Both Tammy Abraham and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are in line to make their senior England debuts against Germany this evening.
The pair were each called-up to the senior squad for the first time last week ahead of England’s friendlies against Germany and Brazil during this international break. Neither Abraham or Loftus-Cheek would have necessarily expected to start the first of these two games, but after a string of players withdrew from the squad including Harry Winks, Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph and Raheem Sterling, it seems Gareth Southgate has been somewhat forced into trialling a team of younger players for tonight’s fixture.
According to Sky Sports, Loftus-Cheek and Abraham will be a part of the starting eleven, which appears to be set up in the 3-5-2 formation that Chelsea used to great effect against Manchester United last Sunday.
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) November 10, 2017
Of course, neither of Chelsea’s representatives in that XI are actually familiar with Antonio Conte’s system since both are currently out on loan. The spells Abraham and Loftus-Cheek are currently enjoying with Swansea and Crystal Palace respectively that have earned them this opportunity arguably justifies Chelsea’s loan policy to an extent, though it is certainly a unique scenario when a Premier League club sees two players unable to make their senior squad start for the national team.
Gary Cahill is the other Chelsea player to be a part of the England squad for these two fixtures though is expected to miss this evening’s game with a minor injury. It is understood that Southgate also approached Danny Drinkwater about a place in the squad, though the midfielder has told the England boss that his physical condition is not yet strong enough to be selected.
Tonight is undoubtedly a golden opportunity for Abraham and Loftus-Cheek to not only show Chelsea why they should be back at the club and playing regularly next season, but perhaps to also push for a place at next summer’s World Cup. It is well known that England’s squad is anything but cemented ahead of the Three Lions’ trip to Russia in 2018, and some good performances in the national team shirt as well as strong Premier League displays this season could well be enough for the pair to persuade a manager who will definitely be open to taking young players to the tournament, given his previous role with the England U21 side.
Southgate is unlikely to be criticised if he does indeed opt for youth in next summer’s massive tournament. There is a severe lack of quality senior English players at present, with Harry Kane and Kyle Walker just two of the few stand-out names that are perhaps guaranteed starting spots in the opening World Cup game.
Abraham and Loftus-Cheek have the chance to start a serious push for their own places against some quality opposition this evening, making for an international fixture that is of considerably greater interest than usual for Chelsea supporters.