I hate international football.
However, for some members of the Tottenham Hotspur senior squad, it’s an opportunity to show just what they can do for their countries of representation; a chance for some to express national pride, and build towards trophies of another kind. For others, it can be a chance to get valuable minutes in an actual competitive environment where they may have been lacking at club level. Either way, it’s always an honor when called up to represent your nation on the global stage, and there’s a number of Spurs players who have achieved that distinction this international window.
With England captain Harry Kane now at Bayern Munich, and the likes of Eric Dier lacking form and playing time, only a single player has been called up to England this time around: James Maddison, Spurs’ summer signing and attacking midfield extraordinaire will be hoping to get more of a look-in than he has thus far under Gareth Southgate. Spurs fans as well will be hoping he stays injury-free, after working through knocks in recent weeks; much like Heung-Min Son, the South Korean captain, which I wrote about more in-depth recently. South Korea’s matches are friendlies only, but Maddison’s matches carry a bit more weight, with a friendly against Australia followed by a high-pressure Euro qualification match against Italy.
The other injury worry going into this window is Giovani Lo Celso, who seems to have a tendency of returning just in time from enforced lay-offs to suit up for Argentina. We’ll cut him some slack though after he missed their successful World Cup campaign with a torn quadricep. Hopefully it’ll be happier times for him this break as he lines up alongside the man international teammate Messi named as “the best center back in the world”: Cristian Romero. Romero and Lo Celso will be lining up in competitive fixtures as well, as they attempt to conquer CONMEBOL World Cup qualification.
The other South American involved in CONMEBOL qualification is Richarlison, for Brazil; while on the other side of the Atlantic, Yves Bissouma and Pape Matar Sarr will be suiting up for Mali and Senegal, respectively. Unlike Richarlison and the Argentines, their matches this time around are friendlies only.
Speaking of friendly... things might be the opposite between Tottenham teammates, as the aforementioned Maddison will potentially be competing against Guglielmo Vicario and Destiny Udogie, both called up for Italy. It’s Destiny’s first call-up for the Italian national team, and though one would definitely say it is well-deserved coming off the back of his quality performances in Lilywhite so far this season, it is still somewhat a surprise considering how often Italy names players under the age of 30.
Wrapping up the rest of Europe, Ben Davies will be in red for Wales, as will Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, but for Denmark. Mickey Van de Ven has won another call-up to the Dutch squad, and the seemingly tireless Dejan Kulusevski will be turning out for Sweden. All these European sides will be playing one friendly, followed by a competitive fixture in their bids for Euro qualification.
Let’s cross our fingers (and other appendages where appropriate) that our players come through this with a clean bill of health - and hopefully as well with some increased confidence to continue to build on the momentum that Spurs have built thus far in the 2023/24 Premier League.
I still hate international football.
Spurs International Call-ups:
- James Maddison (England)
- Heung-Min Son (South Korea)
- Giovani Lo Celso (Argentina)
- Cristian Romero (Argentina)
- Richarlison (Brazil)
- Pape Matar Sarr (Senegal)
- Yves Bissouma (Mali)
- Guglielmo Vicario (Italy)
- Destiny Udogie (Italy)
- Ben Davies (Wales)
- Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Denmark)
- Mickey Van de Ven (Netherlands)
- Dejan Kulusevski (Sweden)