Before Chelsea dipped into its war-chest of transfer funds this past summer, a lot of the talk surrounding the Blues had centered around their English core. Frank Lampard gave debuts to a plethora of young academy graduates, a majority of which are England internationals. The shouts have turned into whispers as some of those graduates have become less of a focal point under Thomas Tuchel. Regardless, Chelsea still has a lot of talented English players at its disposal.
The current international break represents the final tune-up before the 2020 UEFA European Championship—played in 2021 due to Coronavirus—commences this summer. This begs the question: how many of the Blues will be involved in Gareth Southgate’s squad during the summer’s tournament?
Chelsea has five players in its current first team who have played for the English National Team before: Reece James, Ben Chilwell, Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham. The Blues also have an abundance of players out on loan who have played for the Three Lions before: Fikayo Tomori, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ross Barkley and Danny Drinkwater. If that’s not enough, Conor Gallagher and Marc Guehi are knocking on the door of their first international call-up.
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Which Chelsea players will travel to the Euros with Southgate’s England?
The beginning of the U21 European Championships a few days ago really gave spectators an insight into Southgate’s thinking for his senior team, as well as which Chelsea players will be included. Gallagher, Guehi and Hudson-Odoi joined the U21s, meaning none of the aforementioned individuals will be in the senior camp due to the knockout rounds of the youth tournament taking place early in the summer.
Elsewhere, there is at least one name we can guarantee will not be on England’s roster for the Euros: Drinkwater. The Three Lions have a lot of depth in the middle of the park and honestly, Drinkwater is likely at the bottom of the eligible pecking order. He’s had a nightmare few years since joining Chelsea and is now playing for Kasimpasa, who sits 15th in the Turkish league. Tomori will likely be left off the roster barring any defensive injuries. Barkley’s knocks have limited his time on the pitch for Aston Villa, so he is likely a no-go, as well.
Unfortunately, Abraham’s injury and lack of playing time—paired with the success of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Ollie Watkins and Patrick Bamford—make it unlikely that he will participate in the competition. Abraham was England’s undisputed No. 2 striker heading into the season but he’s suffered since Tuchel took over at Stamford Bridge. On the fringe is the last eligible loanee, Loftus-Cheek. If this article would’ve been written 24 hours ago, he would’ve been placed in the previous paragraph with others set to be on the outside looking in. However, an injury to Jordan Henderson will likely keep the Liverpool midfielder out of the Euros and open up a roster spot. Loftus-Cheek has performed well at Fulham this season, so his inclusion will be determined on his performances down the home stretch.
That brings us to the last three.
James was the biggest question mark due to the unimaginable depth England has at right back. The youngster has to compete with Kieran Trippier, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Kyle Walker. Luckily for him, Southgate has noticed his fantastic season. James is not only in line to make the senior team, he’s England’s starting right back at the moment. The 21-year-old is the most complete player of those mentioned above and that’s worked to his advantage.
Mount has also beat out a lot of competition and looks to be one of Southgate’s starters in midfield. The 22-year-old has stiff competition in James Maddison, Jack Grealish, Phil Foden and others, but like James, his tremendous form has caught the eye of the manager. Mount’s work off the ball makes him stand out for all good reasons. Oh yeah, he’s also creative. Mount created eight chances for England against San Marino, the most in a European World Cup qualifier since 2008—he only played 45 minutes. It’s safe to say Mount is destined for big things for both his club and country.
Last, but certainly not least, Chilwell. A lot has been made, rightfully so, about Bukayo Saka’s superb season with Arsenal. The youngster has set the world on fire and with Chilwell splitting time with Marcos Alonso, the competition seems close. Nevertheless, Chilwell is the Three Lions’ starting left back. He rounds out the trio of Chelsea players that look to play important roles for Southgate’s side in the Euros.
If the World Cup qualifiers during this international break are any indication of how the Blues’ youngsters will excel on a bigger stage, spectators are in for a treat. Each player registered an assist in England’s 5-0 win over San Marino late in the week, this is just the beginning though. The Blues may not have as many first team players in the English National Team for the Euros as they’d anticipated, but those present are going to guide the Three Lions to greatness.