First 25 England debutants under Gareth Southgate

Three Lions

Updated: Nov 23, 2021 7:13 pm

Following the announcement that Gareth Southgate has extended his contract until 2024 on the back of steering the national team to a World Cup semi-final and a European Championship Final, this two-part series will look back over his England career, focussing on the players he has given a debut to at International level.

Gareth Southgate’s squads have changed a lot since his first game in charge against Malta in 2016. A staggering 50 players have been given an England debut during his tenure as England manager, from Jesse Lingard to the latest, Connor Gallagher.

Jesse Lingard

Embed from Getty Images

Jesse Lingard made his debut for England in October 2016 against Malta, whilst still at Manchester United, and his impressive first outing for his country and consistent club form kept him in the squad. Unphased by the bigger stage, he put in some excellent performances at the 2018 World Cup, notching up his first goal in a 1-0 group match win over Panama. However, a dip in form over recent seasons meant he lost his place in both the United and England squads. But a loan spell at West Ham restored his reputation somewhat, and he will hope to regain his place in the England setup once his club position becomes clear.

Aaron Cresswell

Embed from Getty Images

When Creswell made his debut for England, there were high hopes for his potential as a regular starter on the left of England’s defence. However, he has failed to make the grade at international level despite consistent form for his club, West Ham. Since his 11 minute debut against Spain, Southgate has remained unconvinced that he deserves a place in his side, and Cresswell has only won 2 more caps, the most recent being in a qualifier against Lithuania in 2017. Aaron Cresswell faced strong competition to get into the England squad with the likes of Luke Shaw and Ryan Bertrand fighting for a place in the starting lineup. He is now 31 years old and Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell battling it out for the left-back berth, it looks likely those 3 caps are all Creswell is going to get.

Michael Keane

Embed from Getty Images

Keane made his debut on the 22nd of March against Germany on the back of sterling performances for Burnley and a big-money move to Everton. But the centre half was error prone on his debut and Southgate lost confidence in his ability against top opposition. As a result, Southgate’s preferred centre-half pairing of John Stones and Harry Maguire came to the fore and would soon overtake Keane’s claim for a place in the England squad before the 2018 World Cup. As a result, Michael Keane has had a relatively stop-star England career, having only gained 12 caps since that debut with his last one coming against Ireland in November 2020. Although he is only 28, it is unlikely on recent form that he will force his way into Southgate’s plans anytime soon.

Nathan Redmond

Embed from Getty Images

Another debutant that night against Germany, Nathan Redmond, made his England bow when he was only 23. The mercurial winger showed flashes of promise in sparkling displays for his club side, Southampton, which prompted Southgate to take a chance on him. The 24 minutes he played against Germany was his first and last cap for England. And although Redmond has been a regular for his club side, has never quite rekindled the form of his debut season for Southampton, which earned him a place in the national team.

Redmond has always looked like one of the best players outside of the Premier League top six without ever justifying a move to a big club. However, with world-class talents like Sterling and Grealish alongside the youth of Sancho and Greenwood, it looks like the 28-year-old won’t get another chance for his country.

James Ward-Prowse

Embed from Getty Images

Unlike his Southampton teammate, Ward-Prowse has won 9 caps under Southgate with the latest coming against Andorra in September 2021. Set-pieces are possibly the only real area in which Ward-Prowse is truly International class, but I’m sure he won’t mind if Southgate keeps relying on him. At only 27 years of age, it is not out of the question that Ward-Prowse could get into double figures in terms of appearances. But with the emergence of several midfield talents that are more than set-piece specialists, such as Trent Alexander -Arnold, he will have to do more to guarantee himself a spot in Southgate’s starting XI.

Kieran Trippier

Embed from Getty Images

Southgate gave Kieran Trippier his debut in 2017 against Scotland and the right-back has gone on to make another 34 appearances for England, the highlight of which was his free-kick goal against Croatia in the semi-final of the Euro Championships in Moscow. Indeed, he also gained many plaudits as one of the best performers for the England team at the World Cup in 2018, particularly for his crosses and dead-ball delivery on set pieces, and was ranked the most creative player of the tournament, having created 24 chances in all games played.

Trippier is 31 now but still competing at a high level, having just won La Liga as a regular in Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid side. Southgate included him in the squad to face Andorra recently, but left him out of the team. With the heavy competition at right back from Kyle Walker, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Reece James, it would seem that Trippier’s international career may have come to an end.

Harry Maguire

Embed from Getty Images

This was the first player Southgate gave a debut to who is still a regular starter for the Three Lions. Following his debut against Lithuania in 2017, Maguire soon solidified his place as a starting centre back and was pivotal in both the 2018 World Cup and recent Euros.

Maguire has made 41 appearances for England, many arguing that he reserves his best performances for club rather than country. At just 28 years old, Maguire could remain a rock at the heart of defence for England for at least the next 4 years, if not longer, and will probably play a key role in Qatar.

Harry Winks

Embed from Getty Images

Southgate saw a lot of promise in Harry Winks as he gave the midfielder his debut at only 21. From there, things started to go downhill. Ankle injuries kept him out of the England squad for the next year and a half before he regained fitness and made another 9 appearances.

Harry Winks last played against Iceland in 2020. However, injuries and lack of club form have seen him excluded from recent England squads. At 25 he is still young enough and talented enough to come again, but his immediate concern is to impress new manager, Antonio Conte and play regularly at Tottenham, before Southgate will look at him again.

Joe Gomez

Embed from Getty Images

November 10th, 2017, was a great day for four Premier League players who made their England debut against Germany. The first of these was Liverpool’s, Joe Gomez. Gomez was superb alongside Virgil van Dijk during Liverpool’s Premier League title run-in 2019/20, but since then a number of injuries have limited his chances at Anfield and kept him out of consideration for England.

Joe Gomez has only made 11 appearances so far for England and last featured against Wales in August 2020. He has rarely played for Liverpool over the last year due to his injury problems, but at only 24, he has plenty of time to re-stake his claim.

Ruben Loftus Cheek

Embed from Getty Images

Another promising youngster lost to injury, Loftus Cheek has never regained the form he showed before rupturing his Achilles tendon in 2019 and which saw him as a regular in England squads after his debut against Germany in 2018 and four appearances for England in the World Cup that year.

After making a full recovery, he showed his quality in some decent performances with Chelsea and, following a good loan spell with Crystal Palace to get his fitness back, he broke into the first team at Stamford Bridge. But after yet another injury in pre-season, he missed 38 games and is only now gaining some minutes at Chelsea under Tuchel. Time will tell if this excellent but injury prone midfielder can achieve the levels of quality and consistency required for Southgate to trust his participation in future tournaments for England.

Jordan Pickford

Embed from Getty Images

Everton’s Jordan Pickford immediately became his country’s number one shot-stopper after keeping clean sheets in his first two international starts against Germany and the Netherlands. The ‘keeper starred for the Three Lions at the World Cup and Euro’s becoming a penalty shootout hero in both.

He is Southgate’s preferred choice between the sticks for England, but with the emergence of Aaron Ramsdale at Arsenal, he will have to fight to keep his starting place in the national side.

Tammy Abraham

Embed from Getty Images

Tammy Abraham made his debut for England in a 0-0 draw against Germany in 2017 whilst he was on loan from parent club Chelsea at Swansea. After he returned to Chelsea, he struggled for serious game time and, as a result, only made another 5 appearances whilst at Stamford Bridge, restricting his England appearances. But a transfer to Roma has re-ignited his England career.

Since joining the Serie A giants, he has made an immediate impact, involved with 7 goals in 18 games this season and scoring four. This has been enough to win favour with Southgate, as he has played Abraham in the last 4 England matches. At only 24, there is no doubt on current form that he will feature for England in the future.  

Jack Cork

Embed from Getty Images

Burnley midfielder Jack Cork’s only England appearance came in a four-minute cameo against Germany in 2018, coming on as an 86th-minute substitute in the goalless draw at Wembley. Cork was a regular for the Clarets with a string of impressive displays, but Southgate surprised many by calling him up for England. Jack Cork has not featured for England since his debut and at 32 years old, it is thought that his only appearance in an England shirt will probably be his last.

Dominic Solanke

Embed from Getty Images

After helping England’s Young Lions win the Under-20 FIFA World Cup in the summer of 2017, young striker Dominic Solanke was called up to the senior squad five months later. Solanke’s prolific goal scoring exploits for England in the youth ranks did not translate into his club form with Chelsea, Liverpool and Bournemouth, and Southgate has not picked since him. However, after an impressive start to the season with 14 goals in 18 Championship games for Bournemouth, shows the promise that 24-year-old striker undoubtedly has, and he could yet make his case for a future call up..

Lewis Cook

Embed from Getty Images

Bournemouth’s Lewis Cook captained the England Under-20 side to World Cup victory back in 2017, but had to wait until March of the following year to earn his first senior cap coming off the bench against Italy.

The 24-year-old defender has always been solid for the Cherries, but after being frozen out of England squads over the last three years it is unlikely that he will feature again at International level

James Tarkowski

Embed from Getty Images

Burnley defender James Tarkowski made two senior England appearances in the run-up to the World Cup, but was omitted from the final 23-man squad for the tournament in Russia, and has failed to feature for the Three Lions since.

Tarkowski was one of the best backup defenders available to England at that time, but despite his continued excellent form for Burnley, he has failed to convince Gareth Southgate that he has the credentials to compete with the centre backs he already has at his disposal.

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Embed from Getty Images

Trent Alexander-Arnold is arguably one of the best right-backs in the World and Southgate seemed to think so too as he gave a young 19-year-old his debut right before the World Cup in 2018, and then took him to Russia for the Euro Championship in 2019.

But the right-back suffered a hamstring injury which kept him out of the Euros this summer stunted his progress for club and country. Now back to full fitness, he faces stiff competition from England veteran Kyle Walker and rising talent Reece James for an England place, but with his pace, positional strength and quality on the ball, crossing and dead-ball specialism, he will undoubtedly add to his 16 caps.

Nick Pope

Embed from Getty Images

Pope is probably one of the best storylines under Southgate. Former non-league shot-stopper got his chance as England’s third-choice goalkeeper for the World Cup in 2018, after a successful 2017/18 campaign with Burnley. However, a dislocated shoulder at the start of this season ruled him out until January 2019, before knee surgery negated his inclusion in the Euros. Nick Pope has put in some strong showings with Burnley, but with Pickford established as the number 1 and Ramsdale, Johnstone and Henderson slugging it out to be the backup choice, the 29-year-old may struggle to add to his 7 caps.

Ben Chilwell

Embed from Getty Images

Chilwell made his debut against Switzerland whilst playing for Leicester City during a friendly at the Foxes’ King Power Stadium. His impressive display convinced Gareth Southgate that the young left-back could become a regular. Following his transfer to Chelsea, his form has continued to improve, and he has added 17 caps so far to tally for England with many more no doubt to come.

Jadon Sancho

Embed from Getty Images

After the Borussia Dortmund winger’s rapid rise to stardom in the Bundesliga over the past couple of seasons, it was only a matter of time before Southgate called up the teenage sensation at senior level and was a member of their Euro campaign.

Following his move to Manchester United, the 21-year-olds international prospects have taken a hit. Due to a lack of game time and poor performances under Solskjaer, he has only been included in 1 of the last 3 England squads. But with a new manager set to take the reigns at Old Trafford, there is every chance he could soon return.

Nathaniel Chalobah

Embed from Getty Images

Chalobah had a turbulent start to his career as he got stuck in the cogs of the Chelsea loan machine, going on six loans before eventually being bought by Watford in 2017. After starting the season well with Watford, Gareth Southgate gave the talented midfielder his first England appearance in the final minutes of England’s impressive win over Spain.

Unfortunately for the 26-year-old, he struggled for playing time at Watford, and recently signed for Fulham on a free transfer. At the moment, he is not part of Gareth Southgate’s England plans.

Callum Wilson

Embed from Getty Images

Callum Wilson was always a danger whilst playing for Bournemouth and following impressive form for the Cherries, Southgate handed the Striker a debut against the US at Wembley. Since that debut he has transferred to Now at Newcastle United, inheriting the no 9 shirt and continuing his run of goal scoring in an underachieving side. He will hope to score more under his former manager Eddie Howe ,now installed as the boss on Tyneside, and keep his place in the England set up. Wilson looked a constant threat during his four caps so far for England and scored on his debut at Wembley, but he will have to face some stiff competition from a host of forwards vying for a place in Southgate’s starting XI.

Lewis Dunk

Embed from Getty Images

Brighton defender Lewis Dunk also made his first England appearance in the friendly against the United States. However, the centre-half has failed to make Southgate’s squad again despite being a regular starter for Brighton. At 30 years old, Dunk has plenty of experience, but despite being a first-team regular and captain for Brighton, may struggle to get a second cap when Southgate has his preferred choices at centre back fully fit and available to him.

Alex McCarthy

Embed from Getty Images

Southampton shot-stopper Alex McCarthy got his first call-up to the England squad back in the summer of 2013 but failed to make it off the bench. Five and a half years later, he finally made his England debut in the friendly against the United States at Wembley. With fierce competition from goalkeeping talents such as Ramsdale and Henderson, it is unlikely that McCarthy will get another cap as back up ‘keeper, despite some impressive performances for the Saints.

Declan Rice

Embed from Getty Images

Declan Rice swapped allegiance from the Republic of Ireland and was given his first call-up prior to the Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro. He has never looked back after an impressive few seasons with West Ham and a good run at the Euros, cementing his place at the heart of midfield alongside Kalvin Phillips in Gareth Southgate’s sides. He will add to his 27 caps and if he continues his present trajectory become a mainstay for England for many years to come.


Follow Us on Social Media

Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - LinkedIn

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
Scroll to Top