among key players. Philippe Coutinho, Douglas Luiz, Boubacar Kamara, Matty Cash and Lucas Digne all miss out on this round of fixtures. The latter was a late call up to the France squad after Theo Hernandez pulled out with injury, but the Villa left-back has now also withdrawn from Didier Deschamps’ camp with an ankle injury of his own.
while Cameron Archer also failed to make it into the England Under-21s side.
New loan signing Jan Bednarek links up with Poland. Elsewhere, Emiliano Martinez will continue to prepare for the World Cup and his Villa understudy Robin Olsen makes the Sweden squad alongside loan player Ludwig Augustinsson.
John McGinn will feature for Scotland and Leon Bailey remains a big part of the Jamaica squad. Jacob Ramsey links up with the England Under-21 team as Villa’s only senior player to feature in the Three Lions setup.
Not much has changed for Bournemouth on the international football scene, with the usual suspects being called up to represent their countries. After missing out on the squad that beat Saudi Arabia 1-0 in a friendly in June, Jefferson Lerma is back with Colombia before their friendlies against Guatemala and Mexico.
Jamal Lowe makes a return to the Jamaica squad for the first time since June but faces stiff competition among compatriots Michail Antonio, Andre Gray and Leon Bailey. Premier League promotion has granted Philip Billing a route back into the Denmark squad. Two tough Nations League games in three days against Croatia and France should see him get enough minutes.
Jefferson Lerma (Colombia), Mark Travers (Republic of Ireland), Kieffer Moore (Wales), Chris Mepham (Wales), Jamal Lowe (Jamaica), Philip Billing (Denmark), Ryan Christie (Scotland).
Ivan Toney has made a habit of grabbing headlines at Brentford since his arrival in 2020, and the forward might have just made his most noticeable one yet. Toney, 26, has been called up to Southgate’s side for their upcoming Nations League fixtures against Italy and Germany — having never played for the national team at any other level.
The Northampton-born striker turned down a Jamaica call-up in 2020 and he has reaped the rewards of his persistence with his inclusion in Southgate’s side. Toney’s club team-mate Bryan Mbeumo, however, chose to switch allegiances this summer from France to Cameroon.
He has also received his first call-up, and will join the Cameroon national team for their upcoming friendlies against Uzbekistan and South Korea.
David Raya (Spain), Thomas Strakosha (Albania), Aaron Hickey (Scotland), Kristoffer Ajer (Norway), Mathias Jensen (Denmark), Saman Ghoddos (Iran), Ivan Toney (England), Bryan Mbeumo (Cameroon), Frank Onyeka (Nigeria).
Brighton’s incoming head coach Roberto De Zerbi will be missing a significant portion of the senior side as they are representing their countries on the international stage. Eleven of the club’s 19 senior Premier League squad members are on international duty.
It does, however, indicate the strength of the Brighton squad that have established themselves as a top-flight side and their impressive start to the campaign sees them sitting in fourth place.
The majority of the focus will remain on whether De Zerbi can build upon the platform left by Graham Potter. With Spain (Robert Sanchez), Argentina (Alexis Mac Allister) and Belgium (Leandro Trossard) internationals at his disposal, the Italian head coach has plenty of tools to work with.
Robert Sanchez (Spain), Pervis Estupinan (Ecuador), Enock Mwepu (Zambia), Alexis Mac Allister (Argentina), Leandro Trossard (Belgium), Jeremy Sarmiento (Ecuador), Moises Caicedo (Ecuador), Kaoru Mitoma (Japan), Billy Gilmour (Scotland), Julio Enciso (Paraguay), Lamptey (Ghana).
Just as Graham Potter starts getting to know the Chelsea players, 17 of the senior squad are departing on international duty. Hardly ideal. For some of them, however, it might actually be a welcome break from what’s going on at club level and a chance to recapture some confidence elsewhere.
For example, Conor Gallagher has paid a price for a lack of form and minutes for Chelsea by being named in the England Under-21, rather than senior, squad. Mason Mount could do with a goal for Southgate’s England side having yet to find the net for Chelsea this season.
Others who might look forward to meeting up with their national teams after an unconvincing start to the campaign are Senegal duo Edouard Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly, plus the clearly frustrated Christian Pulisic.
One of the biggest surprises is Hakim Ziyech. He retired from playing for Morocco in February but a change of coach last month led to the 29-year-old reversing his decision and he is back in the fold.
Ben Chilwell (England), Reece James (England), Mason Mount (England), Raheem Sterling (England), Kai Havertz (Germany), Armando Broja (Albania), Edouard Mendy (Senegal), Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal), Thiago Silva (Brazil), Cesar Azpilicueta (Spain), Jorginho (Italy), Mateo Kovacic (Croatia), Christian Pulisic (United States), Denis Zakaria (Switzerland), Hakim Ziyech (Morocco).
Palace are represented on the international stage by several players, with Marc Guehi retaining his place in the final England squad before the World Cup being a particularly notable call-up.
Malcolm Ebiowei, signed from Derby County in the summer, earns a first call-up to England Under-20s. There is no place for Michael Olise with France Under-21s, with the 20-year-old having made his debut for Sylvan Ripoll’s side in March. That is likely due to his relative lack of game time due to injury.
But that may help him to displace Jordan Ayew in the Palace first team should he impress in training, with Ayew hoping to add to his 81 caps for Ghana after this latest call-up.
Joachim Andersen is likely to be involved for Denmark against Croatia and France, having enjoyed an excellent start to the season at club level. He has 17 caps for his country.
Cheick Doucoure, signed from Lens in the summer and another to have impressed in the early stages of this season, is in the Mali squad to face Zambia and Lybia. He has five caps at international level.
Another new arrival at Palace is Chris Richards. He has been named in the United States squad, managed by former Palace defender Gregg Berhalter, to play against Japan and Saudi Arabia.
Marc Guehi (England), Joachim Andersen (Denmark), Jordan Ayew (Ghana), Cheick Doucoure (Mali), Chris Richards (United States).
Off the back of Everton’s first win of the season, 10 players in Frank Lampard’s side will be departing for international duty.
Loanee Conor Coady gained plaudits for his display during the 1-0 win over West Ham on Sunday, and he will be hoping to continue the good form as he joins up with Southgate’s England side. James Garner and Anthony Gordon will also be linking up with England, albeit with the under-21s. Jordan Pickford misses out, however, through injury.
Salomon Rondon has been a peripheral figure at Everton this season, but Venezuela’s all-time top scorer will be aiming to take centre stage when his national side take on Iceland and the United Arab Emirates over the international break.
Idrissa Gueye and Alex Iwobi are also firmly part of Lampard’s plans, evidenced by them playing the full 90 minutes against David Moyes’ side. They are also important figures for Senegal and Nigeria, and there are no surprises with their call-ups.
Nathan Patterson (Scotland), Vitalii Mykolenko (Ukraine), Seamus Coleman (Republic of Ireland), Conor Coady (England), Amadou Onana (Belgium), Alex Iwobi (Nigeria), Idrissa Gueye (Senegal), Salomon Rondon (Venezuela).
It has been a brilliant week for 17-year-old Luke Harris, who has signed his first professional deal with Fulham and earned his first call-up by Wales. He’s yet to make his Premier League debut, but is held in very high regard. There are similar emotions for academy product Tyrese Francois, who has earned his first Australia call-up for friendlies against New Zealand. He’ll be hoping for a late shot at the World Cup.
Tim Ream’s hopes now seem slim. He missed out on a call-up by the United States, with coach Berhalter suggesting he needed cover for a high line and a dominant player in the air as an explanation for his omission. That feels harsh on Ream, who has been a key part of Fulham’s good start this season — against tough opponents.
Kenny Tete is another who may have hoped he could make a late play for the Netherlands squad. Elsewhere, Joao Palhinha’s exceptional introduction to Premier League football keeps him in Portugal contention, while Serbia’s all-time leading goalscorer Aleksandar Mitrovic will be looking to keep his form ticking over for his country.
Bobby De Cordova-Reid (Jamaica), Shane Duffy (Republic of Ireland), Tyrese Francois (Australia), Luke Harris (Wales), Dan James (Wales), Aleksandar Mitrovic (Serbia), Joao Palhinha (Portugal), Marek Rodak (Slovakia), Kevin Mbabu (Switzerland), Neeskens Kebano (DR Congo).
Jesse Marsch’s Leeds squad are into an unprecedented 29-day break between first-team games due to having meetings with Nottingham Forest and Manchester United postponed. Ahead of their next fixture at home to Aston Villa on October 2, a number of their first-team players are now away on international duty.
Summer signing Luis Sinisterra will also be hoping to shine for Colombia in their matches with Guatemala and Mexico. However, Rodrigo, the club’s top scorer this season, has been left out of the Spain squad after picking up a shoulder injury against Everton last month.
It also looks an uphill battle for Patrick Bamford to find his way back into the England squad for the World Cup as he continues his own return from injury.
Another of Leeds’ summer recruits, 18-year-old Wilfried Gnonto has made the latest Italy squad facing England and Hungary after becoming their youngest-ever senior goalscorer during the June internationals.
Leicester are struggling in the league this season but have no shortage of players who are mainstays for their national teams.
Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi have been selected for Nigeria’s friendly away to Algeria, but there is no Leicester representative in the England squad with James Maddison overlooked by Southgate in his final selection before the World Cup starts in November.
This international break could be an ideal opportunity for Leicester’s players to shift their focus away from recent club difficulties, then return with fresh impetus to face neighbours Nottingham Forest on Monday, October 3.
Danny Ward (Wales), Wout Faes (Belgium), Youri Tielemans (Belgium), Caglar Soyoncu (Turkey), Jonny Evans (Northern Ireland), Daniel Amartey (Ghana), Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria), Timothy Castagne (Belgium), Patson Daka (Zambia), Wilfred Ndidi (Nigeria), Nampalys Mendy (Senegal).
The good news for Liverpool is there’s no need to charter a private plane as part of a mad dash to get players back from South America following this particular round of internationals.
Brazil play their friendlies, against Ghana and Tunisia, in France so there’s no long-haul travel for squad members Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino. The same goes for Darwin Nunez, with Uruguay facing Iran in Austria and then Canada in Slovakia. That will certainly help Jurgen Klopp’s preparations for the visit of Brighton to Anfield on October 1.
Luis Diaz is on the other side of the Atlantic but in North America, as Colombia play Guatemala in New Jersey and Mexico in California. Egypt’s Mohamed Salah is back home for friendlies against Niger and Liberia.
Captain Jordan Henderson was a late addition to England’s squad after recovering from a hamstring injury and will join Trent Alexander-Arnold in the camp ahead of games against Italy and Germany. Joe Gomez, however, was overlooked by Gareth Southgate.
Naby Keita was called up by Guinea but Klopp dismissed suggestions he would be fit to feature in their matches against Algeria and Ivory Coast. He hasn’t played since the Community Shield as he continues his recovery from a hamstring problem. Andrew Robertson, Caoimhin Kelleher and Ibrahima Konate are sidelined too, while Thiago now looks certain to miss out on the World Cup after being left out once again by Spain. He hasn’t played for them since last summer’s Euros.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (England), Alisson (Brazil), Roberto Firmino (Brazil), Fabinho (Brazil), Virgil van Dijk (Netherlands), Kostas Tsimikas (Greece), Mohamed Salah (Egypt), Luis Diaz (Colombia), Diogo Jota (Portugal), Darwin Nunez (Uruguay), Conor Bradley (Northern Ireland).
Unbeaten through the first nine games of their season, 16 Manchester City players will be fixated on securing World Cup spots during the final international break before this winter’s tournament.
Four of Pep Guardiola’s men have been selected for England’s games against Italy and Germany — John Stones, Kyle Walker, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish. Kalvin Phillips was also initially selected but has had to drop out because of shoulder surgery.
Ederson (Brazil), Ilkay Gundogan (Germany), Kyle Walker (England), John Stones (England), Phil Foden (England), Jack Grealish (England), Joao Cancelo (Portugal), Ruben Dias (Portugal), Bernardo Silva (Portugal), Nathan Ake (Netherlands), Erling Haaland (Norway), Riyad Mahrez (Algeria), Manuel Akanji (Switzerland), Rodri (Spain), Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium), Julian Alvarez (Argentina).
Manchester United have 12 players joining up with their national sides (13 including Dean Henderson, who is on a season’s loan at Nottingham Forest) but there were no call-ups for in-form duo Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford. England manager Southgate overlooked the pair, which has raised further questions surrounding their chances of going to the World Cup. Harry Maguire, out of favour under new manager Erik ten Hag, may feel lucky to have been selected by Southgate this time.
Cristiano Ronaldo will surely make up for his recent lack of game time at United and feel the love when he joins up with Portugal for Nations League games against the Czech Republic and Spain.
Tyrell Malacia has stood out during the opening games of the season and deservedly gets a place in the Netherlands squad, and new fan-favourite and fellow summer signing Lisandro Martinez has been selected for Argentina. Fellow South Americans Casemiro, Fred and Antony will make just the short trip to France, rather than the long haul to South America, for Brazil’s two friendlies there.
Harry Maguire (England), Luke Shaw (England), Scott McTominay (Scotland), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Bruno Fernandes (Portugal), Diogo Dalot (Portugal), Lisandro Martinez (Argentina), Casemiro (Brazil), Antony (Brazil), Fred (Brazil), Christian Eriksen (Denmark), Tyrell Malacia (Netherlands), Raphael Varane (Manchester United), Victor Lindelof (Sweden), Anthony Elanga (Sweden), Martin Dubravka (Slovakia).
For the first time since Scott Parker and Alan Smith in 2007, Newcastle have two serving players in an England squad: Nick Pope and Kieran Trippier. What’s more, both could play in the Nations League double-header against Italy and Germany, and that shows the huge transformation at the club since the takeover last October — something Pope insisted to The Athletic would happen during an interview in pre-season. In fact, he thinks it will attract a greater number of England players to Tyneside as time goes on.
Beyond that, Ryan Fraser’s Scotland recall is fascinating, given he appeared to fall out with manager Steve Clarke last year when he withdrew from the squad for their final two World Cup group games due to injury, only to then be pictured training during Eddie Howe’s first fortnight in charge of Newcastle. Jamal Lewis is back in the Northern Ireland setup for the first time since November, despite only featuring as a substitute in the Carabao Cup so far this season.
The rest of the club’s internationals are as expected. Joelinton and Sven Botman continue to be overlooked by Brazil and the Netherlands respectively, albeit with the latter not yet a guaranteed starter for new club Newcastle. The World Cup 2022 dreams of Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin appear over due to the hamstring injuries which keep them out of the latest England and France squads.
Ryan Fraser (Scotland), Chris Wood (New Zealand), Nick Pope (England), Kieran Trippier (England), Bruno Guimaraes (Brazil), Miguel Almiron (Paraguay), Alexander Isak (Sweden), Jamal Lewis (Northern Ireland), Fabian Schar (Switzerland).
Nottingham Forest made a mind-boggling 22 signings this summer so it is no surprise that a number of them will be representing their nations during this international break.
Dean Henderson’s move from Manchester United on loan appears to be paying dividends for his World Cup hopes, as he has a final chance to impress Southgate before the England manager makes his final decisions on who will be on that plane to Qatar.
Forest also possess a strong Welsh contingent, with Neco Wiliams, Wayne Hennessey and Brennan Johnson being selected for their Nations League fixtures against Belgium and Poland. There is a first Senegal call-up for Moussa Niakhate after he switched allegiances from France, who he represented up to under-21 level. He will be joined by new Forest team-mate Cheikhou Kouyate.
Beyond the senior squads, Morgan Gibbs-White is establishing himself as an England Under-21 regular with another selection. He will hope to build on his previous 10 appearances at the level, where he has also scored once.
Dean Henderson (England), Neco Williams (Wales), Taiwo Awoniyi (Nigeria), Wayne Hennessey (Wales), Brennan Johnson (Wales), Moussa Niakhate (Senegal), Cheikhou Kouyate (Senegal), Emmanuel Dennis (Nigeria), Serge Aurier (Ivory Coast), Remo Freuler (Switzerland).
Gavin Bazunu is likely to be the Republic of Ireland’s first-choice goalkeeper for their games against Scotland and Armenia — he is starting in the Premier League while rival Mark Travers is only on the bench for top-flight neighbours Bournemouth, and Liverpool’s Caoimhin Kelleher misses this squad through injury.
In defence, centre-back duo Mohammed Salisu and Armel Bella-Kotchap have received noteworthy call-ups to their respective countries this week. Salisu is included in the Ghana squad as a lengthy and fractious relationship takes another turn, while 20-year-old Bella-Kotchap is in Hansi Flick’s Germany party for the first time after an outstanding start to his Premier League career.
Southgate named James Ward-Prowse in a 28-man England squad, which will undoubtedly come as a relief for the Southampton captain, given his history of being left out on the eve of a major tournament. Mohammed Elyounoussi remains a key figure in the Norway squad, while Stuart Armstrong and Che Adams dovetail club duties with the international scene for Scotland.
Gavin Bazunu (Republic of Ireland) James Ward-Prowse (England) Armel Bella-Kotchap (Germany) Mohammed Salisu (Ghana), Mohamed Elyounoussi (Norway), Che Adams (Scotland), Stuart Armstrong (Scotland).
Spurs have a considerable number of players called up with Eric Dier’s return to the England squad the headline news. Richarlison makes the highly-competitive Brazil squad but Emerson Royal is left out of it. Ben Davies got another Wales call-up but has withdrawn because of injury.
Underlining the number of youngsters in the squad, three of Conte’s players have been called up by England Under-21s: Ryan Sessegnon, Djed Spence and Oliver Skipp. Conte is hoping that Skipp will be sharpened up by some game time as he recovers from injury — and it’s the same situation with Matt Doherty who has been called up by the Republic of Ireland.
Hugo Lloris (France), Cristian Romero (Argentina) Eric Dier and Harry Kane (England), Davinson Sanchez (Colombia), Matt Doherty (Ireland), Ivan Perisic (Croatia), Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Denmark), Rodrigo Bentancur (Uruguay), Yves Bissouma (Mali), Richarlison (Brazil), Son Heung-min (South Korea), Dejan Kulusevski (Sweden), Pape Matar Sarr (Senegal).
West Ham have an expensively constructed squad and it is no surprise a number of them have been called up.
Gianluca Scamacca, Emerson (both Italy) and Maxwel Cornet (Ivory Coast) all started on the bench for Sunday’s loss to Everton, but have all been called up by their countries while Declan Rice and Jarrod Bowen are in the England squad.
Lucas Paqueta has, unsurprisingly, been named in Brazil’s squad. Since the beginning of 2021, the 25-year-old has played 1,473 minutes for Brazil, according to FBref.com — more than any of their midfield options.
Michail Antonio will be joining the Jamaica squad, where he has been aiming to establish himself since switching allegiances from England.
Declan Rice (England), Jarrod Bowen (England), Alphonse Areola (France), Thilo Kehrer (Germany), Lucas Paqueta (Brazil), Vladimir Coufal (Czech Republic), Tomas Soucek (Czech Republic), Maxwel Cornet (Ivory Coast), Gianluca Scamacca (Italy), Emerson Palmieri (Italy), Michail Antonio (Jamaica).
Maximilian Kilman missing out on the England squad is arguably the biggest news regarding Wolves’ players on international duty. Otherwise, a strong Portuguese contingent is represented with four players selected for the Nations League squad — namely Jose Sa, Ruben Neves, Pedro Neto and Matheus Nunes.
Despite his injuries and struggles with form, Raul Jimenez will join the Mexico squad but this is mainly to continue with his rehabilitation plan. Nathan Collins, who received a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Jack Grealish of Manchester City on Saturday, has been selected for the Republic of Ireland. They visit Scotland in the Nations League on Saturday followed by hosting Armenia three days later.
Jose Sa (Portugal), Ruben Neves (Portugal), Pedro Neto (Portugal), Matheus Nunes (Portugal), Nathan Collins (Republic of Irealnd), Raul Jimenez (Mexico), Hwang Hee-chan (South Korea), Matija Sarkic (Montenegro), Boubacar Traore (Mali).
(Top photos: Getty Images)