Jarrod Bowen is on the verge of a first senior England call-up when Gareth Southgate names his squad later today for the upcoming Nations League matches against Hungary, Italy and Germany.
Bowen has scored or earned an assist in 24 Premier League goals this season for West Ham – one more than the Premier League Player of the Season, Kevin De Bruyne.
Southgate admitted Bowen was “in the frame” for the last England squad in March, but a fractured bone in his foot ruled him out of contention.
After a month out, the 25-year-old has returned with six goals in the final 12 games of the season, including two against Champions Manchester City which earned West Ham a point, and ensured the title race with Liverpool went to the final game.
Now he’s likely to be rewarded with an England senior squad place at a key time, as Southgate begins to solidify his plans for the winter World Cup.
England’s attack: Who will go if Bowen features?
However, Bowen’s potential involvement has implications for Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
A year ago, Calvert-Lewin was viewed by many within the England camp as the natural understudy to Harry Kane, until hamstring, toe and quad injuries plagued him for the vast majority of this season.
He’s fit again now, and has scored twice in his last three games, but – with Tammy Abraham fully recovered, and notching 29 goals for Roma this season – it remains to be seen whether there are enough striker places left in Southgate’s squad to accommodate Calvert-Lewin.
Similar question marks surround the inclusion of James Maddison. The Leicester City playmaker has been mightily impressive this season, with 17 goals and 11 assists in all competitions. He’s in hot form, and has scored in each of his last four Premier League games.
But his only international cap was almost three years ago and, soon after, the England manager criticised Maddison for going to a casino, days after being forced to withdraw from the national squad with illness.
Southgate is expected to rebuff pleas from Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta to rest Bukayo Saka. He is a definite for the England squad, but it remains to be seen how much game-time the young winger will play.
Saka has played in every Premier League game for the Gunners this season and, at 20-years-old, is the second-youngest Arsenal player after Cesc Fabregas (in 2007) to complete the full campaign.
With all of England’s creative and attacking options, it looks very unlikely Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford will win his place back after he was omitted by Southgate in March.
Rashford has started just one Premier League game for United since mid-April, and he hasn’t scored since mid-January. He now faces the real risk of missing out on England’s World Cup squad in November, unless there’s a dramatic upturn in his form once Erik Ten Hag takes charge at United next season.
His teammate Jadon Sancho is almost certain to miss out for this camp too – he hasn’t featured for United for a month because of a bout of tonsillitis which saw him spend some time in hospital.
In midfield: Will Kalvin Phillips return?
When it comes to the England midfield, Aston Villa’s Jacob Ramsey is another who will be nervously watching his mobile today. He was name-checked by Southgate in March, who said he had just been pipped to a first call-up by Crystal Palace’s Conor Gallagher who was “slightly ahead” in the manager’s eyes.
Gallagher is surely now a feature in the senior men’s squad. But – with key games in this international break for England’s under-21s – it may well be that Ramsey will remain with the development squad.
Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips – fresh from helping the club secure its Premier League status – is a shoo-in to win his place back, after he missed four months of football, and the last England camp, with a hamstring injury.
In defence: Tyrick Mitchell to replace Luke Shaw?
The England boss has a decision to make about Kieran Trippier, after the Newcastle man underwent foot surgery and missed three months of football.
He’s fit again – if not fully match fit – and with Southgate in the midst of a left-back injury crisis, the odds are that the versatile Trippier will be included.
With Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell still absent, it also makes it much more likely that Palace left-back Tyrick Mitchell will earn his second call up. He certainly seems to have a greater chance than Kyle Walker-Peters, who was another debutant last time out.
Fikayo Tomori is pushing very hard for a recall, after his outstanding form helped AC Milan to the Serie A title for the first time in over a decade. Three clean sheets in the final four matches of the season helped cement his claim for a place back in the England defensive ranks.
By contrast, Crystal Palace’s Marc Guehi will be devastated if his ankle problem means he misses out on the Nations League. Having won his first senior call-up in March, and then making his international debut against Switzerland, the word around the England camp was how impressive he had been both on and off the pitch.
If injury now prevents him from cementing that impressive start to international football, his place on the plane for Qatar looks much more vulnerable.
Manchester City right-back Kyle Walker is also touch-and-go for an England recall this time around. Southgate promised he would be included in this squad, having rested him (not dropped him) for the last camp. But Walker hasn’t played in the Premier League since mid-April, after a niggling ankle problem. He is, however, back in full training.