Chelsea has been largely left out of England’s national teams in recent years. Most notably, the Blues only had two players named to the 2018 World Cup squad—Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Gary Cahill—neither of which played a large role. Chelsea is obviously trying to change that narrative through its youth academy and in the transfer market.
The youth revolution at Stamford Bridge has put the Blues’ foot in the international door with Mason Mount, Reece James, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Callum Hudson-Odoi all fighting to make the 2021 Euros squad. Further, the Blues recently purchased Ben Chilwell, who looks to be the Three Lions’ No. 1 choice at left back. Factor in the on-loan players who call Chelsea their parent club—Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek—who are also competing for a spot and it’s not hard to imagine the west London club heavily influencing the national team.
There are a lot of talented, young players who call England their home nation. Unfortunately, Gareth Southgate and his staff only have so many places in their team. This has produced a hazy picture as to what the near future will look like for the Three Lions. The picture became a bit more clear on Monday though when England’s U21 squad for the Euros was announced. Three Chelsea players made the cut: Conor Gallagher, Marc Guehi and Hudson-Odoi.
Who do you think makes the England senior roster for the Euros this summer?
The most surprising inclusion to the 23-man squad was undoubtedly Hudson-Odoi. The 20-year-old was limited in his appearances under Frank Lampard, but has blossomed ever since Thomas Tuchel took over. He’s played a crucial part in winning some massive matches for the Blues, and even played in a handful of positions—including right wingback. Hudson-Odoi will surely be disappointed that he did not get a senior call-up ahead of the Euros this summer. Nevertheless, his inclusion in the U21 squad presents him with a unique opportunity. Hudson-Odoi is one of the biggest names on this team and can shine as its focal point. His experience and skill are second to none, but he’ll get to play alongside talented attackers like Mason Greenwood, Eddie Nketiah and Emile Smith Rowe.
Guehi and Gallagher are wonderful additions to the U21 squad, and this will be seen as an opportunity to get some experience under their belts before the 2022 World Cup. Neither player had much of a chance to make the senior team, but they are on track to be in the hunt for a roster spot in a few years. Guehi is enjoying a superb season at Swansea so far. The talented centerback has helped transform the Swans’ back line and has them knocking on the door of promotion. Meanwhile, Gallagher has been a standout performer in an uninspiring team. West Brom is—barring a miracle—going to get relegated in a few weeks’ time. However, the young midfielder has been arguably their player of the season. He’s managed to make his way into the starting XI of two managers and gotten valuable Premier League experience.
While many of the Blues’ first team players will be playing meaningless friendlies or continuing their training at Cobham, these three individuals will be playing tournament football. The U21 Euros is formatted different this time around, with the group stages taking place over the upcoming international break. The teams will then break again and return to their clubs before the knockout stages commence in the summer. England has been paired with Switzerland, Portugal and Croatia with the matches taking place on March 25, 28 and 31 respectively. If all goes well, all three Blues will be key individuals in the U21 Three Lions’ starting XI.
Who do you think will have the biggest impact for the U21 squad? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!