Lavia and Botman amongst top ten international debutants to watch
The domestic calendar is halted and attention turns to the final international break of the season, with fixtures from Euro 2024 qualifiers, AFCON qualifiers and friendlies. We take a look at the ten debutants to keep an eye out for during the international break.
Ivan Toney – England
It feels as though this has been a long time coming, but it looks like Ivan Toney is set to make his England debut during this international break. The hitman has scored 16 league goals this season and provided four assists, only Kane (21) and Haaland (28) have been on the scoresheet more than the Brentford striker in the Premier League this season. He is also England’s fifth highest rated player in any of Europe’s top 5 leagues (7.35) this season and is well deserving of his call up.
Brice Samba – France
The Nottingham Forest promotion hero and current Lens goalkeeper has received a call up for France’s fixtures against Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland. The Lens stopper has made 76 saves in Ligue 1 this season and of all keepers to appear in every game in Ligue 1, Samba has the best save success rate (78.4%).
Khephren Thuram - France
Another potential French international debut could be handed to Khephren Thuram. He joins his brother Marcus Thuram in Dider Deschamps squad for France. The 21-year-old has made 28 appearances for Nice in Ligue 1 this season scoring twice and providing four assists.
Joselu - Spain
At the age of 32, Joselu looks set to make his international debut after being called up to represent Spain in their matches against Norway and Scotland. Despite struggling at Newcastle, he has found his feet since moving back to Spain and has found the back of the net on 12 occasions this season in La Liga, for Espanyol. Only two players have scored more this season; Lewandowski (15) and Unal (13).
⚽ Of those players to register 50+ shots in La Liga this season, Joselu has the best conversion rate (21.1%) pic.twitter.com/Z2bsPnvItn— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) March 22, 2023
Rayan Ait-Nouri – Algeria
The Algerian left back has been called up for international duty despite only starting for Wolves on nine occasions this season. He has shown real signs of promise, with a WhoScored.com rating of 6.52, when he has been involved in the Premier League and he will be hoping to prove himself on the international stage when Algeria take on Niger twice in the African Cup of Nations Qualifiers. He looks confident going forward and his WhoScored calculated strengths are; Dribbling (very strong), Crossing (strong) and Tackling (strong). Djamel Belmadi will be hoping Ait-Nouri can continue to demostrate these strengths for the national team this week.
Romeo Lavia – Belgium
It has been quite a rough season for Southampton so far in the Premier League, but one ray of light has been Romeo Lavia’s breakthrough. The 19-year-old defensive midfielder has been one of the stand outs in Southampton’s side and he scored his first Premier League goal against Chelsea, in a 2-1 win for the Saints, becoming the first player born in 2004 to do so. He has made more tackles (76) than any other player aged 21 or under in the Premier League this season and will definitely be one to watch for Belgium.
🎯 78.2% of Romeo Lavia's long passes from his own half to the opposition half in the Premier League this season have been successful— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) March 22, 2023
🔝 Lavia ranks 15th of those players to attempt 50+ long passes from their own half to the opposition half in the Premier League this season pic.twitter.com/Ui5L7Uvuyg
Liam Cullen – Wales
Wales face Croatia and Latvia in Euro 2024 qualifiers this week and have called up Swansea’s Liam Cullen to join the squad for those fixtures. The forward has only made eight starts for Swansea in the Championship, but has been called on from the bench on another 13 occasions. In his 707 minutes of Championship football this season, Cullen has scored six goals and one assist.
Sven Botman – Netherlands
Sven Botman is having a fantastic season for Newcastle and has been an ever-present in their side throughout this campaign. He is an integral part of the strongest defence in the league with the Magpies conceding the fewest amount of goals in the Premier League so far this season (19). He has received his first call up for the Netherlands’ fixtures against France and Gibraltar and given he is rated (6.81) inside the top 10 centre-backs in the Premier League (20+ apps) it’s easy to see why Koeman was so keen to include him in the squad.
Malick Thiaw – Germany
Another promising young talent to keep an eye on during the international break is Malik Thiaw who looks set to make his Germany debut against Peru and Belgium, after receiving his call up from head coach Hansi Flick. The AC Milan Centre Back has played 11 Serie A games since joining in August 2022 from Schalke and played in both fixtures against Tottenham keeping a clean sheet on both occasions.
Zander Clark – Scotland
Zander Clark looks set to make his international team for a Scotland side which are unbeaten in all of their last three internationals. Clarke has taken Craig Gordon’s place for Heart’s after the keeper suffered a double-leg break earlier in the season, and now looks set to replace him on the international stage. He has made 12 league appearances for the Edinburgh side and has kept five clean sheets.