It is the final wave of friendlies in this lengthy international break and tonight sees England take on Italy. Reports indicate that this will be an occasion where Gareth Southgate will be looking to evaluate some of the debutants called up to the senior squad for the first time.
One of the expected debutants tonight is likely to be World Cup winning captain at under 20 level, Lewis Cook (£1.07 at time of writing). The Bournemouth midfielder has had a taste for international success and appears to continue Southgate’s aim of linking the youth teams with the senior side. Cook was actually called up for the previous round of international fixtures at the end of 2017, but failed to make an appearance unlike his under 20 teammate, Dominic Solanke (£0.86). Yet it is widely expected he will make his senior debut tonight for the Three Lions in the middle of the park as Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson (£0.89) is expected to be rested.
His Grandfather is expected to strike it lucky having placed a bet on his grandson turning out for England but it isn’t just Lewis Cook’s relatives who have profited in recent times. The Bournemouth man is currently £0.11 up a share in the last seven days (at the time of writing) and in the last three months has risen by a huge £0.43 a share. Could the youngster be turning out in Russia?
Elsewhere in the squad it is anticipated that due to the injury of Liverpool’s Joe Gomez (£1.02) in Amsterdam on Friday night and the fact that Leicester City’s Harry Maguire (£1.50) played almost the whole 90 minutes against The Netherlands, that there will be an opportunity for either Swansea City’s Alfie Mawson (£1.23) and Burnley’s James Tarkowski (£0.96) to take part in the Southgate’s back three this evening.
The call ups of both Mawson and Tarkowski was one of the largest stories of the squad announcement and this is borne out by the reaction of the Index with Mawson, up £0.52 a share in the last month and Tarkowski trading up £0.12 in the same period. Both of the central defenders look like viable candidates to be battling for a place on the plane and will be hoping for a strong debut this evening to force their way into Southgate’s plans.
But it isn’t just England who have heralded in the next batch of youngsters in recent days, tonight’s opponents Italy, now managed by Luigi Di Biagio on an interim basis have brought about the introduction of a wave of Italian youngsters after the humiliation of Italy not qualifying for this summer’s World Cup. This was evident in the 2-0 friendly defeat to Argentina last week where Fiorentina’s Federico Chiesa (£1.34) started in a front three and then AC Milan’s striking prodigy Patrick Cutrone (£1.15) came on in the second half. It will be interesting to see what youngsters may feature for the Italians tonight with one eye firmly on the future.