Has Watford's Nathanial Chalobah justified his potential selection for the England national squad?
According to reports surfacing from the The Times, former Chelsea midfielder Nathanial Chalobah is strongly in contention for his first senior England call-up in early September.
The 22-year-old recently made the short switch from Stamford Bridge to Vicarage Road in a £5.7 million summer move, with Chalobah fancying his first-team chances more over at Watford.
And it is fair to say that the move has certainly been a success to date, with Chalobah immediately slotting into Marco Silva’s starting eleven and impressing against both Liverpool and Bournemouth.
The youngster has impressed so much so that England boss Gareth Southgate – who knows him extremely well from his days spent as the Under-21 manager – could come knocking and reward Chalobah’s notable start to the Premier League with a berth in his 2018 World Cup qualifying squad.
It has to be said that the 22-year-old would richly deserve an early shot in the national side; with Antonio Conte happy to have him sitting on the precipice of the Chelsea first-team, Chalobah could easily have remained put at Stamford Bridge, earned his wage and continued waiting for a potential break.
But there is a gritty sense of determination and a good attitude that sets him apart from a lot of other young talents that come through big team’s academies, and he rightly forced a move to gain action.
Watford boss Marco Silva recognised the underlying raw talent that Chalobah possesses and ensured he wasted no time in snapping him up – and at £5.7 million it is undeniably the bargain of the summer.
After showing glimpses of his potential in the entertaining 3-3 draw with Liverpool last weekend, he stepped it up a notch for the trip to Bournemouth, and he was – along with fellow summer signing Richarlison – one of the stand-out men on the day, comfortably leading the Hornets to three points.
He was a live-wire in the heart of the Watford midfield, breaking forward with some lung-busting drives throughout the 90 minutes and he can count himself unlucky not to have bagged a first goal of his spell.
One particular one-on-one should have been slotted away but, fortunately for him, the result still went Watford’s way, but despite this minor blot on his copybook it was an assured all-round display.
The fact he managed five shots – more than Andre Gray did – shows he is getting into all of the right positions around the area, and suggests he has grown the confidence to have a go when he does see a sight of goal; something which could easily see Watford climb up the table as the campaign goes on.
Chalobah also managed to win 100% of his five aerial duels, and completed three take-ons, just highlighting how much an imposing figure he can be, and he will contribute at both ends of the field.
It is early days of course, and should he make the England squad it is only for qualifiers against relative minnows Malta and Slovakia, but the 22-year-old could become a very, very special homegrown talent.