England’s 1-0 win in Amsterdam Friday night was marred by a double blow to the Three Lions’ backline, as both Joe Gomez and Harry Maguire were forced off with injury.
Nonetheless, for Alfie Mawson and James Tarkowski, the unfortunate circumstances could provide them with an opportunity for their England debuts.
The inclusion of Mawson and Tarkowski are perfect examples of Gareth Southgate’s willingness to ditch the status quo and select emerging talents in front of bigger-name stars.
Those omitted from the 25-man squad for the Netherlands and Italian friendlies include the likes of Gary Cahill (58 caps), Chris Smalling (31 caps), and Phil Jones (24 caps).
Mawson has enjoyed a meteoric rise ever since joining then-League One Barnsley in 2015. The defender made 45 appearances that season, leading the Tykes to promotion through the play-offs.
A transfer to Swansea City followed, where he has made 50-plus appearances and gained an impressive reputation for no-nonsense defending and a knack for scoring off set pieces.
A player who has experienced a similar rise, Tarkowski spent his early 20s cutting his teeth in the Football League, amassing over 140 appearances in League 1 and the Championship before he was 24.
After gaining promotion with Burnley, Tarkowski has shone in the Premier League, playing an integral role in the top flight’s fourth-best defense.
On Friday night, Tottenham centre-half Eric Dier replaced Harry Maguire, but against the Azzurri Southgate may opt for an unorthodox defensive set-up.
The England manager is no stranger to bold friendly experiments- the Netherlands match featured no fewer than four full-backs in the starting XI.
Alfie Mawson and James Tarkowksi will be hoping Southgate takes another roll of the dice and hands the two promising defenders their first caps; it may prove an inspired move come June.
Fantasy Premier League: Five players to sign for matchweek two
There is plenty of names to swoop for ahead of the weekend’s fixtures.
Fantasy Premier League returned with a bang last weekend, with a number of high-scorers handing plenty of players a solid start to the new campaign.
Popular players Sadio Mane, Richarlison and Aaron Wan-Bissaka all rewarded those who selected them on the opening weekend, each earning 12+ points, while Watford duo Roberto Pereyra (5.2%) and Jose Holebas (5.1%) also caught the eye and secured huge points for the few that opted for the Hornets pair.
Ahead of matchweek two in the Premier League, we have searched the databases for five players you should definitely look to pick up to provide your team with a boost.
Bernardo Silva: Manchester City
The news of Kevin De Bruyne’s knee injury has sent shockwaves across FPL, with 16.8% of players still having the Belgium international in their squad. If you fall into that category, you should definitely look at dropping the midfielder.
Bernardo Silva is the most likely candidate to step up for the Citizens in De Bruyne’s absence and he enters this weekend’s clash with Huddersfield Town in decent form, scoring the second goal in last week’s 2-0 victory over Arsenal.
Huddersfield conceded 58 goals last season, more than relegated pair West Brom and Swansea City, so Silva can be expected to add to his eight-point haul against the Terriers – especially as he has scored five goals in his last seven starts.
Ryan Fraser: Bournemouth
Scorer of the opening goal for Bournemouth in last weekend’s victory over Cardiff City, Ryan Fraser brought home 11 points for the few managers who had the midfielder in their side – and just 2.3% of managers have the 24-year-old in their squad.
Costing £5.5m, Fraser is perhaps a more expensive option to other creative players at lower-end Premier League sides to consider but he certainly has the form to make his outlay worthwhile – as he has been directly involved in six goals in his last six matches at the Vitality Stadium (four goals, two assists).
Ben Mee: Burnley
While the rest of the Premier League prepares for their second match, Burnley are well into their stride as Europa League qualifiers mean that Sean Dyche’s side have already played five matches this season – and they are in superb form.
The Clarets have now registered three consecutive clean sheets across all competitions following Thursday night’s 1-0 victory over Istanbul Basaksehir, although extra time could have taken some wind out of Burnley’s sails.
Hosting Watford this weekend, Ben Mee and the Burnley defence will face a stern test but history favours the hosts – who have not lost to the Hornets at Turf Moor since 2004, securing three clean sheets in the last three meetings in Lancashire.
Roberto Pereyra: Watford
Selected by 5.2% of managers heading into matchweek two, many may believe that Roberto Pereyra’s 16 point haul last weekend was just a freak occurrence after the 2-0 win over Brighton but the stats suggest that is not the case.
Pereyra has now hit four goals in his last five Premier League games at Vicarage Road and now faces the challenge of transferring that form into away matches – and a game against a tired Burnley side who played 120 minutes in midweek is the ideal opportunity for him to shine.
Watford need to build upon last weekend’s win as they have a tough run of fixtures coming up against Tottenham, Manchester United and Arsenal, with Pereyra’s attacking flair potentially providing the key to breaking down a resilient Burnley defence.
Neil Etheridge: Cardiff City
In last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Bournemouth, Neil Etheridge became the first goalkeeper to save a penalty on his Premier League debut since Allan McGregor in 2013 by denying Callum Wilson from the spot – earning six points in the process.
The Welsh side are back at home this weekend against a Newcastle United outfit who continue to suffer under the tyranny of Mike Ashley. Defeat last weekend against Spurs was not surprising but has raised the pressure for Rafael Benitez’s side.
28-year-old Etheridge is a good bet to pick up further points this weekend against a Magpies side that scored just 39 goals in 38 matches last term, the lowest tally of any top-ten side excluding Burnley.
One winner and loser as Stoke City close in on signing Sam Clucas
Stoke look set to sign the Swansea midfielder on deadline day
Stoke City are closing in on a deal to sign Swansea midfielder Sam Clucas in a fee thought to be around £6 million, a shrewd bit of business from The Potters, who will be looking to improve on their Championship opening day defeat.
Manager Gary Rowett will be hoping the midfielder can hit the ground running and bring with him some much-needed versatility that his current midfield options lack.
Stoke haven’t been able to find a permanent central midfielder capable of running the show since Steven N’Zonzi’s departure in 2015. However, Clucas may just be the man to fill the void.
Winner – Stoke’s midfield
Clucas will bring with him a versatility to play anywhere in the midfield, a trait which their current options all lack and a quality vital to succeeding in the Championship.
During his time at Hull City, Clucas played left wing, left back, defensive midfield and a number 10 role; a testament to the 28-year-old’s ability and something Stoke can use to their advantage this season.
Clucas is comfortable on the ball and has a passing range which is second to none. If the Potters are going to gain promotion back to the Premier League they’ll need a midfielder with these kinds of attributes in their side.
Loser – Burnley
It seemed as though Burnley would be the destination for Clucas this season. However, in a sudden change of events Sean Dyche’s side lost out on their target.
This will be a blow for Dyche’s side, who have struggled terribly during this transfer window, despite securing European football for the first time in the clubs history last season.
It remains to be seen whether or not they’ll make a move for anyone else today before the deadline strikes, but a few deadline day signings wouldn’t go amiss for Dyche’s men.
Five ins and outs Burnley could complete on Deadline Day
A busy day lies ahead on and off the field for Burnley.
It is a massive day for Burnley, who have to balance transfer Deadline Day with a crucial Europa League match against Istanbul Basaksehir in Turkey.
Sean Dyche’s side are aiming to reach the Europa League group stages to provide regular European action at Turf Moor this season, which may see the side dip into the transfer market late on to land fresh faces.
Impressive deals have already seen the likes of Joe Hart and Alfie Mawson move to the club in recent days but more deals could be on the horizon, as we identify five that could be completed before the 5pm deadline.
Sofiane Hanni: Spartak Moscow
Burnley reportedly targeted Spartak Moscow’s Algerian international Sofiane Hanni back in January and may be encouraged to return with a late swoop for the midfielder following the latest reports from the continent.
Belgian outlet Voetbal 24 state that the 27-year-old is unhappy in Russia just months after his switch from Anderlecht, raising the possibility of a return to the Belgian Pro League – but Burnley could move to hijack a deal.
It is no secret that Sean Dyche wants to bolster his options in midfield and Hanni could be the ideal recruit.
Nahki Wells to Derby County
Following the capture of Matej Vydra from Derby County, there has been plenty of speculation that forgotten man Nahki Wells could move on loan to Frank Lampard’s side in return – and it’s a deal you are likely to hear plenty about on Deadline Day.
The Daily Mail stated earlier this week that Wells was set for a move to the Championship on loan as part of the agreement bringing Vydra to Lancashire, although a deal does not need to be completed today as the Football League loan window runs until the end of August.
28-year-old Wells made just nine Premier League appearances for the Clarets last season, failing to score a single goal.
Jay Rodriguez: West Brom
Speculation surrounding West Brom’s Jay Rodriguez has rumbled on throughout the transfer window, with Burnley keen to bring the England international to Turf Moor but finding it difficult to negotiate a deal with the Baggies.
Discussions could now switch to a deal involving a player in return, according to The Daily Mail (live blog, 8.08am), with Burnley said to have rebuffed West Brom’s request of £10m plus Sam Vokes for the signature of Rodriguez – which was rejected instantly.
That could provide the platform for further talks though, with Burnley not prepared to pay Rodriguez’s £20m asking price.
Sam Vokes to West Brom
The other man involved in a potential swap deal with West Brom is Sam Vokes, who is currently in Turkey with the squad preparing for tonight’s Europa League clash – but a deal for the forward does not need to be completed today.
The Daily Mail (live blog, 8.08am) states West Brom want Vokes as part of the deal taking Jay Rodriguez back to the Premier League and any agreement would likely be on loan, meaning the Baggies have until the end of the month to negotiate a deal.
“We definitely need more numbers, we’re not deep in numbers, we know that. We want quality numbers, we don’t just want any old player who can fill a slot, we want players who can be competitive.”
Sam Clucas: Swansea City
Another saga that has dragged on for a number of months, Burnley have found it difficult to negotiate a deal with relegated Swansea City for the services of Sam Clucas but the chase could heat up on Deadline Day.
Sky Sports states Wolves have expressed an interest in the midfielder, who saw a proposed £8m switch to Turf Moor fall through at the weekend after failing to agree personal terms with the Clarets – which puts Dyche’s side back at square one.
While Burnley may have moved on, a deal could be revived to stop Wolves from swooping.
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