England surprised one and all this summer with a fresh and enterprising run till the semi-finals of the World Cup. Gareth Southgate, initially selected a younger group of individuals, excluding the likes of Joe Hart and Chris Smalling from the squad. He chopped off the deadwood from the previous squads and gave these players a fresh, new challenge to undergo this summer. The Englishmen have not disappointed either, and hence they are bound to be targeted by numerous clubs. Here, we look at three players who will be on the radar of various clubs.
- John Stones:
Stones fell down the pecking order under Pep Guardiola’s tutelage in the second half of last season. New recruit Aymeric Laporte was favoured over Stones, and eventually, the former Everton defender was left unused quite often. However, he has been commanding and concentrated during his national duty, leading the backline from the centre of the three defenders and has regularly thwarted away attacks by his immense positioning.
He has not been prone to the occasional error that he usually commits with City, and has been a leader of sorts. Stones has been decisive through set-pieces too, already having scored two goals against Panama in England’s second match of the group stages. The 24-year-old has been going through a rough patch in his career with City, and might as well seek a move out to gain more playing time. If he would be interested, then there would surely be some clubs waiting to lure him too.
- Ruben Loftus-Cheek:
Loftus-Cheek might not have been a regular starter for England, but his performances have surely been impressive. Originally, a Chelsea player, he was loaned out to Crystal Palace last season. He was consistent for the Eagles, often delivering good performances and garnering praise from all quarters. Southgate didn’t ignore him too, including him in the squad as a backup midfield option.
He came on as a substitute in the first match against Tunisia, and made an instant impact, gliding past players with nifty footwork and eventually winning the corner that resulted into the goal. His shot at goal flicked off Harry Kane’s boot, and that meant that the 22-year-old got an assist for it instead. His defensive solidity and offensive flair will surely not go ignored, and there would be some suitors for him in the next month or so.
- Harry Maguire:
Maguire has certainly been the biggest breakout star for England this summer, as the defender’s strong, physical presence at the back, coupled with the knack of storming ahead to add up numbers in attacking scenarios mean that it is hard for his performances to go unnoticed. He has been solid as a rock at the back, making up for his relative lack of mobility with a good sense of positioning and aerial dominance too. The Leicester City defender has been detrimental from set pieces too, regularly clearing out corners, whilst providing a goal-scoring threat too.
He scored the opener in the quarterfinal against Colombia, and even won 10 aerial duels, totally highlighting his influence and importance on both sides of the pitch. He has overlooked a meteoric rise in his career over the past few years, having played for Sheffield United and Hull City before joining Leicester ahead of the last season. Going through his performances, bigger clubs would be vying to secure his signature post the World Cup.