Next week will see the return to our screens of international football, and England will welcome Lithuania to Wembley for a 2018 World Cup Qualifier, but not before they face one of their greatest rivals in Germany.
And the wait is finally over for fans eager to see who’s made manager Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad.
With Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck struggling for game-time at Manchester United and Arsenal respectively, and Harry Kane set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines, there’s room for a hot prospect, as well as a familiar face up-front…
— England (@England) March 16, 2017
As is so often the case, Manchester United boast the largest number of players in Southgate’s squad – that’s without skipper Rooney.
But Southampton are the next most popular side – following the inclusion of both Nathan Redmond and James Ward-Prowse alongside regulars Fraser Forster and Ryan Bertrand.
It’s a huge compliment to the former pair – who have impressed both fans and pundits alike this season.
Jamie Vardy has retained his place in Southgate’s squad following a string of solid performances for Leicester City in recent weeks, while Michail Antonio could be given an opportunity to win his first international cap against either Lithuania or Die Mannschaft.
Danny Rose’s latest injury setback has provided former Saints left-back Luke Shaw to force his way into Southgate’s plans, but he’ll face stiff competition from Bertrand for a starting place.
But perhaps the biggest story coming from this squad announcement is the return to the international scene of Jermain Defoe.
The last time the Sunderland striker put on the famous shirt, he was teaming up with the likes of Olly Murs, Ben Shephard and TOWIE’s Mark Wright at last year’s Soccer Aid.
But his performances for the Black Cats so far this season have been simply stunning, with the 34-year-old managing 14 Premier League goals already this season.
His last appearance for the senior squad came some four years ago in an 8-0 win over San Marino.
Will he be on the scoresheet once again in the coming weeks for the Three Lions? We can only hope so!
England travel to Germany as 11/4 outsiders to grab their second win in as many games over Mesut Ozil and co.
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