England have once again been stuttering through their latest international qualifying campaign, with several underwhelming performances seeing them gain criticism wide and far.
This has become a regular theme for Three Lions fans to witness from their country on the football pitch, with the recent 2-1 victory over Slovakia seeing them pick up three points but underperforming.
Here are three players who have been outcast previously or overlooked, which could come back to help Southgate’s side for upcoming games.
In the international football betting, England are a promising 20/1 to secure their first World Cup triumph since 1966. But they may need to look elsewhere to find the spark they need to go all the way on Russian territory. One man they could turn to is Premier League hitman Defoe.
Current Bournemouth striker Defoe was overlooked by Southgate in the last squad selection for qualifying outings. This was despite former captain and all-time scorer Wayne Rooney retiring from international duty.
Harry Kane is now the main man up front for the Three Lions but Defoe is a suitable frontman to have in the England ranks. With a constantly clinical eye for goal, can Southgate really afford to overlook Defoe for next summer’s tournament in Russia?
England already boast plenty of defensive stars in their ranks but recent Leicester City signing Maguire is a helpful stopper to have in the setup. The young centre back has shone for the Foxes since arriving at the King Power Stadium and has all the potential and talent to become a big player for England in the future.
With plenty of England defenders struggling for consistent form this current campaign, including the likes of Gary Cahil and Phil Jones, Maguire looks like a solid risk to take for Southgate in upcoming outings, rather than playing it safe with what he already knows.
The last few qualifying outings will give Southgate the opportunity to hand Maguire valuable minutes on the pitch in order to cement his spot in the lineup.
Another crucial question for England going to Russia will be who takes up the spot between the sticks. Joe Hart has long been the number one to rely on, but recent seasons have seen him slip in form. Despite this, Southgate has continued to select the current West Ham United shot stopper as his first choice. Instead, a more promising choice for England could be to put trust and faith in Butland.
The Stoke City goal guard looks set to be the new man at the posts for many years to come. In a recent clash with Premier League title hopefuls Manchester United, Butland was on hand to make several key denials against the likes of Romelu Lukaku and other attacking dangers.
If the Potters stalwart can continue to help his club gain valuable points, as he did in that 1-1 draw with the Red Devils, he surely can’t continue to be overlooked for his nation ahead of next summer.