Three Red Lions? Which Boro Stars Could Find Themselves in the England Set Up…
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on July 25, 2016
Following Sam Allardyce’s recent appointment as England boss, I have decided to review which Middlesbrough players could be in with a shot at an England call up. Boro’s promotion to the Premier League has opened up a whole realm of possibilities, with not just the club, but players gaining a greater reputation within the footballing World. There are currently 8 English players in the Boro squad, and I will be looking at the 3 most likely to find their way into Sam Allardyce’s plans…
First up is Adam Clayton. The tough tackling midfielder had a breakthrough season, claiming one player of the month, Boro player of the season and a spot in the Football League team of the season. Not bad.
Clayton currently has just 4 England u20 caps to his name, from his time at Manchester City, but he could forge his way into a new look England team. The lack of depth England have in the position was evident at the Euros, with Eric Dier the only midfielder to impress. Dele Alli, Jack Wilshere, Jordan Henderson and Wayne Rooney all failed to impress. This could open up an opportunity for Clayton, who will likely challenge with Fabian Delph, Jack Cork and Danny Drinkwater for a place in the 23 man squad.
However the extreme competition for places and usual favour of picking players from a “big team” means Clayton must have an incredible season to break into the England squad.
Next is young defender Ben Gibson. Despite being just 23, Boro born Gibson has accumalated 102 league appearances for his hometown club. He has also represented England at U17,U18,U20 and U21 level, ammassing 20 caps in total. He is the most recent academy product to break through into the first team, along with names such as Stewart Downing, Lee Cattermole, Adam Johnson and James Morrison.
Gibson has formed an I breakable partnership with Spaniard Daniel Ayala, infact, Boro have lost just once in 49 games when Daniel Ayala and Ben Gibson have played together in the league. The Teesside faithful will hope they can recreate that sort of form in the Premier League.
In terms of breaking into the England side, Gibson is probably the most likely to earn a cap, with the FA making it clear they want to breed through a left sided defender to compliment Chris Smalling in a two man center back partnership. Gibson fits the profile perfectly, and may be fast tracked into the side if he can put in a string on good performances for Boro.
Lastly is left back George Friend. Friend, 28, is a fan favourite in Teeside, and also featured in the Football League Team of the Season. He started his career at Exeter City, in 2005, making 37 appearances for the club. His impressive performances won him a move to Wolverhampton Wanderers, before moving into Doncaster and finally Boro. He has so far featured 157 times for Boro, scoring 5 goals.
Friend was a key part of a formidable defence which conceded just 31 goals last season, the best in the top 4 flights of English football. He not only operates at left back, but also finds himself playing as a left winger, overlapping the midfield and looking to break into the box at any given opportunity.
However, Friend faces a difficult task to break into the England side, with Ryan Bertrand, Luke Shaw, Danny Rose and Aaron Cresswell all ahead of him in the pecking order. He will have to rely on great form and a few lucky injuries to be challenging for a call up.