Jadon Sancho, Mason Mount and James Maddison have all been handed their first senior England call-ups as Gareth Southgate plumped for arguably the boldest squad selection of his reign.
Fresh from signing a new deal through to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the 48-year-old England boss raised eyebrows with his 25-man selection for the Nations League double-header with Croatia and Spain.
Exciting Borussia Dortmund 18-year-old Sancho has been selected for this month’s fixtures, and so too Mount after shining for Sky Bet Championship side Derby since joining from Chelsea on loan.
Former Norwich player Maddison has been rewarded for his first fine start to life at Leicester, while uncapped Watford midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah is back in the squad after recovering from a long-term knee injury.
Harry Winks, capped once, returns the day after starting for Tottenham against Barcelona in the Champions League, and Ross Barkley’s upturn in fortunes at Chelsea means he is in line to win his first cap since the friendly against Australia in May 2016.
Injuries and game-time have led to Southgate’s squad changes as much as the form of those called-up.
Dele Alli is out with a hamstring injury, while the England boss has not selected Fabian Delph, Adam Lallana and Jesse Lingard given the question marks over their fitness.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who has not played for Chelsea since starting for England against Switzerland, has also been left out – but his Chelsea teammate Ross Barkley has been recalled after rejuvenating his game under Maurizio Sarri.
BREAKING: Jadon Sancho, Mason Mount, Nathaniel Chalobah and James Maddison all called up to the England squad to face Spain and Croatia
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) October 4, 2018
Speaking about Chelsea midfielder Barkley’s call-up, Southgate said: “He’s had a long period injured at Chelsea last year.
“This year he’s started the season in the team at Chelsea. He’s a player that we know has good technical quality and is grasping the tactical side of the game, so it’s a good opportunity for him to come in.
“As I say, one or two of those opportunities might not have been there if we’d had other players available but as always, when you get opportunities within the squad – people have come in, in the past, and done well and they stay in. That’s the way we work.”
The uncapped duo of Marcus Bettinelli and Alex McCarthy again join up with Southgate’s goalkeepers.
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